Police: DCF social worker arrested after sneaking client and child out of building to avoid arrest

Melisa Roberson, a Department of Children and Families social worker, was arrested by Hartford police Friday for hindering the arrest of her client, who had a felony arrest warrant, police said.

Melisa Roberson, a Department of Children and Families social worker, was arrested by Hartford police Friday for hindering the arrest of her client, who had a felony arrest warrant, police said.

Hartford Police Department / Contributed Photo

HARTFORD — A social worker with the state Department of Children and Families was arrested Friday on a charge of hindering the arrest of a client who was facing a felony arrest warrant on charges related to child sex trafficking, police say.

The employee, Melisa Roberson, 43, helped a woman and her 4-year-old daughter sneak out of an office in Hartford through a rear exit and drove her to another location after informing the woman that police were looking for her, Hartford police said in a statement issued Saturday.

Through DCF administration, Roberson was persuaded to return to the office at 250 Hamilton St., where she was immediately taken into custody, police said.

DCF Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes said Saturday the agency cooperated with police and said an internal investigation will be conducted alongside the criminal investigation.

“Our administration is built on trust — with the children and families we serve, community partners and members of the public - with whom we engage on a daily basis,” Dorantes said in the statement. “We remain committed to holding ourselves accountable in a transparent manner, and a human resources investigation has commenced.

Due to the pending criminal and internal investigations, Dorantes declined to comment further.

The woman who sneaked out, whose identity was not disclosed, also returned to the facility where she was placed in custody on the felony arrest warrant, police said. The 4-year-old child was safely returned to the foster parent, police said.

Roberson was charged with first-degree hindering prosecution and risk of injury to a minor, Hartford police said in a statement.

Police said they went to the DCF office at 4:11 p.m. Friday after learning that an individual there was the subject of an active felony arrest warrant. Officers determined that the woman wanted on the arrest warrant was in the building, but they were refused assistance by staff, according to police.

While police were investigating, the social worker fled the scene with the client and the 4-year-old child, police said.

Police said the woman was allowed supervised visits with her child only at the DCF facility, and that Roberson was aware that the woman’s parental rights had been removed due to the investigation of suspected child sexual abuse and trafficking.

An investigation of the incident was continuing, police said.

austin.mirmina@hearstmediact.com