STATE’S CHILD ADVOCATE RELEASES REPORT REGARDING HANDLING OF ALLEGATIONS AGAINST FORMER SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR; REPORT ALSO EXAMINES SCHOOL DISTRICT’S POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR REPORTING OF ABUSE OR NEGLECT
Mayor, Schools Superintendent say the report is a “scathing indictment of a system that needs to be overhauled immediately.”
HARTFORD, CONN (Feb. 10, 2017) – Sarah Eagan, the State’s Child Advocate, today released a report that is the product of a nine-month review of the policy, procedures and practices of the Hartford Public Schools (HPS) District with regard to mandated reporting of suspected child abuse and neglect. The report was conducted at the request of Mayor Luke Bronin, following the arrest of a high-ranking HPS administrator, Eduardo Genao, for felony Risk of Injury to a child, and after public concerns were reported regarding HPS’ executive/s possible knowledge of a prior reported concern about a “director” employed by HPS engaged in “inappropriate contact” with a child. Mayor Bronin asked the State's Child Advocate (OCA) to become involved in the matter when details of the allegations first came to light in April 2016.
In addition to a review of the specific allegations against Mr. Genao, Mayor Bronin asked Child Advocate Eagan to undertake a comprehensive review of the policies, procedures and practices of the Hartford Public School District regarding mandated reporting of suspected abuse or neglect, as well as its policies and practices regarding compliance with federal Title IX obligations.
“This report reveals a decade-long failure to protect children in our schools, and the Board of Education and District leaders must take immediate, aggressive steps to fix it,” said Mayor Luke Bronin. “This is about kids’ safety and wellbeing, and I’m outraged at the level of dysfunction and lack of accountability that has apparently existed for many years. I’m grateful to the Child Advocate for agreeing to conduct this review, and I’ve made clear to District leaders that this needs to be priority number one.”
Hartford’s Acting Superintendent, Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez also expressed anger and disappointment over the findings of the Child Advocate, describing it as “an urgent call to action for the Hartford Public Schools to make fundamental changes.”
According to Attorney Eagan, key findings from the report—developed after extensive review of District and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) child welfare records, as well as interviews with a number of individuals with knowledge of District practices, include:
1) The school District did not regularly review and update its mandated reporting policy as legally required;
2) Training of mandated reporters was inadequate;
3) Mandated reporters sometimes failed to make reports concerning suspicion that school employees have neglected or abused a child;
4) DCF did not have a system in place to efficiently document, track and address either the failure to make mandated reports or delays in mandated reporting;
5) School employees who engaged in misconduct were not effectively held accountable; and,
6) There exists a special vulnerability for children with disabilities to possible abuse or neglect.
The full report can be found on OCA websites at http://www.ct.gov/oca/site/default.asp
“I deeply appreciate that Mayor Bronin invited the OCA—an independent watchdog agency—to review the District’s compliance with state laws regarding mandated reporting of child abuse and neglect. OCA’s findings regarding the District’s historical non-compliance and haphazard attention to state laws intended to protect children are grave and deeply disturbing. That these problems persisted in the wake of a 2010 joint report by the OCA and Attorney General’s Office should serve as a call to action for every school District to examine its practices with regard to child safety. The willingness of city and District leaders to examine these findings and create a comprehensive action plan on behalf of children and families is a critical first step towards improving the safety net for students and I encourage all school Districts to ensure their mandatory reporting policies, but most importantly, actual practices on behalf of children, are reliable and effective. OCA is committed to assisting the city in its efforts moving ahead, emphasizing that all efforts must prioritize independent review, transparency, accountability and partnership with the families.”
To that end, Acting School Superintendent Torres-Rodriguez has conferred with the Child Advocate and has prepared a draft action plan to present to the Board of Education for its consideration and action. Dr. Torres-Rodriguez vowed to work closely with the Board of Education and the Administration to “comprehensively and quickly fix” the failings in the system identified by the Child Advocate’s report.
“Today we are announcing a series of steps we will begin taking immediately to correct the problems the Child Advocate uncovered in her review as well as a comprehensive draft action plan for the Board’s review and adoption,” said Dr. Torres-Rodriguez. “I want to thank the Child Advocate for the work she and her staff have done; she’s provided a roadmap for us to follow as the Board of Education and the Administration work together to overhaul this system to protect the children in our schools.”
The Draft Action Plan can be found here: http://www.hartfordschools.org/ActionPlan
“I want every relative of every schoolchild in Hartford to know that I will not rest until this system is fixed,” vowed Dr. Torres-Rodriguez.
MAYOR BRONIN ANNOUNCES SEVERE WEATHER PROTOCOL
HARTFORD, CONN. (February 9, 2017) – As a result of the forecasted bitter cold temperatures and strong wind gusts, resulting in negative wind chill factors, from this evening through the day tomorrow, the State of Connecticut has implemented its severe cold weather protocol to ensure adequate shelter space during the severe cold weather. The current protocol will be in effect from 5 pm today, February 9, until tomorrow, Friday February 10 at 5 pm.
Residents in need of emergency shelter assistance can visit the “Hartford No Freeze Welcome Center” at Center Church, 60 Gold St., between the hours of 4pm – 8pm today. Any resident in need of overnight shelter accommodations are encouraged to call 2-1-1.
Today, the Arroyo Center at Pope Park and Parker Memorial Recreation Center will be open today from 8am – 5pm for residents needing a warm, dry place during the day.
During severe cold weather, residents should take the following precautions:
HARTFORD CITY HALL CLOSED DUE TO SNOW
HARTFORD, CONN. (Feb 8, 2017) – Hartford Mayor Bronin announced that tomorrow, Thursday February 9th, Hartford City Hall will be closed due to heavy snowfall. It will reopen on Friday, February 10th at 8:00 a.m. “In preparation for tomorrow’s storm, we will be closing City Hall to ensure the safety of our employees,” said Mayor Bronin. “Our DPW team, public safety, fire, and other emergency employees will be on duty, but City Hall will not be open." In addition, Mayor Bronin announced that the Arroyo Center at Pope Park and Parker Memorial Recreation Center will be open for residents needing a warm, dry place during the day.
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TONIGHT AT 8:00 PM: MAYOR BRONIN DECLARES SNOW EMERGENCY PARKING BAN
HARTFORD, CONN. (February 8, 2017) – Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin has declared a snow emergency parking ban for the City of Hartford, beginning at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 and ending at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, February 10, 2017.
“The Department of Public Works is carefully monitoring the storm, pre-treating roads, and preparing plowing operations," said Mayor Luke Bronin. “A parking ban will allow us to get the streets cleared, and it is essential that all residents respect the parking ban so that our DPW team can work quickly and safely.”
During a snow parking ban, all on-street parking is prohibited throughout the City of Hartford. Any vehicles not removed from City streets by the start of the parking ban will be ticketed and towed. Residents without access to off-street parking may move their vehicles to one of the authorized parking areas including Blue Light Lots, City Parks, Recreation and Senior Centers, and Hartford District School Parking Lots before the start of the parking ban.
Blue lights have been installed at 16 major intersections. The lights will be illuminated 6 hours before a parking ban takes effect and will remain illuminated throughout the duration of the parking ban. Seven “Blue Light Lots” have been identified and dedicated solely for use during snow emergency parking bans. These newly designated “Blue Light Lots” will provide more parking options for residents who do not have access to off-street parking.
Mayor Bronin also encouraged residents to sign up to receive alerts from the City of Hartford by registering online at http://www.hartford.gov/emergency-services. “We’re not going to overuse this alert system, and you can always decide to unsubscribe. But we encourage you to sign up so that you can get timely, important information about what’s happening in the City – including parking bans.”
To avoid being ticketed and towed, please move all on street cars to the following list of authorized parking areas:
Blue Light Lots
• 130 Sisson Ave
• 2404 Main St
• 135 Main St
• 50 Curcombe St
• 20 Francis Ct
• 60 Chadwick St
• 11 Flower St
City Parks, Recreation and Senior Centers
• Colt Park – Warwarme St Lot
• Elizabeth Park – Asylum St Lot
• Elizabeth Park – Prospect Ave Lot
• Goodwin Park – Hubbard Ave Lot
• Goodwin Park – Maple Ave Golf Course Lot
• Keney Park – Woodland St Lot
• Keney Park – Ridgefield St Lot
• Rocky Ridge Park – Zion St Lot
• Thomas J. Hyland Memorial Park – Ansonia St Lot
• Foster Heights Park – Amherst St Lot
• Holcomb Health and Human Services Campus - 2 Holcomb St Lot
• North End Senior Center - 80 Coventry St Lot
• Parker Memorial Community Center - 2621 Main St
• Metzner Recreation Center – 680 Franklin Av
• Samuel Valentin Arroyo Recreation Center – 30 Pope Park Dr
All Hartford District School Parking Lots.
• For a complete list click HERE
Residents should remove their vehicles from the lots promptly following the end of the parking ban, and cars parked in Hartford District Public School lots must be moved no later than 11:00 am Friday. Residents whose vehicles are towed during the parking ban should contact the Hartford Police Department at (860) 757-4000. Please visit http://www.hartford.gov/snow-parking for a list of snow emergency parking locations, and for information regarding towed vehicles.
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