CHAPTER 319a
CHILD WELFARE

Table of Contents

Sec. 17a-93. (Formerly Sec. 17-32d). Definitions.
Sec. 17a-101e. Employers prohibited from discrimination against witness in child abuse proceeding. Penalty. Immunity for making report of child abuse in good faith. False report of child abuse. Penalty.
Sec. 17a-101g. Classification and evaluation of reports. Determination of abuse or neglect of child. Investigation. Notice, entry of recommended finding. Referral to local law enforcement authority. Home visit. Removal of child in imminent risk of harm.
Sec. 17a-101i. Abuse of child by school employee or staff member of public or private institution or facility providing care for children. Suspension. Notification of state's attorney re conviction. Boards of education to adopt written policy re reporting of child abuse by school employee.
Sec. 17a-101k. Registry of findings of abuse or neglect of children maintained by Commissioner of Children and Families. Notice of finding of abuse or neglect of child. Appeal of finding. Hearing procedure. Appeal after hearing. Confidentiality. Regulations.
Sec. 17a-106c. Family Violence Coordinating Council. Members. Responsibilities.
Sec. 17a-112. (Formerly Sec. 17-43a). Termination of parental rights of child committed to commissioner. Cooperative postadoption agreements. Placement of child from another state. Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.
Sec. 17a-114. (Formerly Sec. 17-43c). Licensing of persons for child placement; exemption. Special study foster parents. Criminal history records checks. Regulations.
Sec. 17a-125. Out-of-Home Placements Advisory Council.
Sec. 17a-126. Subsidy for relative caregivers.
Sec. 17a-145. (Formerly Sec. 17-48). Licensing of child-care facilities. Annual report. Change in facility, institution or home population.

PART I
DEPENDENT AND NEGLECTED CHILDREN

      Sec. 17a-93. (Formerly Sec. 17-32d). Definitions. As used in sections 17a-90 to 17a-124, inclusive, and 17a-152:

      (a) "Child" means any person under eighteen years of age, except as otherwise specified, or any person under twenty-one years of age who is in full-time attendance in a secondary school, a technical school, a college or a state-accredited job training program;

      (b) "Parent" means natural or adoptive parent;

      (c) "Adoption" means the establishment by court order of the legal relationship of parent and child;

      (d) "Guardianship" means guardianship, unless otherwise specified, of the person of a minor and refers to the obligation of care and control, the right to custody and the duty and authority to make major decisions affecting such minor's welfare, including, but not limited to, consent determinations regarding marriage, enlistment in the armed forces and major medical, psychiatric or surgical treatment;

      (e) "Termination of parental rights" means the complete severance by court order of the legal relationship, with all its rights and responsibilities, between the child and his parent or parents so that the child is free for adoption except it shall not affect the right of inheritance of such child or the religious affiliation of such child;

      (f) "Statutory parent" means the Commissioner of Children and Families or that child-placing agency appointed by the court for the purpose of giving a minor child or minor children in adoption;

      (g) "Child-placing agency" means any agency within or without the state of Connecticut licensed or approved by the Commissioner of Children and Families in accordance with sections 17a-149 and 17a-151, and in accordance with such standards which shall be established by regulations of the Department of Children and Families;

      (h) "Child care facility" means a congregate residential setting licensed by the Department of Children and Families for the out-of-home placement of children or youth under eighteen years of age, or any person under twenty-one years of age who is in full-time attendance in a secondary school, a technical school, a college or state accredited job training program and was placed in a congregate residential setting prior to such person's eighteenth birthday;

      (i) "Protective supervision" means a status created by court order following adjudication of neglect whereby a child's place of abode is not changed but assistance directed at correcting the neglect is provided at the request of the court through the Department of Children and Families or such other social agency as the court may specify;

      (j) "Receiving home" means a facility operated by the Department of Children and Families to receive and temporarily care for children in the guardianship or care of the commissioner;

      (k) "Protective services" means public welfare services provided after complaints of abuse, neglect or abandonment, but in the absence of an adjudication or assumption of jurisdiction by a court;

      (l) "Person responsible for the health, welfare or care of a child or youth" means a child's or a youth's parent, guardian or foster parent; an employee of a public or private residential home, agency or institution or other person legally responsible in a residential setting; or any staff person providing out-of-home care, including center-based child day care, family day care or group day care, as defined in section 19a-77;

      (m) "Foster family" means a person or persons, licensed or certified by the Department of Children and Families or approved by a licensed child-placing agency, for the care of a child or children in a private home;

      (n) "Prospective adoptive family" means a person or persons, licensed by the Department of Children and Families or approved by a licensed child-placing agency, who is awaiting the placement of, or who has a child or children placed in their home for the purposes of adoption;

      (o) "Person entrusted with the care of a child or youth" means a person given access to a child or youth by a person responsible for the health, welfare or care of a child or youth for the purpose of providing education, child care, counseling, spiritual guidance, coaching, training, instruction, tutoring or mentoring of such child or youth.

      (P.A. 75-420, S. 4, 6; 75-567, S. 39, 80; P.A. 77-614, S. 521, 610; P.A. 79-631, S. 53, 111; P.A. 90-53; P.A. 92-14, S. 2; P.A. 93-91, S. 1, 2; P.A. 95-349, S. 2; P.A. 02-138, S. 11; P.A. 05-280, S. 43.)

      History: P.A. 75-420 allowed substitution of commissioner and department of social services for welfare commissioner and department in section created by P.A. 75-567; P.A. 77-614 replaced commissioner and department of social services with commissioner and department of human resources, effective January 1, 1979; P.A. 79-631 replaced commissioner and department of human resources with commissioner and department of children and youth services; P.A. 90-53 added Subdiv. (l) defining "person responsible for the health, welfare or care of a child or youth"; Sec. 17-32d transferred to Sec. 17a-93 in 1991; P.A. 92-14 amended Subsec. (l) by adding the words "center-based" and "as defined in section 19a-77"; P.A. 93-91 substituted commissioner and department of children and families for commissioner and department of children and youth services, effective July 1, 1993; P.A. 95-349 amended Subsec. (h) by replacing "child care agency" definition with "child care facility" definition and added Subsecs. (m) and (n), defining "foster family" and "prospective adoptive family"; P.A. 02-138 added Subsec. (o) defining "person entrusted with the care of a child or youth"; P.A. 05-280 amended Subsec. (h) by redefining "child care facility" to include certain out-of-home placements providing educational or vocational programs to persons under twenty-one years of age, effective July 13, 2005.

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      Sec. 17a-101e. Employers prohibited from discrimination against witness in child abuse proceeding. Penalty. Immunity for making report of child abuse in good faith. False report of child abuse. Penalty.

      Subsec. (b):

      Physician who performs medical examination at department's request to determine whether reasonable cause exists to suspect child abuse is entitled to immunity under subsec. for claims arising from that determination, but not for diagnosis or treatment of any underlying injuries. 272 C. 410.

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      Sec. 17a-101g. Classification and evaluation of reports. Determination of abuse or neglect of child. Investigation. Notice, entry of recommended finding. Referral to local law enforcement authority. Home visit. Removal of child in imminent risk of harm. (a) Upon receiving a report of child abuse or neglect, as provided in sections 17a-101a to 17a-101c, inclusive, or section 17a-103, in which the alleged perpetrator is (1) a person responsible for such child's health, welfare or care, (2) a person given access to such child by such responsible person, or (3) a person entrusted with the care of a child, the Commissioner of Children and Families, or the commissioner's designee, shall cause the report to be classified and evaluated immediately. If the report contains sufficient information to warrant an investigation, the commissioner shall make the commissioner's best efforts to commence an investigation of a report concerning an imminent risk of physical harm to a child or other emergency within two hours of receipt of the report and shall commence an investigation of all other reports within seventy-two hours of receipt of the report. The department shall complete any such investigation not later than forty-five calendar days after the date of receipt of the report. If the report is a report of child abuse or neglect in which the alleged perpetrator is not a person specified in subdivision (1), (2) or (3) of this subsection, the Commissioner of Children and Families shall refer the report to the appropriate local law enforcement authority for the town in which the child resides or in which the alleged abuse or neglect occurred.

      (b) The investigation shall include a home visit at which the child and any siblings are observed, if appropriate, a determination of the nature, extent and cause or causes of the reported abuse or neglect, a determination of the person or persons suspected to be responsible for such abuse or neglect, the name, age and condition of other children residing in the same household and an evaluation of the parents and the home. The report of such investigation shall be in writing. The investigation shall also include, but not be limited to, a review of criminal conviction information concerning the person or persons alleged to be responsible for such abuse or neglect and previous allegations of abuse or neglect relating to the child or other children residing in the household or relating to family violence. After an investigation into a report of abuse or neglect has been completed, the commissioner shall determine, based upon a standard of reasonable cause, whether a child has been abused or neglected, as defined in section 46b-120. If the commissioner determines that abuse or neglect has occurred, the commissioner shall also determine whether: (1) There is an identifiable person responsible for such abuse or neglect; and (2) such identifiable person poses a risk to the health, safety or well-being of children and should be recommended by the commissioner for placement on the child abuse and neglect registry established pursuant to section 17a-101k. If the commissioner has made the determinations in subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection, the commissioner shall issue notice of a recommended finding to the person suspected to be responsible for such abuse or neglect in accordance with section 17a-101k.

      (c) Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, no entry of the recommended finding shall be made on the child abuse or neglect registry and no information concerning the finding shall be disclosed by the commissioner pursuant to a check of the child abuse or neglect registry or request for information by a public or private entity for employment, licensure, or reimbursement for child care purposes pursuant to programs administered by the Department of Social Services or pursuant to any other general statute that requires a check of the child abuse or neglect registry until the exhaustion or waiver of all administrative appeals available to the person suspected to be responsible for the abuse or neglect, as provided in section 17a-101k.

      (d) If the child abuse or neglect resulted in or involves (1) the death of a child; (2) the risk of serious physical injury or emotional harm of a child; (3) the serious physical harm of a child; (4) the arrest of a person due to abuse or neglect of a child; (5) a petition filed by the commissioner pursuant to section 17a-112 or 46b-129; or (6) sexual abuse of a child, entry of the recommended finding may be made on the child abuse or neglect registry and information concerning the finding may be disclosed by the commissioner pursuant to a check of the child abuse or neglect registry or request for information by a public or private entity for employment, licensure, or reimbursement for child care purposes pursuant to programs administered by the Department of Social Services or pursuant to any other general statute that requires a check of the child abuse or neglect registry, prior to the exhaustion or waiver of all administrative appeals available to the person suspected to be responsible for the abuse or neglect as provided in section 17a-101k.

      (e) If the Commissioner of Children and Families, or the commissioner's designee, has probable cause to believe that the child or any other child in the household is in imminent risk of physical harm from the child's surroundings and that immediate removal from such surroundings is necessary to ensure the child's safety, the commissioner, or the commissioner's designee, shall authorize any employee of the department or any law enforcement officer to remove the child and any other child similarly situated from such surroundings without the consent of the child's parent or guardian. The commissioner shall record in writing the reasons for such removal and include such record with the report of the investigation conducted under subsection (b) of this section.

      (f) The removal of a child pursuant to subsection (e) of this section shall not exceed ninety-six hours. During the period of such removal, the commissioner, or the commissioner's designee, shall provide the child with all necessary care, including medical care, which may include an examination by a physician or mental health professional with or without the consent of the child's parents, guardian or other person responsible for the child's care, provided reasonable attempts have been made to obtain consent of the child's parents or guardian or other person responsible for the care of such child. During the course of a medical examination, a physician may perform diagnostic tests and procedures necessary for the detection of child abuse or neglect. If the child is not returned home within such ninety-six-hour period, with or without protective services, the department shall proceed in accordance with section 46b-129.

      (P.A. 96-246, S. 9; P.A. 97-319, S. 13, 22; P.A. 02-138, S. 15; P.A. 05-35, S. 1; 05-207, S. 2.)

      History: P.A. 97-319 amended Subsec. (a) by deleting reference to "section 17a-101b" and substituting reference to reports made under Secs. 17a-101a to 17a-101c, inclusive, and Sec. 17a-103 and made technical changes, effective July 1, 1997; P.A. 02-138 amended Subsec. (a) to include receipt of a report of child "neglect", make provisions re the commissioner's classification, evaluation and investigation of a report applicable if the report is one "in which the alleged perpetrator is (1) a person responsible for such child's health, welfare or care, (2) a person given access to such child by such responsible person, or (3) a person entrusted with the care of a child", add provision requiring the commissioner to refer the report to the local law enforcement authority if the alleged perpetrator is not a person specified in Subdiv. (1), (2) or (3) and make technical changes for purposes of gender neutrality; P.A. 05-35 amended Subsec. (a) to extend the time frame for department to complete an investigation re report of child abuse or neglect from within thirty calendar days to not later than forty-five calendar days after the date of receipt of the report; P.A. 05-207 required Commissioner of Children and Families to make determination whether a child has been abused or neglected and specified actions to be taken by commissioner if such determination was made in Subsec. (b), specified confidentiality requirements re findings in new Subsec. (c), specified exceptions to disclosure limitations in new Subsec. (d), redesignated existing Subsecs. (c) and (d) as Subsecs. (e) and (f) and made technical changes, effective December 1, 2005.

      Subsec. (c):

      Does not require commissioner to remove a child upon finding of probable cause, but merely authorizes commissioner to seek removal under such circumstances. 272 C. 734. Is directory and not mandatory and does not require commissioner to invoke ninety-six-hour hold, but grants commissioner discretion to choose the most appropriate remedy in any given case. Even if commissioner determines that probable cause exists and removal is necessary, the authorized employee or law enforcement officer is not statutorily required to remove child. Id.

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      Sec. 17a-101i. Abuse of child by school employee or staff member of public or private institution or facility providing care for children. Suspension. Notification of state's attorney re conviction. Boards of education to adopt written policy re reporting of child abuse by school employee. (a) Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes, after an investigation has been completed and the Commissioner of Children and Families, based upon the results of the investigation, has reasonable cause to believe that a child has been abused by a school employee who holds a certificate, permit or authorization issued by the State Board of Education, and the commissioner has recommended that such employee be placed on the child abuse and neglect registry established pursuant to section 17a-101k, the commissioner shall, not later than five working days after such finding, notify the employing superintendent of such finding and shall provide records, whether or not created by the department, concerning such investigation to the superintendent who shall suspend such school employee. The commissioner shall provide such notice whether or not the child was a student in the employing school or school district. Such suspension shall be with pay and shall not result in the diminution or termination of benefits to such employee. Within seventy-two hours after such suspension the superintendent shall notify the local or regional board of education and the Commissioner of Education, or the commissioner's representative, of the reasons for and conditions of the suspension. The superintendent shall disclose such records to the Commissioner of Education and the local or regional board of education or its attorney for purposes of review of employment status or the status of such employee's certificate, permit or authorization. The suspension of a school employee employed in a position requiring a certificate shall remain in effect until the board of education acts pursuant to the provisions of section 10-151. If the contract of employment of such certified school employee is terminated, the superintendent shall notify the Commissioner of Education, or the commissioner's representative, within seventy-two hours after such termination. Upon receipt of such notice from the superintendent, the Commissioner of Education may commence certification revocation proceedings pursuant to the provisions of subsection (m) of section 10-145b. Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 1-210 and 1-211, information received by the Commissioner of Education, or the commissioner's representative, pursuant to this section shall be confidential subject to regulations adopted by the State Board of Education under section 10-145g.

      (b) After an investigation has been completed and the Commissioner of Children and Families, based upon the results of the investigation, has reasonable cause to believe that a child has been abused by a staff member of a public or private institution or facility providing care for children or private school, the commissioner shall notify the executive director of such institution, school or facility and shall provide records, whether or not created by the department concerning such investigation to such executive director. Such institution, school or facility may suspend such staff person. Such suspension shall be with pay and shall not result in diminution or termination of benefits to such employee. Such suspension shall remain in effect until the incident of abuse has been satisfactorily resolved by the employer of the staff person. If such staff member has a professional license or certificate issued by the state or a permit or authorization issued by the State Board of Education, the commissioner shall forthwith notify the state agency responsible for issuing such license, certificate, permit or authorization to the staff member and provide records, whether or not created by the department, concerning such investigation.

      (c) If a school employee or any person holding a certificate, permit or authorization issued by the State Board of Education under the provisions of sections 10-144o to 10-149, inclusive, is convicted of a crime involving an act of child abuse or neglect as described in section 46b-120 or a violation of section 53-21, 53a-71 or 53a-73a, the state's attorney for the judicial district in which the conviction occurred shall in writing notify the superintendent of the school district or the supervisory agent of the nonpublic school in which the person is employed and the Commissioner of Education of such conviction.

      (d) For the purposes of receiving and making reports, notifying and receiving notification, or investigating, pursuant to the provisions of sections 17a-101a to 17a-101h, inclusive, and 17a-103, a superintendent of a school district or a supervisory agent of a nonpublic school may assign a designee to act on such superintendent's or agent's behalf.

      (e) On or before February 1, 1997, each local and regional board of education shall adopt a written policy regarding the reporting by school employees of suspected child abuse in accordance with sections 17a-101a to 17a-101d, inclusive, and 17a-103.

      (P.A. 96-245, S. 11; P.A. 97-319, S. 14, 22; P.A. 00-220, S. 30, 43; P.A. 01-142, S. 5; 01-173, S. 43, 44, 67; P.A. 03-168, S. 7; P.A. 05-246, S. 17; 05-257, S. 2.)

      History: P.A. 97-319 amended Subsecs. (a) and (b) by adding provisions re notification by the commissioner to the superintendent or executive director of finding of abuse by employee and by adding provisions re disclosure of records, effective July 1, 1997; P.A. 00-220 amended Subsecs. (a) and (c) to expand the applicability of section to include school employees who hold permits or authorizations, made conforming and technical changes in Subsec. (a) and added reference re violation of Sec. 53-21 in Subsec. (c), effective July 1, 2000; P.A. 01-142 amended Subsec. (b) by adding provision re notification by commissioner of state agency issuing professional license to any staff member of investigation of such staff member re abuse of child; P.A. 01-173 amended Subsecs. (a) and (d) to make technical changes for purposes of gender neutrality, effective July 1, 2001; P.A. 03-168 amended Subsec. (b) to expand references to certification to include permits and authorizations issued by the State Board of Education, effective July 1, 2003; P.A. 05-246 added provision re commissioner's recommending that school employee be placed on child abuse and neglect registry in Subsec. (a), effective January 1, 2006; P.A. 05-257 amended Subsec. (a) by making a technical change, by limiting time for notification to not later than five working days after finding and by requiring commissioner to provide notice regardless of whether child was a student in employing school or district, effective January 1, 2006.

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      Sec. 17a-101k. Registry of findings of abuse or neglect of children maintained by Commissioner of Children and Families. Notice of finding of abuse or neglect of child. Appeal of finding. Hearing procedure. Appeal after hearing. Confidentiality. Regulations. (a) The Commissioner of Children and Families shall maintain a registry of the commissioner's findings of abuse or neglect of children pursuant to section 17a-101g that conforms to the requirements of this section. The regulations adopted pursuant to subsection (i) of this section shall provide for the use of the registry on a twenty-four-hour daily basis to prevent or discover abuse of children and the establishment of a hearing process for any appeal by a person of the commissioner's determination that such person is responsible for the abuse or neglect of a child pursuant to subsection (b) of section 17a-101g. The information contained in the registry and any other information relative to child abuse, wherever located, shall be confidential, subject to such statutes and regulations governing their use and access as shall conform to the requirements of federal law or regulations. Any violation of this section or the regulations adopted by the commissioner under this section shall be punishable by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars or imprisonment for not more than one year.

      (b) Upon the issuance of a recommended finding that an individual is responsible for abuse or neglect of a child pursuant to subsection (b) of section 17a-101g, the commissioner shall provide notice of the finding, by first class mail, not later than five business days after the issuance of such finding, to the individual who is alleged to be responsible for the abuse or neglect. The notice shall:

      (1) Contain a short and plain description of the finding that the individual is responsible for the abuse or neglect of a child;

      (2) Inform the individual of the existence of the registry and of the commissioner's intention to place the individual's name on the registry unless such individual exercises his or her right to appeal the recommended finding as provided in this section;

      (3) Inform the individual of the potential adverse consequences of being listed on the registry, including, but not limited to, the potential effect on the individual obtaining or retaining employment, licensure or engaging in activities involving direct contact with children and inform the individual of the individual's right to administrative procedures as provided in this section to appeal the finding; and

      (4) Include a written form for the individual to sign and return, indicating if the individual will invoke the appeal procedures provided in this section.

      (c) (1) Following a request for appeal, the commissioner or the commissioner's designee shall conduct an internal review of the recommended finding to be completed no later than thirty days after the request for appeal is received by the department. The commissioner or the commissioner's designee shall review all relevant information relating to the recommended finding, to determine whether the recommended finding is factually or legally deficient and ought to be reversed. Prior to the review, the commissioner shall provide the individual access to all relevant documents in the possession of the commissioner regarding the finding of responsibility for abuse or neglect of a child, as provided in subsection (m) of section 17a-28.

      (2) The individual or the individual's representative may submit any documentation that is relevant to a determination of the issue and may, at the discretion of the commissioner or the commissioner's designee, participate in a telephone conference or face-to-face meeting to be conducted for the purpose of gathering additional information that may be relevant to determining whether the recommended finding is factually or legally deficient.

      (3) If the commissioner or the commissioner's designee, as a result of the prehearing review, determines that the recommended finding of abuse or neglect is factually or legally deficient, the commissioner or the commissioner's designee shall so indicate, in writing, and shall reverse the recommended finding. The commissioner shall send notice to the individual by certified mail of the commissioner's decision to reverse or maintain the finding not later than five business days after the decision is made. If the finding is upheld, the notice shall be made in accordance with section 4-177 and shall notify the individual of the right to request a hearing. The individual may request a hearing not later than thirty days after receipt of the notice. The hearing shall be scheduled not later than thirty days after receipt by the commissioner of the request for a hearing, except for good cause shown by either party.

      (d) (1) The hearing procedure shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures for contested cases pursuant to sections 4-177 to 4-181a, inclusive.

      (2) At the hearing, the individual may be represented by legal counsel. The burden of proof shall be on the commissioner to prove that the finding is supported by a fair preponderance of the evidence submitted at the hearing.

      (3) Not later than thirty days after the conclusion of the hearing, the hearing officer shall issue a written decision to either reverse or uphold the finding. The decision shall contain findings of fact and a conclusion of law on each issue raised at the hearing.

      (e) Any individual aggrieved by the decision of the hearing officer may appeal the decision in accordance with section 4-183. Such individual may also seek a stay of the adverse decision of the hearing officer in accordance with subsection (f) of section 4-183.

      (f) Following the issuance of a decision to uphold the finding and absent any stay of that decision issued by the commissioner or the court, the commissioner shall accurately reflect the information concerning the finding in the child abuse and neglect registry maintained pursuant to subsection (a) of this section and shall, in accordance with section 17a-101g, forward to any agency or official the information required to be disclosed pursuant to any provision of the general statutes.

      (g) Any individual against whom a finding of abuse or neglect was substantiated prior to May 1, 2000, and who has not previously appealed such finding, may appeal such finding as provided in this section.

      (h) Records containing unsubstantiated findings shall remain sealed, except that such records shall be made available to department employees in the proper discharge of their duties and shall be expunged by the commissioner five years from the completion date of the investigation if no further report is made about the individual subject to the investigation, except that if the department receives more than one report on an individual and each report is unsubstantiated, all reports and information pertaining to the individual shall be expunged by the commissioner five years from the completion date of the most recent investigation.

      (i) Not later than July 1, 2006, the Commissioner of Children and Families shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, to implement the provisions of this section.

      (P.A. 96-246, S. 14; P.A. 97-319, S. 16, 22; June 18 Sp. Sess. P.A. 97-2, S. 142, 165; P.A. 01-142, S. 2; P.A. 05-207, S. 1.)

      History: P.A. 97-319 added reference to reports made under Sec. 17a-101k and made technical change, effective July 1, 1997 (Revisor's note: Existing provisions were designated editorially by the Revisors as Subsec. (a) and section 142 of June 18 Sp. Sess. P.A. 97-2, effective July 1, 1997, was added editorially as Subsec. (b)); P.A. 01-142 amended Subsec. (a) by adding provision requiring that regulations to implement section include establishment of hearing process for appeal by person of determination of commissioner that such person is responsible for the abuse or neglect of child; P.A. 05-207 required Commissioner of Children and Families to maintain registry of findings of child abuse or neglect, rather than of reports received, and made conforming and technical changes in Subsec. (a), added notice provisions in new Subsec. (b), specified appeal procedures in new Subsec. (c), specified hearing procedures in new Subsec. (d), specified procedure re hearing decision appeals and stays in new Subsec. (e), added provisions re information reflected in registry and required disclosure in new Subsec. (f), granted right to appeal re findings prior to May 1, 2000, in new Subsec. (g), specified confidentiality requirements in new Subsec. (h), required Commissioner of Children and Families to adopt regulations in new Subsec. (i) and deleted former Subsec. (b) re release of information to Commissioner of Social Services for use in evaluating temporary family assistance program.

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      Sec. 17a-106c. Family Violence Coordinating Council. Members. Responsibilities. Section 17a-106c is repealed, effective October 1, 2005.

      (P.A. 96-246, S. 25; P.A. 05-246, S. 18.)

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      Sec. 17a-112. (Formerly Sec. 17-43a). Termination of parental rights of child committed to commissioner. Cooperative postadoption agreements. Placement of child from another state. Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

      Use of clearly erroneous standard of review on appeal from a termination of parental rights proceeding does not deny respondent adequate procedural safeguards. 85 CA 528.

      Subsec. (j):

      Consideration of best interest of child comes after a determination that termination is warranted. 85 CA 528. Statutory requirements for termination of parental rights discussed; court properly concluded that commissioner had established, by clear and convincing evidence, that, despite parental skills training provided by department to parents, parents did not have ability to care for their daughters, either at time of termination proceedings or in the immediately foreseeable future. 90 CA 565. Legislature's choice of "clear and convincing evidence" standard of proof under subsec. does not violate due process provisions of state constitution; state constitution does not require court or legislature to equate terminations of parental rights with criminal convictions. Id.

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      Sec. 17a-114. (Formerly Sec. 17-43c). Licensing of persons for child placement; exemption. Special study foster parents. Criminal history records checks. Regulations. (a) As used in this section, "licensed" means a person holds a license issued by the Department of Children and Families to provide foster care, including foster care of a specific child, and "special study foster parent" means a person who is twenty-one years of age or older and who does not hold a license issued by the Department of Children and Families to provide foster care.

      (b) (1) No child in the custody of the Commissioner of Children and Families shall be placed with any person, unless such person is licensed for that purpose by the department or the Department of Mental Retardation pursuant to the provisions of section 17a-227, or such person's home is approved by a child placing agency licensed by the commissioner pursuant to section 17a-149. Any person licensed by the department may be a prospective adoptive parent. The commissioner shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, to establish the licensing procedures and standards.

      (2) The commissioner shall require each applicant for licensure pursuant to this section and any person sixteen years of age or older living in the household of such applicant to submit to state and national criminal history records checks prior to issuing a license to such applicant to accept placement of a child. Such criminal history records checks shall be conducted in accordance with section 29-17a. The commissioner shall also check the state child abuse registry established pursuant to section 17a-101k for the name of such applicant and for the name of any person sixteen years of age or older living in the household of such applicant.

      (c) Notwithstanding the requirements of subsection (b) of this section, the commissioner may place a child with a relative who is not licensed or, if the child is fourteen years of age or older, with a special study foster parent for a period of up to ninety days when such placement is in the best interests of the child, provided a satisfactory home visit is conducted, a basic assessment of the family is completed and such relative or special study foster parent attests that such relative or special study foster parent and any adult living within the household has not been convicted of a crime or arrested for a felony against a person, for injury or risk of injury to or impairing the morals of a child, or for the possession, use or sale of a controlled substance. Any such relative or special study foster parent who accepts placement of a child in excess of such ninety-day period shall be subject to licensure by the commissioner, except that any such relative who, prior to July 1, 2001, had been certified by the commissioner to provide care for a related child may continue to maintain such certification if such relative continues to meet the regulatory requirements and the child remains in such relative's care. The commissioner may grant a waiver from such procedure or standard, except any safety standard, for a child placed with a relative, on a case-by-case basis, from such procedure or standard, except any safety standard, based on the home of the relative and the needs and best interests of such child. The reason for any waiver granted shall be documented in writing. The commissioner shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, to establish certification procedures and standards for a caretaker who is a relative of such child.

      (P.A. 88-332, S. 1, 4; P.A. 93-91, S. 1, 2; P.A. 94-216, S. 2, 4; P.A. 99-166, S. 5; P.A. 01-70, S. 1, 2; 01-142, S. 11; 01-159, S. 4; P.A. 03-243, S. 7; P.A. 04-88, S. 1; P.A. 05-207, S. 6; 05-246, S. 12.)

      History: Sec. 17-43c transferred to Sec. 17a-114 in 1991; P.A. 93-91 substituted commissioner and department of children and families for commissioner and department of children and youth services, effective July 1, 1993; P.A. 94-216 required a relative to be licensed by the commissioner of children and families before having a child placed in his custody, required placements beyond such forty-five-day period to be subject to certification by the commissioner, and required the commissioner to adopt regulations to establish certification procedures for a caretaker who is a relative of such child, effective June 7, 1994; P.A. 99-166 amended Subsec. (a) by adding provision that any person licensed by department to accept placement of child is deemed to be licensed to accept placement as foster family or prospective adoptive family and provision re criminal records check by commissioner to be criminal records check requested from state police and FBI; P.A. 01-70 amended Subsec. (b) to allow commissioner to place a child with an unlicensed relative for a period of up to ninety days, in lieu of forty-five days, when such placement is in the best interests of the child, to delete requirement that placements with a relative beyond the forty-five-day period be subject to certification by commissioner, to require licensure for any such relative who accepts placement of a child in excess of the ninety-day period with an exception, and to authorize commissioner to grant a waiver, for a child placed with a relative, from a procedure or standard other than a safety standard based on relative's home and needs and best interests of the child, requiring that reason for any waiver granted be documented, effective July 1, 2001; P.A. 01-142 reinstated former Subsec. (b) re placements that was deleted by P.A. 01-159, including changes made by P.A. 01-70, and redesignated Subsec. (b) added by P.A. 01-159 as Subsec. (c); P.A. 01-159 amended Subsec. (a) by deleting provision re criminal records check, deleted existing Subsec. (b) re placements and added new Subsec. (b) re criminal history records checks; P.A. 03-243 amended Subsec. (a) by designating existing provisions as Subdiv. (1) and adding Subdiv. (2) re criminal history records checks and child abuse registry checks for applicants and persons sixteen or older living in household of applicants and deleted former Subsec. (c) re fingerprinting of applicants and criminal history records and child abuse registry checks; P.A. 04-88 added new Subsec. (a) defining "licensed" and "special study foster parent" for purposes of section, allowed commissioner to place children fourteen years of age or older with special study foster parents, required reasons for waivers to be in writing and redesignated existing Subsecs. (a) and (b) as new Subsecs. (b) and (c), respectively; P.A. 05-207 amended Subsec. (b)(2) to delete requirement that commissioner check state child abuse registry for perpetrator information; P.A. 05-246 amended Subsec. (b)(1) to require that persons be licensed by Department of Mental Retardation pursuant to Sec. 17a-227 or that person's home is approved by child placing agency licensed pursuant to Sec. 17a-149, effective July 8, 2005.

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      Sec. 17a-125. Out-of-Home Placements Advisory Council. Section 17a-125 is repealed, effective October 1, 2005.

      (P.A. 97-237, S. 2, 3; P.A. 03-278, S. 57, 121; P.A. 05-246, S. 18.)

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      Sec. 17a-126. Subsidy for relative caregivers. (a) As used in this section, "relative caregiver" means a person who is caring for a child related to such person because the parent of the child has died or become otherwise unable to care for the child for reasons that make reunification with the parent not a viable option within the foreseeable future and "commissioner" means the Commissioner of Children and Families.

      (b) The Commissioner of Children and Families shall establish a program of subsidized guardianship for the benefit of children in the care or custody of the commissioner who are living with relative caregivers and who have been in foster care or certified relative care for not less than eighteen months. The commissioner, within available appropriations, may establish a program of subsidized guardianship for the benefit of children in the care or custody of the commissioner who are living with relative caregivers and who have been in foster care or certified relative care for not less than six but not more than eighteen months. A relative caregiver may request a guardianship subsidy from the commissioner. If adoption of the child by the relative caregiver is an option, the commissioner shall counsel the caregiver about the advantages and disadvantages of adoption and subsidized guardianship so that the decision by the relative caregiver to request a subsidized guardianship may be a fully informed one.

      (c) The subsidized guardianship program shall provide the following subsidies for the benefit of any child in the care of a relative caregiver who has been appointed the guardian or coguardian of the child by any court of competent jurisdiction: (1) A special-need subsidy, which shall be a lump sum payment for one-time expenses resulting from the assumption of care of the child when no other resource is available to pay for such expense; and (2) a medical subsidy comparable to the medical subsidy to children in the subsidized adoption program if the child lacks private health insurance. The subsidized guardianship program shall also provide a monthly subsidy on behalf of the child payable to the relative caregiver that shall be equal to the prevailing foster care rate. The commissioner may establish an asset test for eligibility under the program.

      (d) The commissioner shall adopt regulations in accordance with chapter 54 implementing the subsidized guardianship program established under this section. Such regulations shall require, as a prerequisite to payment of a guardianship subsidy for the benefit of a minor child, that a home study report be filed with the court having jurisdiction of the case of the minor within fifteen days of the request for a subsidy, provided that no such report shall be required to be filed if a report has previously been provided to the court or if the caregiver has been determined to be a certified relative caregiver by the commissioner. The regulations shall also establish a procedure comparable to that for the subsidized adoption program to determine the types and amounts of subsidy to be granted by the commissioner as provided in subsection (c) of this section, for annual review of the subsidy as provided in subsection (e) of this section and for appeal from decisions by the commissioner denying, modifying or terminating such subsidies.

      (e) The guardianship subsidy provided under this section shall continue until the child reaches the age of eighteen or the age of twenty-one if such child is in full time attendance at a secondary school, technical school or college or is in a state accredited job training program. Annually, the subsidized guardian shall submit to the commissioner a sworn statement that the child is still living with and receiving support from the guardian. The parent of any child receiving assistance through the subsidized guardianship program shall remain liable for the support of the child as required by the general statutes.

      (f) A guardianship subsidy shall not be included in the calculation of household income in determining eligibility for benefits of the relative caregiver of the subsidized child or other persons living within the household of the relative caregiver.

      (g) Payments for guardianship subsidies shall be made from moneys available from any source to the commissioner for child welfare purposes. The commissioner shall develop and implement a plan that: (1) Maximizes use of the subsidized guardianship program to decrease the number of children in the legal custody of the Commissioner of Children and Families and to reduce the number of children who would otherwise be placed into foster care when there is a family member willing to provide care; (2) maximizes federal reimbursement for the costs of the subsidized guardianship program, provided whatever federal maximization method is employed shall not result in the relative caregiver of a child being subject to work requirements as a condition of receipt of benefits for the child or the benefits restricted in time or scope other than as specified in subsection (c) of this section; and (3) ensures necessary transfers of funds between agencies and interagency coordination in program implementation. The Commissioner of Children and Families shall seek all federal waivers as are necessary and appropriate to implement this plan.

      (P.A. 97-272, S. 7, 9; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 98-1, S. 90, 121; P.A. 99-251, S. 1, 2; P.A. 05-254, S. 1.)

      History: P.A. 97-272, S. 7 effective July 1, 1997 (Revisor's note: In Subsec. (e) the nonexistent word "chid" was replaced editorially by the Revisors with "child" to correct a typographical error); June Sp. Sess. P.A. 98-1 made a technical change in Subsec. (a), effective June 24, 1998; P.A. 99-251 amended Subsec. (b) by making children living with relatives who have been in foster or certified relative care for less than eighteen months eligible for a subsidy and amended Subsec. (d) by deleting an obsolete reference to the date by which regulations have to be adopted, effective July 1, 1999; P.A. 05-254 lowered threshold from not less than twelve to not less than six months for children living with relative caregivers and who have been in foster care or certified relative care in Subsec. (b).

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PART II
CHILD-CARE FACILITIES AND CHILD-PLACING AGENCIES

      Sec. 17a-145. (Formerly Sec. 17-48). Licensing of child-care facilities. Annual report. Change in facility, institution or home population. No person or entity shall care for or board a child without a license obtained from the Commissioner of Children and Families, except: (1) When a child has been placed by a person or entity holding a license from the commissioner; (2) any residential educational institution exempted by the state Board of Education under the provisions of section 17a-152; (3) residential facilities licensed by the Department of Mental Retardation pursuant to section 17a-227; or (4) facilities providing child day care services, as defined in section 19a-77. The person or entity seeking a child-care facility license shall file with the commissioner an application for a license, in such form as the commissioner furnishes, stating the location where it is proposed to care for such child, the number of children to be cared for, in the case of a corporation, the purpose of the corporation and the names of its chief officers and of the actual person responsible for the child. The Commissioner of Children and Families is authorized to fix the maximum number of children to be boarded and cared for in any such home or institution or by any person or entity licensed by the commissioner. Each person or entity holding a license under the provisions of this section shall file annually, with the commissioner, a report stating the number of children received and removed during the year, the number of deaths and the causes of death, the average cost of support per capita and such other data as the commissioner may prescribe. If the population served at any facility, institution or home operated by any person or entity licensed under this section changes after such license is issued, such person or entity shall file a new license application with the commissioner, and the commissioner shall notify the chief executive officer of the municipality in which the facility is located of such new license application, except that no confidential client information may be disclosed.

      (1949 Rev., S. 2638; 1961, P.A. 601, S. 1; P.A. 73-62, S. 1, 3; P.A. 75-420, S. 4, 6; P.A. 77-614, S. 521, 610; P.A. 78-108, S. 1, 4; P.A. 79-631, S. 71, 111; P.A. 82-261, S. 1, 6; P.A. 85-56; P.A. 93-91, S. 1, 2; P.A. 96-194, S. 8; P.A. 05-71, S. 1; 05-246, S. 13.)

      History: 1961 act deleted requirement that annual report be filed, but see Sec. 17-50; P.A. 73-62 included commissioner of children and youth services in licensing authority, added provisions re annual report and clarified powers of children and youth services commissioner; P.A. 75-420 replaced welfare commissioner with commissioner of social services; P.A. 77-614 replaced social services commissioner with commissioner of human resources, effective January 1, 1979; P.A. 78-108 required license for nonexempt residential educational institutions; P.A. 79-631 deleted reference to commissioner of human resources and obsolete limitation on powers of children and youth services commissioner; P.A. 82-261 provided the exemption for family day care homes; P.A. 85-56 replaced an exception for family day care homes with the exception for facilities providing child day care services; Sec. 17-48 transferred to Sec. 17a-145 in 1991; P.A. 93-91 substituted commissioner and department of children and families for commissioner and department of children and youth services, effective July 1, 1993; P.A. 96-194 replaced obsolete language categorizing entities which may care for or board a child with new provisions and made technical corrections; P.A. 05-71 made a technical change and added requirements that new license application be filed with commissioner if population at facility, institution or home changes and that commissioner notify chief executive officer of municipality in which facility located of such application; P.A. 05-246 added new Subdiv. (3) re exception for residential facilities licensed by Department of Mental Retardation pursuant to Sec. 17a-227, redesignated existing Subdiv. (3) as Subdiv. (4) and made a technical change.

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