Substitute House Bill No. 5782

Public Act No. 00-76

An Act Concerning Probate Matters.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 45a-596 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) The [surviving] parent of [any] an unmarried minor, except a parent who has been removed as guardian of the person of the minor, may by will or other writing signed by the parent and attested by at least two witnesses appoint a person or persons as guardian or coguardians of the person of such minor, [a] as guardian or coguardians of the estate, or both, to serve if the parents who are guardians of the minor are dead. If two or more instruments, whether by will or other writing, contain an appointment, the latest effective appointment made by the last surviving parent has priority. Such appointment shall not supersede the previous appointment of a guardian made by the court of probate having jurisdiction.

(b) The ward of such a [testamentary] guardian may, when he or she is over the age of twelve, apply to the court of probate in which such ward resides, for the substitution of a guardian or coguardians of [his] the person to supersede the [testamentary] appointed guardian. The court of probate may, upon such application and hearing, substitute [such] the guardian or coguardians chosen by [such] the ward to be the guardian or coguardians of the person of the ward after consideration of the standards set forth in section 45a-617.

(c) A parental appointment becomes effective when the guardian's written acceptance is filed in the court in which the nominating instrument is probated, or, in the case of a nontestamentary nominating instrument, in the court for the probate district where the minor resides. Any guardian or coguardians appointed pursuant to this section shall receive the [trust] appointment subject to the control of the court of probate [as specified in this section] and subject to the provisions and restrictions to which the [trust] last surviving parent, as guardian, was subject [in the hands of the parent] at the time of [his] such parent's decease. [A guardian or coguardians of the person shall furnish a written acceptance of guardianship and, if] If the court deems it necessary for the protection of the minor, a guardian or coguardians of the person shall furnish a probate bond. A guardian or coguardians of the estate shall furnish a probate bond. Upon such acceptance of guardianship or furnishing such bond, [such] the guardian or coguardians shall have the same power over the person and estate of such minor as guardians appointed by the court of probate.

Sec. 2. Subsection (g) of section 45a-92 of the general statutes, as amended by section 12 of public act 99-84, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(g) Upon the completion of each calendar year, and in any event on or before the first day of [March] April of the succeeding calendar year, each person required to make payment under this section shall make a report signed under penalty of false statement to the Probate Court Administrator, upon forms prescribed by and subject to regulations promulgated by the administrator, of the following: (1) The gross income received by virtue of such office; (2) actual expenses incurred in connection with the office; (3) the net income of such office prior to the payment of the assessment instalments hereinbefore provided; (4) the amount paid during the preceding calendar year to the State Treasurer on account of the foregoing estimate; and (5) the amount of the difference, if any, between the amount so paid and the amount actually due. This report shall be open to public inspection.

Sec. 3. Section 17a-11 of the general statutes, as amended by section 18 of public act 99-26, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) The commissioner may, in his discretion, admit to the department on a voluntary basis any child or youth who, in his opinion, could benefit from any of the services offered or administered by, or under contract with, or otherwise available to, the department. Application for voluntary admission shall be made in writing by the parent or guardian of a child under fourteen years of age or by such person himself if he is a child fourteen years of age or older or a youth.

(b) A child or youth voluntarily admitted to the department shall be deemed to be within the care of the commissioner until such admission is terminated. The commissioner shall terminate the admission of any child or youth voluntarily admitted to the department within ten days after receipt of a written request for termination from a parent or guardian of any child under fourteen or from a child if fourteen years of age or over, or youth, unless prior to the expiration of that time the commissioner has sought and received from the Superior Court an order of temporary custody as provided by law. The commissioner may terminate the admission of any child or youth voluntarily admitted to the department after giving reasonable notice in writing to the parent or guardian of any child under fourteen years of age and to a child over fourteen, and to any youth. Any child or youth admitted voluntarily to the department may be placed in, or transferred to, any resource, facility or institution within the department or available to the commissioner except Long Lane School*, provided the commissioner shall give written notice to such child or youth and to the parent or guardian of the child of his intention to make a transfer at least ten days prior to any actual transfer, unless written notice is waived by those entitled to receive it, or unless an emergency commitment of such child is made pursuant to section 17a-502.

(c) Not more than one hundred twenty days after admitting a child or youth on a voluntary basis, the department shall petition the probate court for the district in which a parent or guardian of the child or youth resides for a determination as to whether continuation in care is in the child's best interest and, if so, whether there is an appropriate case service plan. Upon receipt of such application, the court shall set a time and place for hearing to be held within thirty days of receipt of the application, unless continued by the court for cause shown. The court shall order notice of the hearing to be given by regular mail at least five days prior to the hearing to the Commissioner of Children and Families, and by certified mail, return receipt requested, at least five days prior to the hearing to the parents or guardian of the child and the minor, if over twelve years of age. If the whereabouts of the parent or guardian are unknown, or if delivery cannot reasonably be effected, then notice shall be ordered to be given by publication. In making its determination the court shall consider the items specified in subsection (d) of this section. The court shall possess continuing jurisdiction in proceedings under this section and shall conduct a further dispositional hearing whenever it deems necessary or desirable, but at least every twelve months.

(d) Not more than twelve months after a child or youth is admitted to the department on a voluntary basis, the commissioner shall file a motion in the probate court [for the district in which a parent or guardian of the child or youth resides] requesting a dispositional hearing on the status of the child or youth. Upon receipt of such motion, the court shall set a time and place for hearing to be held within thirty days of receipt of the motion, unless continued by the court for cause shown. The court shall order notice of the hearing to be given in accordance with subsection (c) of this section. At the dispositional hearing, all parties shall be heard and oral or written reports, containing recommendations as to the best interests of the child or youth may be presented. In determining its order of disposition, the court shall consider among other things: (1) The appropriateness of the department's plan for service to the child or youth and his family; (2) the treatment and support services that have been offered and provided to the child or youth to strengthen and reunite the family; (3) if return home is not likely for the child or youth, the efforts that have been made or should be made to evaluate and plan for other modes of care; and (4) any further efforts which have been or will be made to promote the best interests of the child or youth. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court shall, in accordance with the best interests of the child or youth, enter an appropriate order of disposition. The order may: (A) Direct that the services being provided, or the placement of the child or youth and reunification efforts, be continued if the court, after hearing, determines that continuation of the child or youth in services or placement is in the child or youth's best interests or (B) direct that the child or youth's services or placement be modified to reflect the child or youth's best interest. [The court shall possess continuing jurisdiction in proceedings under this section and shall conduct a further dispositional hearing whenever it deems necessary or desirable, but at least every twelve months.]

(e) The commissioner shall adopt regulations in accordance with chapter 54 describing the documentation required for voluntary admission and for informal administrative case review, upon request, of any denial of an application for voluntary admission.

(f) Any person aggrieved by a decision of the commissioner denying voluntary services may appeal such decision through an administrative hearing held pursuant to chapter 54.

(g) Notwithstanding any provision of sections 17a-1 to 17a-26, inclusive, and 17a-28 to 17a-49, inclusive, to the contrary, any person already under the care and supervision of the Commissioner of Children and Families who has passed his eighteenth birthday but has not yet reached his twenty-first birthday, may be permitted to remain voluntarily under the supervision of the commissioner, provided said commissioner, in his discretion determines that such person would benefit from further care and support from the Department of Children and Families.

(h) Upon motion of any interested party in a probate court proceeding under this section, the probate court of record may transfer the file for cause shown to a probate court for a district other than the district in which the initial or dispositional hearing was held. The file shall be transferred by the probate court of record making copies of all recorded documents in the court file, certifying each of them, and delivering the certified copies to the probate court to which the matter is transferred.

Approved May 16, 2000