Paws for Kids with Department of Children & Families

Here is Renee's interview with Diane Rosell, Program Supervisor for the Department of Children and Families.

They chat about Paws for Kids, a program dedicated to establishing Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI) for DCF children who have experienced trauma.

Listen below for the complete interview!

There is a plethora of research on the positive outcomes of Animal Assisted interventions (i.e. equine therapy, pet therapy) in numerous settings:

  • Helping to reduce anxiety and stress in children (i.e. testifying in court, comfort in therapeutic and medical situations);
  • Helping to teach children responsibility and improve self-esteem;
  • Helping to increase confidence in children learning to read; and
  • Assisting children with physical disabilities or children on the autism spectrum (especially with equine therapy, the rhythmic movement of the horse helps riders posture, mobility, and balance).

Research also shows that Animal Assisted Interventions assist others in need and is used in a variety of settings including senior centers, prisons, and hospitals:

AAI has been shown to reduce the effects of dementia and loneliness in seniors;

AAI has provided comfort and companionship to veterans with PTSD; and

AAI assists prisoners to inspire empathy and help with anxiety and depression.

Through collaboration with animal advocacy community, Paws for Kids aims to develop and implement work in the following 6 core areas:

  1. New program development of an AAI credentialed service;
  2. Support of existing AAI services in CT;
  3. Education for DCF staff (cross reporting/AAI) and animal advocacy community (cross reporting/working with DCF);
  4. Marketing and Communication – for new and existing services;
  5. Cross Reporting – expanding our partnership with the Department of Agriculture; and
  6. Evaluation – how we know that our work is successful.

For more information on Paws for Kids, visit:


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