DSS: About DSS

About DSS


The Department in Brief

The Department of Social Services provides a broad range of services to the elderly, people with disabilities, families, and individuals who need assistance in maintaining or achieving their full potential for self-direction, self-reliance and independent living.

Department Overview

Mission and Vision 

Divisions within the department

Programs administered by the department

Entities attached to the department for administrative purposes

Committees of which the Commissioner is a member by statute

The Statewide Advisory Council

Employment opportunities

Regional Office Locations

Department Overview

The Department of Social Services (DSS) administers and delivers a wide variety of services to children, families, adults, people with disabilities and the elderly, including health care coverage, child care, child support, long-term care and supports, energy assistance, food and nutrition aid, and program grants.  DSS administers myriad state and federal programs and one-third of the state budget, currently serving more than 750,000 individuals in nearly 470,000 households (November 2013 data).

By statute, DSS is the state agency responsible for administering a number of programs under federal legislation, including the Food Stamp Act, the Older Americans Act, and the Social Security Act.

The department is headed by the Commissioner of Social Services, and there are deputy commissioners for programs and administration.  The agency delivers most of its programs through 12 field offices (including three benefits centers available by phone) located throughout the state, with central administrative offices located in Hartford. In addition, many services funded by the agency are available through community-based agencies and partner contractors.  The agency has outstationed employees at hospitals to expedite Medicaid/HUSKY applications, and also works with community service providers to facilitate program applications.

Attached to the department for administrative purposes only are the Department of Rehabilitation Services, encompassing vocational rehabilitation services, services for the blind and visually-impaired and the deaf and hearing-impaired, and disability determination services; the Department on Aging; and the Child Day Care Council.

Mission and Vision

DSS Mission

Guided by shared belief in human potential, we aim to increase the security and well-being of
Connecticut individuals, families, and communities.

DSS Vision

To become a world-class service organization.

Divisions Within the Department

Adult Services

Affirmative Action

Aging Services

Bureau of Child Support Enforcement

Central Processing Division

Reimbursement and Certificate of Need Division

Electronic Benefit Transfer

Family Services

Finance and Administration

Human Resources

Information Technology Services 

Legal Counsel, Regulations and Administrative Hearings  
(Versión en Espańol)

Medical Administration Policy

Medical Administration Operations

Office of Public Affairs

Organizational and Skill Development

Quality Assurance


Social Work and Prevention Services

Strategic Planning

Attached to the Department for Administrative Purposes  

As of July 1, 2011, the newly-created Bureau of Rehabilitative Services is involved in an agency consolidation with the Board of Education and Services for the Blind, the Commission on the Deaf and Hearing Impaired, the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, part of the Department of Social Services and part of the Workers Compensation Commission.  

The Bureau of Rehabilitative Services is attached to the Department of Social Services for administrative purposes only.  While the transition is taking place, please continue to check back at www.ct.gov/brs for up-to-date information before a new, consolidated website is launched in the near future.

Committees of Which the Commissioner is a Member by Statute, or Has Appointing Authority

Advisory Committee on Continuing Care
Established under section 17b-535 of the General Statutes, the advisory committee’s role is to report to the commissioner on developments in the field of Continuing Care Residential Communities, including special problems associated with continuing care, concerns of providers and residents and, as appropriate, to recommend changes in relevant statutes and regulations.

      January 18, 2013 Meeting Agenda

Commission on Aging
Established under section 17b-420 of the General Statutes, the commission is charged with advocating on behalf of elderly persons on issues and programs of concern to the elderly including, but not limited to, health care, nutrition, housing, employment, transportation, legal assistance and economic security. The Commissioner of DSS is a non-voting ex- officio member. Pamela Giannini, Director of the Bureau of Aging, Community and Social Work Services, is the Commissioner’s designee to attend.

Commission on Children
Established under section 46a-126 of the General Statutes, the commission is charged with reviewing all matters concerning children, and by law must meet at least twice a year with the Commissioner of DSS. The Commissioner is a non-voting ex-officio member. Sylvia Gafford-Alexander, Project Director, is the Commissioner’s designee.

Purchase of Service Task Force
Established by Public Act 92-123, the task force was to establish uniform procedures for the purchase of program services. The commissioner is a full member. Kathy Brennan, Manager of Contracts Administration, is the commissioner’s designee.

Teacher’s Retirement Board
Section 10-183l of the General Statutes establishes a Teacher’s Retirement Board that is charged with managing the teacher’s retirement system. The Commissioner is a full member, ex-officio. Note that we are proposing legislation to remove the commissioner from the board.

Commission for Child Support Guidelines
Section 46b-215a of the General Statutes establishes the commission. The charge of the commission is to establish criteria for the establishment of guidelines to ensure the appropriateness of child support awards and to issue guidelines every four years. 

Family Support Council
Public Act 94-228 established the Family Support Council to assist the Department of Mental Retardation (Now the Department of Developmental Services) and other involved state agencies to establish a comprehensive and coordinated system of family support services. The Commissioner is a full member. Leslie Burkhart, Program Manager for the Adult Support and Disability Team in Adult Services, is the Commissioner’s designee.

The Statewide Advisory Council

Overview: Section 3 of Public Act 93-262 states that the commissioner shall establish a state-wide advisory council. The statute does not specify the purpose or the makeup of the Council. As currently constituted, the purpose of the Statewide Advisory Council is “to consult with and advise the Commissioner of Social Services on the development and delivery of human services for Connecticut families and individuals who need assistance in maintaining or achieving their full potential for self-direction, self-reliance and independent living.” The Council also is to serve as a forum among front-line community-based workers for the discussion of human service needs and issues affecting Connecticut Citizens.

Organization: The Council currently consists of 33 members reflecting the many different constituencies involved in the human services programs administered by the department. The members are selected and appointed by the commissioner, and the Council chair is appointed by the commissioner. The Council elected a vice-chair to preside when the chair is not there. There are three sub-committees, Poverty, Health Care, and Housing and Community Development. The Council and the sub-committees are staffed by the Office of Strategic Planning.

The current responsibilities of the Council are to:

1. provide ongoing feedback on the impact of the department’s policies, programs, and service delivery on affected consumers;

2. identify service delivery gaps and changing service needs;
advocate on behalf of Connecticut families and individual consumers, with legislative and other governmental entities to assure quality and comprehensive services;

3. increase the capacity of the department to collaborate and plan with other human service agencies to maximize the utilization of existing resources;

4. inform and educate community constituents and consumers about existing or proposed departmental programs, policies and activities; and,

5. review, comment and make formal recommendations on departmental initiatives, as appropriate.

Connecticut Council for Persons with Disabilities (CCPWD)

Pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes 17b-606(b), the CCPWD was established. Its purpose is to advise the Department in its implementation of services to persons with physical and mental disabilities. The Council has 17 members, the majority of whom are persons with disabilities. It is staffed by the Department of Social Services Social Work Division.

Content Last Modified on 11/10/2014 2:36:03 PM