A federal judge will begin hearing arguments today on the state’s desire to end two decades of federal oversight of the Department of Children and Families.

State officials argue they’ve made significant progress in placing children, but children’s advocacy groups are asking the court to maintain the its oversight.

The Center for Children’s Advocacy, CT Voices for Children, Connecticut Legal Services, and New Haven Legal Assistance Association filed a friend of the court brief which says almost one in four children in DCF custody do not live with a family.

They say the primary reason for the grid-lock in placing children is DCF’s failure to recruit and retain a sufficient number of foster homes. It will argue the federal government should maintain oversight.

DCF argues it has met every measure included in the original consent decree and is meeting the needs of abused and neglected children in its care.

A court monitor issued a report last week saying DCF met the needs of children in its care in 28 of the 52 cases reviewed by the monitor. The report found this was a decrease of 67.3 percent in the first quarter of 2010. The report also found 475 children were placed in residential facilities, a decrease of 30 children from the last quarter. However the number of children placed in out-of-state residential facilities increased by 285.

Arguments begin at 10 a.m. in U.S. District Court in Hartford.