DCF Worker Fired Over Use of Force Allegations - NECN


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DCF Worker Fired Over Use of Force Allegations



    DCF Worker Fired Over Use of Force Allegations
    Connecticut Office of the Child Advocate
    A Department of Children and Families employee has been terminated over accusations he used excessive force in restraining minors at a Connecticut facility (not the incident pictured).

    A state youth services worker is out of a job after being accused of using excessive force.

    It's part of the fallout after the state's child advocate released a scathing report and videos documenting what she claims is a widespread problem.

    The worker, Re'Sean Dupree, was fired last week, according to the state Department of Children and Families. The agency oversees the two facilities in question, the Connecticut Juvenile Training School for boys and the Pueblo Unit for girls, both based in Middletown.

    Dupree's termination letter states he used "poor judgement" while lifting a resident off the floor, slamming him to the ground and holding him down.

    The incident was not included in a series of recently released videos that purportedly show staff members forcefully restraining juveniles.

    The union that represents workers at the facilities declined to talk about specific cases, but did address discipline in general.

    "We're concerned that dedicated workers who are in a difficult environment at CJTS are being painted unfairly with a broad brush and that the agency has been very heavy handed focusing on discipline moments rather than teaching moments," said union spokesman Larry Dorman.

    DCF Commissioner Joette Katz released a statement saying three other workers at the facilities, including two who are no longer employed by the agency, have also been disciplined for incidents dating back to 2013.

    Those incidents were also not included in the recently released videos.

    In the statement, Katz pointed out "the overwhelming majority of our staff are dedicated and caring as they conduct their work every day at these programs."

    "They want to make a difference in the lives of troubled kids," said Dorman. "They certainly have been trained to use techniques that are designed to prevent kids from harming themselves, harming each other and harming staff."

    DCF is now taking steps to reduce the use of restraint and seclusion used at the facilities, according to Katz. The agency has already banned some practices taht have been called into question, including restraining children face down.

    The union says it's planning to hold a news conference next week to allow workers to voice its concerns.

    Dupree could not be reached at his home Tuesday evening.