Governor's Task Force on Justice for Abused Children
Agenda's Meeting Dates and Minutes
CJA 2015-2016 Federal Application
Minimal Facts Advisory Board
About the Task Force
The Governor’s Task Force on Justice for Abused Children (GTF, Task Force, or Governor's Task Force), first established in 1988, identified the need for greater coordination of agencies involved in the investigation, intervention and prosecution of child sexual abuse and serious physical abuse cases. The development of multidisciplinary teams (MDTs), that provide critical coordination at the beginning stages of an investigation, has provided a means of maximizing community resources that strengthen and improve interagency responses and interventions. The guiding principles and values that were established initially continue to guide the direction and focus of the Task Force. Since the development of the Governor’s Task Force on Justice for Abused Children in 1988, there have been many changes in membership.
Governor's Task Force on Justice for Abused Children Committees
The Executive Committee, comprised of no fewer than seven members, four of whom are elected by the GTF membership, continues to meet monthly. The three permanent members of the Executive Committee include representatives from the Department of Children and Families, the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney and the CT Children's Alliance (CCA Chairperson or designee). At least two members of the Executive Committee must be from non-state agencies. This committee continues to serve as the Task Force's ‘engine,’ guiding and supporting the implementation of planned activities, recommendations and responding to urgent situations. This committee currently operates with a co-chair structure with Stephen Sedensky, Office of the Chief State’s Attorney and Tammy Sneed, Department of Children and Families, functioning in this capacity.
The Multidisciplinary Team Evaluation Committee
In 2002, in accordance with Connecticut General Statute Sec. 17a-106a(c), a permanent Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) Evaluation Committee was established to review protocols and monitor and evaluate the performance of multidisciplinary teams. The MDT Evaluation Committee is a permanent GTF committee and is charged with reviewing the protocols of all multidisciplinary teams, monitoring and evaluating teams, and making recommendations for modifications to the system of multidisciplinary teams. This committee is elected by the Governor's Task Force membership. The committee's composition is diverse geographically, culturally and by discipline. Current membership includes representatives from child protection, forensic medical providers and interviewers, States Attorney's Office (prosecutors), mental health, victim services, the Attorney General's office and MDT coordinators.
The primary focus of this committee is to identify needs and gaps in training, develop a plan to meet the training needs of the multiple disciplines involved in Connecticut teams and throughout the system, and award financial reimbursement for those wishing to attend training. Individuals attending specialized training out of state are expected to share the information gained with their local MDT members. This committee works with an established annual budget and uses a formal application and distribution process.
Best practice indicates that, to minimize trauma, a child who has disclosed child sexual abuse should be interviewed once by the person conducting a forensic interview. However there is also recognition that, to ensure a child's safety, some information may need to be obtained directly from the child. In these instances the goal is to gather minimal facts in a manner that will not jeopardize the integrity of the forensic interview and investigation, or cause further trauma to the child. In response to this, the Governor's Task Force has partnered with the Connecticut Children's Alliance, the DCF Training Academy, DCF Hotline, State's Attorney's Office, the CT State Police, the Police Officer Standards and Training Council (POSTC - the state police academy), CT Children's Alliance, local police departments, multidisciplinary teams, forensic interviewers and other stakeholders across Connecticut to develop comprehensive minimal facts trainings.
This workgroup prepared two training curricula: one for first responders (targeting law enforcement and DCF) and one for other mandated reporters (targeting educators, day care, etc). This second group has been recognized as the "Discoverers" group. There has been several Train the Trainers sessions for both groups and these will continue as needed. The Minimal Facts Stewardship Committee (whose responsibility is to maintain and disseminate the curricula, materials and to support and further train the trainers as needed) made the decision to rename itself to the Minimal Facts Advisory Board. All partners have formally agreed to be members of the Advisory Board.
Kristen M. Clark, Coordinator
Governor's Task Force on Justice for Abused Children
331 Wethersfield Avenue
Hartford, CT 06114
Tammy Sneed, Director of Gender Responsive Adolescent Serivces
Department of Children and Families
505 Hudson Street
Hartford, Connecticut 06106
Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, 42 U.S.C. 5106c (c) State task forces
(1) General rule: Except as provided in paragraph (2), a State requesting assistance under this section shall establish or designate, and maintain, a State multidisciplinary task force on children's justice (hereinafter referred to as “State task force”) composed of professionals with knowledge and experience relating to the criminal justice system and issues of child physical abuse, child neglect, child sexual abuse and exploitation, and child maltreatment related fatalities. The State task force shall include--
(A) individuals representing the law enforcement community;
(B) judges and attorneys involved in both civil and criminal court proceedings related to child abuse and neglect (including individuals involved with the defense as well as the prosecution of such cases);
(C) child advocates, including both attorneys for children and, where such programs are in operation, court appointed special advocates;
(D) health and mental health professionals;
(E) individuals representing child protective service agencies;
(F) individuals experienced in working with children with disabilities;
(H) representatives of parents' groups;
(I) adult former victims of child abuse or neglect; and
(J) individuals experienced in working with homeless children and youths (as defined in section 11434a of this title).
(2) Existing task force
As determined by the Secretary, a State commission or task force established after January 1, 1983, with substantially comparable membership and functions, may be considered the State task force for purposes of this subsection.
(d) State task force study
Before a State receives assistance under this section, and at three year intervals thereafter, the State task force shall comprehensively--
(1) review and evaluate State investigative, administrative and both civil and criminal judicial handling of cases of child abuse and neglect, including child sexual abuse and exploitation, as well as cases involving suspected child maltreatment related fatalities and cases involving a potential combination of jurisdictions, such as intrastate, interstate, Federal-State, and State-Tribal; and
(2) make policy and training recommendations in each of the categories described in subsection (e) of this section.
The task force may make such other comments and recommendations as are considered relevant and useful.
Sec. 17a-106a. Multidisciplinary teams. Purpose. Composition. Confidentiality. Records of meetings. (a) The Commissioner of Children and Families, may as department head of the lead agency, and the appropriate state's attorney establish multidisciplinary teams for the purpose of reviewing particular cases or particular types of cases or to coordinate the prevention, intervention and treatment in each judicial district to review selected cases of child abuse or neglect. The purpose of such multidisciplinary teams is to advance and coordinate the prompt investigation of suspected cases of child abuse or neglect, to reduce the trauma of any child victim and to ensure the protection and treatment of the child. The head of the local law enforcement agency or his designee may request the assistance of the Division of State Police within the Department of Public Safety for such purposes.
(b) Each multidisciplinary team shall consist of at least one representative of each of the following: (1) The state's attorney of the judicial district of the team, or his designee; (2) the Commissioner of Children and Families, or his designee; (3) the head of the local or state law enforcement agencies, or his designee; (4) a health care professional with substantial experience in the diagnosis and treatment of abused or neglected children, who shall be designated by the team members; (5) a member, where appropriate, of a youth service bureau; (6) a mental health professional with substantial experience in the treatment of abused or neglected children, who shall be designated by the team members; and (7) any other appropriate individual with expertise in the welfare of children that the members of the team deem necessary. Each team shall select a chairperson. A team may invite experts to participate in the review of any case and may invite any other individual with particular information germane to the case to participate in such review, provided the expert or individual shall have the same protection and obligations under subsections (f) and (g) of this section as members of the team.
(c) The Governor's task force for justice for abused children, through the subcommittee comprised of individuals with expertise in the investigation of child abuse and neglect, shall: (1) Establish and modify standards to be observed by multidisciplinary teams; (2) review protocols of the multidisciplinary teams; and (3) monitor and evaluate multidisciplinary teams and make recommendations for modifications to the system of multidisciplinary teams.
(d) All criminal investigative work of the multidisciplinary teams shall be undertaken by members of the team who are law enforcement officers and all child protection investigative work of the teams shall be undertaken by members of the team who represent the Department of Children and Families, provided representatives of the department may coordinate all investigative work and rely upon information generated by the team. The protocols, procedures and standards of the multidisciplinary teams shall not supersede the protocols, procedures and standards of the agencies who are on the multidisciplinary team.
(e) Each multidisciplinary team shall have access to and may copy any record, transcript, document, photograph or other data pertaining to an alleged child victim within the possession of the Department of Children and Families, any public or private medical facility or any public or private health professional provided, in the case of confidential information, the coordinator of the team, or his designee, identifies the record in writing and certifies, under oath, that the record sought is necessary to investigate child abuse or neglect and that the team will maintain the record as confidential. No person who provides access to or copies of such record upon delivery of certification under this section shall be liable to any third party for such action. The multidisciplinary team shall not be deemed to be a public agency under the Freedom of Information Act.
(f) No person shall disclose information obtained from a meeting of the multidisciplinary team without the consent of the participant of the meeting who provided such information unless disclosure is ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction or is necessary to comply with the provisions of the Constitution of the state of Connecticut.
(g) Each multidisciplinary team shall maintain records of meetings that include, but are not limited to, the name of the alleged victim and perpetrator, the names of the members of the multidisciplinary team and their positions, the decision or recommendation of the team and support services provided. In any proceeding to gain access to such records or testimony concerning matters discussed at a meeting, the privileges from disclosure applicable to the information provided by each of the participants at the meeting shall apply to all participants.
The following individuals serve on the Governor’s Task Force on Justice for Abused Children:
Division of Criminal Justice
- The Honorable Patrick L. Carroll III
Northeast Regional Children’s Advocacy Center
Retired Connecticut Supreme Court Justice Joette Katz was appointed the Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families and assumed duties in January 2011. She is a co-chairperson of the Task Force. Prior to this position, Commissioner Katz was appointed to the Connecticut Superior Court by Governor William O’Neill in 1989 where she served on the trial bench, handling criminal, civil and juvenile matters and served on various law-related committees both inside and outside of the judicial system. In 1992, she was elevated to the Connecticut Supreme Court by Governor Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. and thereafter reappointed by Governors John Rowland and M. Jodi Rell. In eighteen years on that court, she sat on over 2,400 cases, and authored over 430 majority opinions.
Commissioner Katz also plays a role in her legal community and the community in which she resides. Commissioner Katz was the Administrative Judge of the Appellate System for the State of Connecticut, a member of the Criminal Practice Commission, the CBA Attorney Trust Account Task Force, the Public Service and Trust Commission, the chair of the Client Security Fund, and a member of the American Law Institute (participating in its Model Penal Code Sentencing Project). She was a member of the Public Defender Commission, the Law Revision Commission, the Fairfield County branch of the American Inns of Court, as well as the chairperson of the Advisory Committee on Appellate Rules, and the chairperson of the Code of Evidence Oversight Committee. Commissioner Katz taught at all three of the state’s law schools and is an associate fellow of Trumbull College at Yale University. She has received many awards and honors, including the Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame, Notable Woman of Influence and The Greater Bridgeport Bar Association Career Service Award, The Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund’s Maria Miller Stewart Award, the National Organization for Women’s Harriet Tubman Award, the University of Connecticut School of Law’s Distinguished Graduate Award, the National Council of Jewish Women’s Women of Distinction Award, the Connecticut Bar Association’s Henry J. Naruk Judiciary Award, Governing magazine's Public Officials of the Year, as well as an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws from Quinnipiac University School of Law.
Tammy M. Sneed is the Director of Gender Responsive Adolescent Services for the Department of Children and Families (DCF). With 20-years of experience on Gender-Responsive Programming for adolescent girls, she specializes in programming for youth in the legal system. She has developed and implemented a training model educating local and state police departments on how to work with adolescent girls with a focus on trauma; resulting in significant arrest reductions. As the lead of the Girls' Provider Network she has lead DCF in the development of a set of female-responsive program guidelines to guide providers in working with adolescent girls. Also a foster/ adoptive mother she has developed specialized training for mentors, foster and adoptive parents and served as a mentor for forever families parenting adolescent girls. Most recently Tammy has focused efforts on a national crisis; Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST).
Kevin T. Kane, B.A., J.D.,
Kevin T. Kane, B.A., J.D., Chief State’s Attorney, Office of the Chief State’s Attorney. Attorney Kane is a co-chairperson of the Task Force. His appointment as Chief State’s Attorney was effective September 5, 2006. As Chief State's Attorney, Mr. Kane is the administrative head of the Division of Criminal Justice, the independent agency of the executive branch of state government that is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of all criminal matters in the State of Connecticut. The Division includes the offices of the State’s Attorney for each of the thirteen Judicial Districts in the State of Connecticut and the Office of the Chief State's Attorney in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. Attorney Kane joined the Division of Criminal Justice in August, 1972 and rose through the ranks to become the State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of New London, where he served prior to becoming Chief State’s Attorney. He is an enthusiastic supporter of the GTF and its mission.
Stephen J. Sedensky III is the State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Danbury, where he serves on the Danbury MDT. Attorney Sedensky has been a prosecutor for over twentyfive years, having devoted a large portion of that time to the investigation and prosecution of child abuse cases. Before his move to Danbury, Attorney Sedensky was the Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney for the Statewide Prosecution Bureau of the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney. Prior to that, Attorney Sedensky served as a Senior Assistant State’s Attorney in the Judicial District of Fairfield, located in Bridgeport, where he was responsible for the prosecution of major felonies with an emphasis on adult and child sexual and physical abuse cases. While there, he helped to establish, and served on, the Bridgeport MDT. He continues to conduct training on sexual assault and the court system for the Center for Women and Families in Bridgeport. Attorney Sedensky is board certified in Criminal Trial Advocacy by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He is a former Senior Attorney for the National District Attorney’s Association’s American Prosecutors Research Institute’s National Center for the Prosecution of Child Abuse. While there in 1997, on loan from Connecticut, he was in charge of childPROOF, the Center’s advanced trial advocacy course. He is also a manuscript reviewer for the journal Child Abuse and Neglect. Attorney Sedensky co-chairs the Executive Committee of the Governor’s Task Force. Attorney Sedensky spearheaded the GTF’s efforts to bring the Finding Words program to Connecticut. He currently chairs that committee of the Task Force. Attorney Sedensky also served on the Statewide Assessment Advisory Committee and is a member of the Membership committee, By-Laws Workgroup and Forensic Interview and Forensic Medical Workgroup. In March 2009, Attorney Sedensky was awarded the Outstanding Service Award in the prosecution category by the National Children's Advocacy Center in Huntsville, Alabama, having been nominated by the Connecticut Children's Alliance.
Susan O. Storey Esq
Susan O. Storey Esq. is the Chief Public Defender for the State of Connecticut. Attorney Storey has a broad spectrum of experience as a Public Defender. She has handled cases ranging from death penalty defense to juvenile matters. She recently served as the chair of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women. Her presence reinforces the need for the Task Force to maintain a balanced perspective and ensure fairness to the accused.
Christine Rapillo, J.D., is the Director of Juvenile Delinquency Defense and Child Protection Attorney. She administers the Juvenile Unit of the Office of Chief Public Defender, which provides attorneys for all children in child protection matters, indigent children in delinquency, status offense and certain child custody cases, indigent parents in child protection matters and counsel for parents in certain paternity and support enforcement actions. Attorney Rapillo supervised the Hartford Juvenile Court Public Defender’s Office for 11 years and spent several years as a defender in adult court, trying cases at all levels. Attorney Rapillo has served on the GTF Executive Committee and the Committee on Child Representation.
Attorney General George Jepsen was elected in November 2010 and has served since January 2011. A former legislator, state Senate majority leader and Democratic state party chairman, Attorney Jepsen was a practicing lawyer for more than 26 years before becoming Attorney General. Attorney Jepsen is an advocate and recognized leader on issues affecting working men and women; consumer protection; civil rights; domestic violence; protecting a woman’s right to choose; living wills and end-of-life issues; gun safety, including Connecticut’s ban on assault weapons and protecting Connecticut’s natural and historic resources.
Attorney Jepsen grew up in Greenwich, attended public schools and graduated from Greenwich High School in 1972. He attended Dartmouth College where he graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa in 1976 with a B.A. degree in Government with high distinction. During that time, he also studied Chinese and completed foreign study in France and Taiwan. In 1982, Attorney Jepsen earned his J.D. degree, cum laude, from Harvard Law School and simultaneously earned a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he was a teaching fellow for Richard Neustadt for “The American Presidency” and for former Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox in U.S.
Designee: Carolyn Signorelli is currently with the Child Protection Department of the Attorney General’s Office where she has prosecuted child abuse and neglect cases for a total of 12 years. Currently Attorney Signorelli handles a varied case load of child protection trials, defense work in state and federal court and administrative and appellate matters. Attorney Signorelli was appointed in 2006 as Connecticut’s first Chief Child Protection Attorney where she spent 5 years creating a new agency devoted to improving legal representation for children and parents in child protection proceedings. Under her leadership the agency was recognized as a model program by the National Quality Improvement Center on the Representation of Children in the Child Welfare System. Attorney Signorelli served on the ABA’s National Committee to Improve Parent Representation from 2009 to 2011; the Executive Committee of the Children’s Trust Fund from 2004 until 2013,the Chief Justice’s Public Service & Trust Commission as Co-Chair of the Demographics Committee; the Families With Service Needs Advisory Board convened by the Legislature in July of 2006; the Committee to Expedite Appeals in Child Protection Matters operating from 2009 until 2011 and the Advisory Board of Connecticut’s Juvenile Access Pilot Program. She continues to be involved in the Connecticut Bar Association’s Litigation Section and the Committee Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice; the Judicial Department’s Court Improvement Project Strategic Planning Task Force and Training Grant Workgroup. Attorney Signorelli is a member of the National Association of Counsel for Children and the Juvenile Law Society and teaches for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. Attorney Signorelli received her B.A. from Vassar College in 1986 and was a Mary Siegrest Hinz Fellow at William & Mary School of Law where she graduated in 1991.
The Honorable Patrick L. Carroll III
Member: Sarah Eagan was appointed by Governor Dannel Malloy to serve as Connecticut's Child Advocate on August 1, 2013. As Child Advocate, Sarah sets priority reviews for the OCA, manages office operations, and publishes vital information regarding the well-being of children and recommendations for system reform. Prior to this appointment, Sarah served for several years as the Director of the Child Abuse Project at the Center for Children's Advocacy in Hartford, Connecticut. During her years at the Center, Sarah worked to ensure that abused, neglected or special-needs children receive the safety, emotional support, services and education that they need and deserve. Sarah has represented numerous clients in trials, mediations, administrative matters and appeals. Sarah worked to improve service systems for children and their families through participation in various taskforces and working groups, addressing issues such as public access to juvenile proceedings and improving educational outcomes for children in state custody. Sarah has developed training curricula and conducted multiple seminars on education and child welfare law. Sarah has actively participated in drafting and seeking passage of legal reforms to improve outcomes for at-risk children and their families. Prior to working at the Center for Children's Advocacy, Sarah worked as a litigation associate at Shipman & Goodwin in Hartford, Connecticut. Sarah earned a degree in American Studies from Trinity College in Hartford, and went on to graduate with honors from the University of Connecticut School of Law.
Designee: Faith Vos Winkel joined the Office of the Child Advocate in July 2001. Faith serves as the lead for the OCA on matters relating to child fatality review and prevention. She convenes the Connecticut Child Fatality Review Panel (CFRP) each month which reviews all unexpected and unexplained child deaths. Faith is the Child Advocate's prinicipal investigator on any in-depth child fatality investigation requested by the CFRP, the Governor, the General Assembly or conducted at the Child Advocate's discretion.
Child fatality reviews focus on the examination of systems and opportunities to improve policies and practices to prevent additional tragedies from occurring. Faith's focus on prevention includes participating in many statewide groups including the Statewide Suicide Advisory Board, the Domestic Fatality Review Board, the Child Poverty and Prevention Council, the Teen Safe Driving Coalition, the Garret Lee Smith Grantee Steering Committee, the School Climate Working Group and the Connecticut Interagency Restraint and Seclution Initiative. Faith has also been involved in numerous child death review initiatives on a national level.
Prior to working at OCA, Faith worked at the State Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities for 15 years, advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities. Faith holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Social Work from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work.
Joan Jenkins, Director, Children in Placement Program, is responsible for administering the statewide CASA program. When it was established in 1979, it was the first of its kind in the country. This program has grown tremendously under Ms. Jenkin’s direction.
Jacilyn Fricks, LCSW
Jacilyn Fricks, LCSW. Ms. Fricks is a licensed clinical social worker at The Oak Hill Center for Relationship & Sexuality Education, providing therapeutic education and counseling for children and adults with developmental and other disabilities, many of whom have been sexually abused. She provides professional development for public and private providers and is the co-author of “Ten Tips for Healthy Relationships: a Workbook for Adults with Developmental Disabilities”. Prior to her work at Oak Hill, Ms. Fricks was the Pediatric Social Worker and Case Manager at Hospital for Special Care where she participated in the planning, development and delivery of services for children with special health care needs at the hospital and statewide. She has served on the DCF Advisory Council for Medically Complex Foster Children and other state-wide task forces. Ms. Fricks received her Master of Science in Social Work at the University of Tennessee and has been a member of the National Association of Social Workers for over 25 years.
Ms. Fricks is currently a member of the Task Force Training Committee and the Victim Services/Victim Advocacy Workgroup. Formerly she served on the Executive Committee of the GTF and was the chairperson of the Children with Disabilities Committee.
Linda Cimino has served as the Director of the Office of Victim Services (OVS) since January 2000. During her tenure, all of the written publications have been redesigned for consistency in look and text. Ms. Cimino serves on several statewide committees and task forces. Ms. Cimino served as adjunct lecturer at the University of New Haven during the fall semesters of 2002-2005. Currently Ms. Cimino teaches an undergraduate class at Capital Community College. For both institutions she taught sections of Victimology. Prior to her tenure at OVS, Ms. Cimino was the Executive Director of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence for five years and served as the Executive Director of Meriden-Wallingford Chrysalis from 1988 - 1995. Ms. Cimino's early career was spent at the New Haven YWCA in the capacities of Public Relations Coordinator and Associate Executive Director and as the Executive Director of the Suzuki Music School.
Craig Henrici is the newly appointed Executive Director of the Connecticut Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (OPA). Prior to becoming Executive Director, he was a practicing attorney, Mayor of the Town of Hamden, general counsel to the State Comptroller, and a hearing officer at the Department of Developmental Services. Among other things, the agency has the responsibility for investigating allegations of physical and sexual abuse against people with disabilities. Mr. Henrici has extensive and personal experience in advocating for the disabled. Part of a nationwide network of protection and advocacy systems, OPA is an independent state agency that operates under both federal and state mandates to protect the civil rights of people with disabilities.
Bradley Pellissier M.P.A. is Assistant Program Director of the Abuse Investigation Division within the Office of Protection and assigns cases to OPA Investigators, provides ongoing case supervision and guidance to investigators in state and private agencies. Mr. Pellissier has worked in the Division for 23 years both as an investigator and supervisor and has been involved with hundreds of abuse/neglect investigations. Mr. Pellissier has served as a member of the Connecticut Governor’s Task Force on Justice for Abused Children since December, 2011.
Natasha serves at the State Victim Advocate and acts as the ombudsman for victims of crime within the criminal justice system and evaluates the delivery of state services to victims. Responsibilities also include recommending system-wide improvements to the General Assembly, working with private and public agencies to enforce the constitutional rights of victims, and filing appearances in court to advocate for victims.
Before being appointed as the State Victim Advocate, Natasha was the Policy & Legislative Director for the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, and an attorney at Connecticut Legal Services, Inc. and Western Massachusetts Legal Services, Inc., where she practiced family and housing law. She earned a B.A. from the University of Connecticut with a major in Women’s Studies and a dual-degree in law and social work from the University of Connecticut’s Schools of Law and Social Work. She was awarded the Connecticut Law Tribune’s New Leaders of the Law Award, and has had articles written about her in the Hartford Courant and the Connecticut Law Tribune. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., a public service sorority.
Hakima Bey-Coon received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Rutgers University in 1992, and a Juris Doctor degree from Seton Hall Law School in 1995. After earning her law degree, Attorney Bey-Coon served a one-year clerkship under the Honorable Kevin G. Callahan, J.S.C., in the New Jersey Superior Court-Criminal Division. Over the next several years Attorney Bey-Coon served as a staff attorney at Hudson County Legal Services in Jersey City, New Jersey where she represented indigent clients in housing matters and as a Deputy Attorney General in the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office where she prosecuted professional licensing cases. After serving several years in the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, Attorney Bey-Coon began practicing law at Maya & Associates, P.C. in Westport, Connecticut. Thereafter, Attorney Bey-Coon joined the Office of the Victim Advocate in March 2006. Attorney Bey-Coon is a member of the Victim Services/Victim Advocacy Workgroup of the Task Force and serves on the Executive Committee.
Kimberly Leslie, RN
Kimberly Leslie, RN, Pediatric Nurse, has served on the Task Force since April 2001 as a parent representative. Additionally, Ms. Leslie is an Advisory Board Member of the Children’s Center at St. Francis Hospital. She has served on Task Force sub-committees and spoken at several press conferences. She currently works as a school nurse.
Member: Alison Johnson is a consultant to nonprofit coalitions in the areas of public policy, state budget analysis, and coalition building. Alison has been in private practice since 1997. She is experienced working with networks of leaders to help them move an agenda forward, including serving as the Chair of the National Council of Nonprofit Associations (NCNA). From 1990-1997 she was the Director of the Nonprofit Human Services Cabinet, a collaborative of twenty of Connecticut’s leading associations, coalitions and statewide human service providers. She is a graduate of Wesleyan University. Alison is based in Middletown, Connecticut where she serves as a polling place Moderator.
Alison is a survivor of long term child sexual abuse. She has served on the Victim/Survivor Advisory Council (VSAC) for the Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services (CONNSACS) since its inception. She was the Project Manager for a federal US Department of Justice project on confidentiality for CONNSACS on a consulting basis from 2001 – 2005. Alison has served on the Advisory Board of the Aetna Foundation Children’s Center at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center. She has also participated in conferences for Safety Net: The National Safe and Strategic Technology Project at the National Network to End Domestic Violence, and presented on health literacy.
Member: Margaret M. Doherty, Executive Director of Connecticut Association of Foster and Adoptive Parents. Ms. Doherty earned a Bachelors degree in Social Work, a Masters degree in Non-Profit Business Administration and a Juris Doctorate. Ms. Doherty was appointed Executive Director of Connecticut Association of Foster & Adoptive Parents in December 2012. As a foster and adoptive parent as well as in her professional capacity, Ms. Doherty and her staff provide education, training, support and advocacy for foster, adoptive and relative caregivers throughout Connecticut. Ms. Doherty and her staff work collaboratively with the Department of Children and Families, child welfare professionals and the community regarding issues of importance for the families who serve Connecticut’s most vulnerable children. Foster, adoptive and kinship parents require specialized training and support while they strive to nurture and care for the traumatized children entrusted to their care. As a member of the Governor’s Task Force, she brings the needs of parents and children to other members of task force. Ms. Doherty currently serves on task force’s Training Committee.
Karen Jarmoc is currently the Executive Director of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) Ms. Jarmoc served as co-chair of the General Assembly's Task Force on Law Enforcement Response to Family Violence. That group has made significant recommendations to the legislature to build upon law enforcement's comprehensive work to assist victims. Ms. Jarmoc worked as the Executive Director at the Network Against Domestic Abuse, Inc. in Enfield. The Network is one of CCADV's 18 member agencies which provide a critical response to victims including advocacy in court, emergency shelter, counseling and a 24-hour hotline. Ms. Jarmoc represented Enfield's 59th House District from 2007 to 2011. As a Connecticut state lawmaker, Ms. Jarmoc was a member of the Speaker's Task Force on Domestic Violence. In 2008, she was honored by CCADV as a leader whose commitment to change made a difference in the lives of survivors of domestic violence. Ms. Jarmoc serves on the board of the Connecticut Airport Authority. Locally, she is board chair to the United Way of North Central Connecticut and the Asnuntuck Community College Foundation, Inc. In 2011, she was named by the Rotary Club of Enfield as a 2011 Paul Harris Fellow.
Marie has advocated for victims of domestic and sexual violence for nearly thirty years. She served as a rape crisis counselor with the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center and as a state trooper for nearly eleven years with the Massachusetts State Police. As a trooper, Marie specialized in child abuse, domestic violence, and sexual assault investigations. Marie also served as the Executive Director of the MA Governor’s Domestic Violence Commission. Having moved to CT, Marie volunteered for many years at Safe Futures and now works as the Healthcare and Member Agency Services Coordinator at the CT Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Laura Cordes is the Executive Director of Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services (CONNSACS), the statewide coalition of nine community-based sexual assault crisis services programs whose mission is to end sexual violence and provide high-quality, comprehensive, and culturally-competent services to victims. While previously serving as the CONNSACS Director of Public Policy and Advocacy, Ms. Cordes organized key stakeholders to forward legislation which led to the establishment of the State of Connecticut Gail Burns-Smith Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners Program as well as legislation that secured the right for sexual assault victims to receive emergency contraception on site in hospital emergency rooms. Ms. Cordes has made numerous presentations and conducted dozens of trainings for community partners including healthcare providers, police cadets, and campus administrators to prevent sexual assault and improve support for victims. She is a statutory member of the State of Connecticut Commission on the Standardization of the Collection of Evidence in Sexual Assault Investigations and the Criminal Justice Policy Advisory Committee.
Designee: No designee assigned by member agency.
Stephan Pryor, Commissioner. On September 7, 2011, the State Board of Education voted unanimously to recommend to the Governor the appointment of Mr. Pryor as the Commissioner of Education. Stefan Pryor previously served as Deputy Mayor for Economic Development in the City of Newark, New Jersey where he oversaw economic, housing, workforce development, and sustainability. He also coordinated the City’s state and federal legislative agenda. Mr. Pryor served as the Chairman of the Brick City Development Corporation, Newark’s economic development organization, which he helped to found. Prior to serving as Deputy Mayor, Mr. Pryor served as President of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which was created in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, to plan and help coordinate the physical rebuilding and economic revitalization of Lower Manhattan. From 1998-2001, Mr. Pryor served as the Vice President for Education at the Partnership for New York City, where he led the organization’s public education efforts and served as Executive Director of its main school reform program. The Partnership’s work focused on attracting philanthropic funding to lower-performing NYC public school districts in order to introduce a range of innovations; including performance measurement and compensation, lead teacher programs (appointing master teachers to serve as mentors to their peers), principal signing bonuses for hard-to-staff/low-performing schools, and low-cost mortgages for educators.
In the mid-1990’s, Mr. Pryor served as a policy advisor to the Mayor of New Haven on issues ranging from housing and community development to education. While in New Haven, Mr. Pryor co-founded and served as the first Board President of Amistad Academy, a high-performing public charter school that now serves as the flagship for the Achievement First network of schools. Mr. Pryor served on the board of Achievement First, which opened 20 academies under 10 charters in Connecticut and New York. Amistad Academy was highlighted by the U.S. Department of Education in 2007 as one of seven schools in the country that are models for closing the achievement gap. In recent years, Pryor collaborated with Paul Vallas (the former school superintendent of Chicago, Philadelphia, and the New Orleans Recovery School District) regarding plans for school rebuilding and reform in post-disaster Haiti. Mr. Pryor also served as an advisor to the International Rescue Committee regarding the economic recovery in Haiti. The child of two public school teachers, Pryor received his bachelor’s degree in psychology and his law degree from Yale University, where he completed the Yale Teacher Preparation Program.
Christine Spak has served since 2007 as an Education Consultant within the State Department of Education where she is the State’s Coordinator of the Surrogate Parent Program for children in care who need, or may need, special education. She also serves as a Mediator in the area of special education. Ms. Spak received her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Connecticut. After graduation, she joined a medical-legal consulting firm in the Washington, D.C. area, and also taught at the graduate level at the University of Connecticut. Ms. Spak then served as the Chief of the Public Health Hearing Office of the State of Connecticut, followed by a move to private practice. During her years in private practice she served as a Hearing Officer in a number of areas involving the welfare of children, including matters involving special education and public health.
MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS
Patricia Rehmer was nominated by Governor M. Jodi Rell to serve as Commissioner of DMHAS in October 2009 and was confirmed by the General Assembly in March, 2010. Prior to this, Ms. Rehmer held the position of Deputy Commissioner and was responsible for Young Adult Services, Statewide Services, and served as the liaison to the Department of Social Services (DSS) and the Department of Children and Families (DCF). In her role as Deputy Commissioner, she had overall responsibility for the state facilities, including Cedarcrest and Connecticut Valley Hospital and the Local Mental Health Authorities in the five regions of the state. In her role on the Executive Management Team, Ms. Rehmer designed and implemented the Clinical Cabinet, comprised of clinical experts from DMHAS-funded and state-operated facilities in order to capitalize on expertise from the field in mental health and substance abuse.
In 1999, prior to joining DMHAS, Ms. Rehmer served as the Chief Executive Officer at Capitol Region Mental Health Center. In this role, she provided oversight for the Local Mental Health Authority in the Hartford region and provided leadership to 17 affiliate agencies to ensure that access and appropriate services were available in the region. Ms. Rehmer began her career in 1982 as a staff nurse at The Institute of Living in Hartford, Connecticut. She was employed at The Institute of Living, which merged with Hartford Hospital, for the next seventeen years in a variety of roles, including Head Nurse on several inpatient units, Director of Partial Hospital Services and Director of Adult Programs. Her final role at The Institute was Clinical Director. Ms. Rehmer earned a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Skidmore College in 1981 and a Master of Science in Nursing from St. Joseph College in 1988.
Cheryl L. Jacques, M.S.N., A.P.R.N., Director of Statewide Services, Young Adults for the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, is responsible for the administrative and clinical oversight of mental health and substance abuse services for young adults ages 18-25 years. Ms. Jacques manages transitions from the Department of Children and Families to adult services and develops community programs that will meet the needs of a young adult population while promoting recovery. Prior to joining Young Adult Services, Ms. Jacques held the role of Director of Operations for the Southeastern Mental Health Authority. She serves on the Victim Services/Victim Advocacy Workgroup of the Task Force.
Member: Eliza L. Borecka, M.A., M.S.W., L.C.S.W. works at The Sterling Center for Counseling and Family Relations, where she is the Senior Clinician and Associate Clinical Director. And responsible for Evaluation, risk assessment, and treatment of individuals who have engaged in sexually maladaptive behavior as perpetrators; Assessment and treatment of the victims of sexual abuse; Individual therapy; Group therapy; Family therapy; Family reunification; Supervisory training; Parental education; Community education; Coordination of treatment with DCF, Juvenile and Adult Probation Officers, DMHAS, DDS, and other mental health agencies.
Dr. John M. Leventhal is a Professor of Pediatrics at Yale University School of Medicine and Medical Director of the Child Abuse Program and Child Abuse Prevention Programs at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital. Dr. Leventhal has over 25 years of experience providing care to abused, neglected and sexually abused children and has extensive experience collaborating with professionals in the community, such as DCF workers and police, and teaching professionals in the community. Dr. Leventhal co-chairs the Forensic Interview and Forensic Medical Workgroup and participates on the By-Laws Workgroup.
Member: The Honorable Bernadette Conway was appointed the Chief Administrative Judge for Juvenile Matters in September of 2013. Judge Conway has been a judge of the Superior Court since April of 1999. From 1999 to 2013, Judge Conway presided over criminal, juvenile and family cases, primarily in New Haven. Prior to her appointment to the bench, Judge Conway was an assistant state’s attorney in the Middlesex Judicial District.
Stephenie Guess has a bachelor's degree in Sociology from the University of Connecticut and a Masters in Public Health from Southern CT State University. She is also a certified health education specialist issued by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing. Recently, she completed a Behavioral Health Leadership program through Yale University’s School of Medicine- Dept. of Psychiatry. Currently Stephenie is employed by the Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services at Southeastern Mental Health Authority. There, she functions as the Director of Housing and Homeless Services with a recent project focused on outreach and engagement with young adults who are homeless and at risk of homelessness. With over 20 years experience in health & human services, Stephenie has worked in various professional and volunteer capacities engaging communities in issues related to child welfare, parent leadership and advocacy, homelessness, and the elimination of health, social, and economic disparities in racial/ethnic populations. She has received awards, recognitions, and committee appointments, including the following:
- Yale School of Medicine Behavioral Health Leadership Program 2011
- National Minority AIDS Council- Women of Color Leadership Institute May 2009
- SCSU Minority Scholar on Health Disparities 2006-2008
- Eta Sigma Gamma (Health Sciences Honorary) 2007
- New London NAACP Humanitarian Award 2006
- CT Health Foundation Health Leadership Fellow 2005-2006
- CT Commission on Children Parent Leadership Training Participant/Graduation Speaker 2001
- Donna Millette-Fridge Memorial Award 2001
- TVCCA Head Start Policy Council & Parent Group leader 2001
- Town of Groton Youth and Family Services advisory committee/Substance abuse task force 2005 – 2006
Stephenie has presented at local, statewide, and national conferences related to housing and homelessness, social justice, and public health activities. She is dedicated to improving health and well-being outcomes for youth, adults, and families.
Kristen M. Clark became the coordinator of the Governor’s Task Force on Justice for Abused Children in June 2008. She graduated from Watkinson Day School and Howard University, with a B.S. in Sociology, before going on to pursue a Master in Social Work at the University of Connecticut. Ms. Clark has been employed with the Village for Families & Children, Inc. for twenty-one years where she also coordinates the agency's public policy and advocacy efforts and is the agency's Emergency Coordinator. At the Village she has been responsible for connecting with key community and corporate organizations, developing key legislative relationships, coordinating volunteers, promoting Village programs, and cultivating media and fund-raising prospects. Previously she worked as the interim Director of RAMBUH Family Center, Community Ambassador, supervisor, therapist and case manager in the Village's foster care program. Ms. Clark is also active in the Greater Hartford community through her current and past public service activities including serving on the Boards of Watkinson Day School and Community Health Services; being an adult achiever mentor in the YMCA Minority Achiever Program; a mentor in the Delta Academy; and actively participating as a member of the National Association of Black Social Workers, the Greater Hartford Alliance of Black Social Workers, and the NAACP. She serves as President of the Howard University Alumni Club of Greater Hartford and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. where she is a past Assistant Secretary of the Eastern Region. In May 2010, Kristen was elected Region I Chair of the Howard University Alumni Association and covers all Howard University alumni in Africa, Europe, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont and continues to serve in this capacity. Under her leadership, Region I has earned Outstanding Region of the Year in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. On a statewide level, Kristen is a former commissioner for the African American Affairs Commission of the state of Connecticut’s General Assembly.
Ms. Clark coordinates the Finding Words trainings and chairs the Membership Committee as well as the By-Laws and Website work groups.
GTF Executive Committee:
January – (no meeting)
Special Executive Committee Meeting
June 8 (no meeting)
December 14 (no meeting)
GTF Executive Committee (10 people - 1st Thursday of the Month from 2-4pm)
January (no meeting)
May (no meeting)
August (no meeting)
October (no meeting)
GTF Quarterly Meeting (2nd Wednesday of the Month from 2-4pm)
GTF Executive Committee Minutes (1st Thursday of the Month from 2-4pm)
January (no meeting)
May (no meeting)
July (no meeting)
October (no meeting)
GTF Quarterly Meeting (2nd Wednesday of the Month from 2-4pm)
September (no meeting)
GTF Executive Committee Meeting Minutes (1st Thursday of the Month from 2-4pm)
January (no meeting)
May (no meeting)
July (no meeting)
August (no meeting)
GTF Quarterly Meeting (2nd Wednesday of the Month from 2-4pm)