child abuse

Naugatuck Extreme Abuse Case Sounds Alarm on Need to Report Suspected Abuse: Child Advocates

The state Department of Children and Families careline accepts calls 24/7, and once suspected abuse is reported, an investigation will begin within hours.

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A Naugatuck dad was arrested this month after new child abuse allegations surfaced, stemming from an original 2020 case being investigated by the Naugatuck Police Department.

Kevin Grant is accused of locking his children in a closet for punishment. An affidavit details numerous other instances that resemble a nightmare.

Local agencies that work to protect kids say cases like this sound an alarm on the crucial need for everyone to keep an eye out for child abuse.

Grant, 33, was arrested on Aug. 10. He was released on bond, but awaits trial on several felony charges related to the abuse of his kids, between the ages of 5 and 11.

“This is an extreme case,” said Brendan Burke, Assistant Child Advocate for the Connecticut Office of the Child Advocate.

According to Naugatuck police, an affidavit says those kids endured horrific acts, and were forced to witness and sometimes partake in their siblings’ abuse.

It states Grant beat the children with a belt to the point where they could not walk. The affidavit also says that a child was punished by being locked in a closet and told to defecate in a box. He was then forced to eat his feces out of the box while his siblings were forced to watch.

In other instances, siblings were given a bat with thumbtacks on it and forced to hit each another. There were also reports of Grant putting firecrackers in one of the children’s pants and watching as they set off

“It's alarming and extremely troubling,” Burke said.

The Connecticut Department of Children and Families cannot comment on this case for confidentiality reasons, but says as soon as an investigation is open, children are removed in danger.

Grant’s case was first investigated by police in 2020.

Deputy Commissioner Michael C. Williams says it is not common for DCF to encounter cases of extreme physical abuse.  

“It is very rare for Connecticut to have cases of that level of severity,” he said.

Deputy Commissioner Williams says of the 13,000 Connecticut families that DCF works with each year, 93% are neglect cases. The other 7% percent are physical or sexual abuse cases.

He adds that new allegations may come to light when kids are removed from danger and feel safe revealing more.

 “Children are the most vulnerable people in our population,” Deputy Commissioner Williams said. “I believe that people should believe children when they say that somebody is hurting them, believe them.”

There are telltale signs that kids might be getting abused.

“Certainly the presence of any unexplained injuries,” Burke said.

“Things like withdrawing, silence, fearful of contact by adults,” Deputy Commissioner Williams said.

They both say the first course of action is to call the DCF Careline, which accepts calls 24/7. Anyone can report suspected abuse anonymously, which will open an investigation.

Once a report is made, DCF will launch an investigation within 72 hours. They will investigate within two hours if there is imminent physical danger.

Deputy Commissioner Williams says family members are often best equipped to observe abusive patterns and should report their concerns to DCF.

Burke says it could have spared so much suffering for the children in the Naugatuck case.  

“There were several members of family and community involved with this family and child, who probably could have intervened earlier, but didn't take the opportunity to, and that's unfortunate,” Burke says.

Deputy Commissioner Williams says reporting is a responsibility that falls to each and every one of us.

“It stops and immediately, the light is on,” he said. “What allows child abuse to continue is the darkness, is the ability for people to know that they can get away with it. But once the light is on, and knowledge of it occurring is happening, it stops.”

The DCF Careline number is 1-800-842-2288.

Some people are required by state law to report suspected child abuse. Those mandated reports include teachers and other school employees, coaches, counselors, health care workers: essentially anyone who works with children.

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