Addressing an Urgent Need
There are many data points that together demonstrate the critical need for us as a society to come together to ensure our most vulnerable children and youth's best interest and well-being are advocated for. Consider the following:
In Connecticut, in 2019, approximately 18,665 children were involved in investigations of maltreatment or other issues, with 17,395 children receiving services as a result of an investigation, and 2,010children entering foster care. (Child Maltreatment 2019, National Data Archive on Child ABuse and Neglect)
At any point in time, in Connecticut, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) serves approximately 36,000 children and 15,000 families across its programs and service array. There are 2,500 investigations and 1,850 family assessments underway on any given day. Last year, the DCF Careline received 108,679 calls - 54, 165 were reports of child abuse or neglect, and 31, 200 were accepted and assigned to either an investigative or family assessment response track." (State of Connecticu Child and Family Services Plan)
Even under the best circumstances, youth leaving care of Connecticut's child welfare and justice systems do not always have the best, or even good outcomes. Higher rates of unemployment, incarceration, and unstable housing rates, as well as lower levels of academic achievement for youth in state care, are a reflection of persistent systemic opportunity gaps. They are indicative of a state that continues to fail the most at risk of being in vulnerable situations. Issue Briefing Book, Connecticut Voices for Children, July 2020.
The need is two-fold and it centers around trauma:
Vulnerable children and youth, as well as the parents, families, guardians and caretakers invovled, are dealing with an inordinate amount of trauma - past, current and ongoing, and in a variety of forms and types.
The multitude of complex systems we have in place to provide support for vulnerable children and youth are also dealing with trauma - both the indidviduals working within the systems and the systems themselves are overwhelmed, overworked, underfunded, and undervalued.
CAC employs a strengths-based approach to our child advocacy, leveraging the resources of the child, their family and/or caregivers, as well as the assets found within and outside of the systems involved. Click here to learn more about our strengths-based advocacy.