DCF's Closed Cases

The latest round of criticism follows disclosure by DCF representatives who say thousands of cases of child abuse and neglect are on backlog, and many may have been wrongfully closed by improperly trained case supervisors in the last two years.

In December DCF began a "quality assurance effort" to improve case supervisor training, but they say they may have started this internal audit Lori Mendiola says when her son Dylan was born, she felt lost in a sea of paperwork just to get him insured through DCF.

"I was very frustrated with them. I just wanted to sit down and cry, there was nobody to talk to!" says Lori.

Lori says her experience makes it easy to believe that overworked DCF caseworkers could have pushed thousands of child abuse cases to the back burner in the past two years and closed some that they should have kept looking into.

DCF chief Jerry Regier says this discovery was made during an internal audit that began last December. Regier says the lapses could have occurred because case supervisors were improperly trained, and he and the DCF are taking steps to insure problems like this don't occur again.

"Our concern is for the safety of every child, so we're going to go back on those cases that meet national risk factors and we think that's about 2,000 and we'll re-look at those," says Regier.

Regier says between ten and 14 percent of cases in the past two years will be looked at and supervisor training will become more strict, but many parents say they wonder if it's too late. Regier tells us 30,000 cases the agency has already looked into have turned out fine. Regier says they will take appropriate action on each case depending on the severity.