Welcome to the State of Connecticut, Department of Children and Families' Institutional Review Board (IRB). The DCF IRB is responsible for reviewing and approving research involving clients and staff prior to the initiation of research and through continuing review and monitoring of approved studies. The purpose of an IRB review is to ensure that studies are being conducted in accordance with the ethical principles of autonomy, beneficence and justice as set forth in the The Belmont Report, and in compliance with federal regulations and internal policies. The DCF IRB is established by policy of the agency.  The DCF IRB follows and is informed by federal guidelines.  Restoration of the Federal Wide Assurance concerning its operations is currently under consideration by DCF. 


Operations of the DCF IRB are governed by agency policy 26-8-1 which requires that “All requests for research involving human subjects (clients or DCF staff), which the department conducts or in which the department assists in providing patients or data, shall require consideration for approval by the Institutional Review Board (IRB).”


The Department of Children and Families is a multicultural agency serving children and families from different races, ethnicities, creeds, sexual orientations, gender identities and/or expressions.  Some families have limited English proficiency or it is not their preferred language.  Therefore, it is the expectation of the DCF IRB that studies submitted to the IRB for review are written in a way that is culturally and linguistically responsive and appropriate, and lead to the inclusion and increased knowledge that is relevant to our heterogeneous population.  If you have any questions, you may email the IRB at dcf.irb@ct.gov

Research Proposal Impact Assessment:

provides an abstract of your research and how it will affect DCF.  Submission of the Research Proposal Impact Assessment to DCF Office For Research and Evaluation (ORE) is required prior to DCF IRB review.  The DCF ORE must review the impact on and specific value/benefit(s) to DCF.  ORE will determine whether DCF will allow the research to move forward.


The principle investigator(s) must submit the Impact Assessment via email to the DCF IRB.  The DCF IRB will provide the administrative support for submission and notification but does not have a role in the decision-making process.


Continuing Reviews and Amendments:\
should be submitted at least one month prior to IRB meetings for processing and review by members.  Forms can be located on the DCF IRB Forms Library.  For continuing reviews, a copy of the Annual Summary is required in the submission. When a study is closing, a copy of the Final Report is required.

Continuing Review Guidelines:

The Principal Investigator is responsible for submitting:  1) the Continuing Review form; and, 2) all supporting documentation concurrently for the continuing review no sooner than 45 days but no later than 30 days before the study’s expiration date.  This ensures adequate time for the IRB to process and review the Continuing Review information.

Principal Investigators and Study Coordinators are strongly encouraged to devise a tickler system for ensuring the timely submission of all information needed to continue the review.  Methods include setting reminder notices in electronic calendars, and conducting frequent meetings with study staff to review expiration dates.

Expired Studies (Full Board Hearings and Expedited Reviews) Guidelines:

If the IRB approval expires, before the continuing review and approval process occur, the Principal Investigator and study staff must stop all research activities related to that study.  All research activities including ascertainment, recruitment, consent, data collection and data analysis must cease.  This includes intervening and interacting with subjects, and/or obtaining or analyzing identifiable private information about the participant(s), and using any data obtained after the expiration date for the research.

How To Resume The Study:
The investigator may resume the research activity once the Continuing Review information is submitted and approval by the IRB has occurred.

Time Limits:
The IRB will permanently close the study and a new application must be submitted if the continuing review information is not received in a timely manner.