HARTFORD, Conn. -- Parents and various agencies met Thursday for a public hearing to discuss what to do to make the Department of Children and Families work better for the people it serves.
Cheryl Martone said she’s been fighting DCF to regain custody of her son for a more than a year. She said he was taken away unfairly.
"My son was involved in Boy Scouts, theater group," she said. "I had him in swimming lessons."
Martone said she attended a public hearing held by the Select Committee on Children to speak her mind.
"I would like to see them have more preventative measures," she said.
"We all know that people are extraordinarily concerned about DCF, and we’re looking at the plight of our children, and the stories that we get is that DCF is not working," said Rep. Diana Urban, the co-chairwoman of the Select Committee on Children.
"We've got some bills that deal with DCF -- some of the way they do things, some of the problems they've had -- and the reason for public hearings is to hear what the public has to say, and after we get some of the feedback, we'll go back and draft the bills around some of those comments," said Sen. Anthony Musto, the committee’s co-chairman.
John Dibase said he’s banking on the idea. He said he lost custody of his son 10 years ago in what he claims were unfair proceedings. He said he hopes his input will bring him one step closer to getting him back.
"They are literally destroying families," he said.
"We’re looking for feedback from the agency and from the public," said Sen. Toni Boucher, a member of the committee.
DCF officials said the department is open to feedback.
"Ultimately, to achieve better outcomes for families and children who come in contact with the department," said Brian Mattiello, of DCF.
In the next month, the Select Committee on Children is expected to present its formal recommendations to DCF.
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