The Department of Children and Families is changing the way it handles reports of abuse and neglect concerning school employees, an agency spokesperson confirmed Monday.
Communication Director Gary Kleeblatt said the changes are designed to help the department respond to complaints faster and more consistently.
Beginning in January, the department is creating two units specifically for school-based investigations. Each of these units will have five social workers dedicated exclusively to complaints against school employees. If allegations are substantiated, department layers will also review these cases as an extra layer of scrutiny.
Under the current system, social workers at regional offices handle a range of cases, including school and family investigations. This new system will allow workers to focus on specialized areas. The new system is also intended to lighten the caseload for school investigators, as those cases are often larger and more time-consuming than family cases.
Kleeblatt said the units will be formed by reassigning existing personnel, not hiring new staff.
DCF and other agencies were recently involved in an investigation into sex abuse allegations against several employees at New London Public Schools, which lead to the arrests of three employees in connection with sexual abuse of middle and high school students. That investigation was so concerning that the Office of the Child Advocate was called in to review the case.