Foster system to alter how it handles school employee abuse

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut's foster care system plans to restructure its evaluation process for complaints of abuse or neglect involving school employees, according to department officials.

The state Department of Children and Families will form two units starting in mid-January that will solely focus on complaints against school employees, according to Ken Mysogland, the department's bureau chief of external affairs.

Both units will be staffed by five social workers who will report back to supervisors at the department's headquarters. Each school case will also be reviewed by agency lawyers.

Existing personnel will be reassigned to these new units, Mysogland said. No new employees will be hired.

Social workers currently have mixed caseloads that include both educational and familial investigations. The new system will be more efficient since social workers will focus specifically on school-related cases, Mysogland said.

The overhaul comes months after three public school employees in New London were charged in connection with the sexual abuse of middle and high school students, the Hartford Courant reported Monday.

But Mysogland said the agency's reorganization was not brought about by any specific case. He credited the new changes to an “open and honest dialogue” between the department and school officials.

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