The Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families vowed Thursday to stay on in her current role, and not give in to criticism coming from the political right.
"I have no plans," to resign, Joette Katz told NBC Connecticut during an interview following an event the Yale School of Medicine.
The calls for her resignation come after an Office of the Child Advocate Report that detailed the circumstances surrounding the near-death of "Baby D," a Groton 2-year-old who was starved nearly death, suffered from a brain hemorrhage and had broken bones.
U.S. & World
Katz said the Baby D case happened on her watch and at the end of the day she is responsible, but added that such cases are the very nature of her job.
“Will there be tragedies? It breaks my heart to say, yes there will be mistakes made. Are they excuses? Absolutely not. But are they indicative of a system or a trend or systemic failure? Absolutely not,” she said.
The report details how DCF workers disregarded questions from the child's legal guardian. Three employees have been disciplined and another was allowed to retire as a result of the case.
Gov. Dannel Malloy also stood by Katz Thursday. He said the department is in a much better place than when she arrived and is likely in a better place than it's ever been before. His justification for those statements is that a federal court monitor has eased its oversight of the department, though it is still keeping a close eye on how it operates.
"If you look at what we’ve accomplished in Connecticut over the last six years, it is remarkable," Malloy said. He added that the job is difficult and that tragedies come with the territory.
"There are going to be mistakes and there’s going to be malfeasance and misfeasance. That’s the reality. We have to hold people accountable to that and we need that to happen less and less and less often and hopefully never but having a strong leadership team is part of getting that done."
"I hold Commissioner Katz accountable," he added.
The family of Baby D is suing the Department of Children and Families, as well.
Katz said the OCA report is valid and accurate, but adds that the fact there have been fewer of these kinds of incidents shows how the department is better off.
"It’s my responsibility to ensure that we don’t just react to the issues, but that we respond to the issues and that we really keep on path," Katz said.