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December/January 2015Vol. 15, No. 11Site Visit: State of Connecticut Early Childhood-Child Welfare Collaboration Project

In 2011, the Children's Bureau awarded the Connecticut (CT) Department of Children and Families (DCF) a grant to implement the Early Childhood Child Welfare Collaboration Project (ECCWCP). The project was a collaborative effort between the CT DCF, Head Start (HS), and partner programs/organizations. The purpose of the project was to provide staff training to enhance services and case management for families and to build collaborations to help ensure that children in foster care, ages birth to 5, were referred for quality early childhood services. DCF wanted to ensure that children were meeting developmental milestones and that other education-related performance markers were consistently met. DCF recognized that it did not have the resources on its own to meet all these needs, so it collaborated with other agencies to help families and to promote systemic change.

The collaboration included approximately 130 DCF and HS supervisors, managers, caseworkers (from local, regional, and central offices) who participated in quarterly meetings to develop and implement plans for the project. The project tasks included enhancing the collaboration, a train-the-trainer and training initiative for the Strengthening Families Program (SFP), infant mental health training, and reflective supervision.
The project focused its attention on the following:

  • Establishing deeper collaborations between child welfare stakeholders
  • Conducting train-the-trainer sessions for the Strengthening Families Program followed by community training events
  • Training DHS and HS staff about infant mental health
  • Providing reflective supervision

The project was designed to increase system connections, create mutually beneficial working relationships and partnerships, improve services to families, build community resources, align policies and procedures, and create cross-training opportunities.
For more information on this project, please contact Nancy DiMauro, Program Manager, State of Connecticut Department of Children and Families, Central Office at The full site visit report will soon be available on the website for Child Welfare Information Gateway at

The Connecticut Early Childhood Child Welfare Collaboration Project is funded by the Children's Bureau (90CO1061). This article is part of a series highlighting successful Children's Bureau grant-funded projects around the country, emerging from Children's Bureau site visits.