CHAPTER 813
PROTECTION AND ADVOCACY
FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

Table of Contents

Sec. 46a-11. Duties and powers of director.
Sec. 46a-11b. (Formerly Sec. 19a-458a). Reports of suspected abuse or neglect required of certain persons. Report by others. Immunity. Fine. Treatment by Christian Science practitioner.

      Sec. 46a-11. Duties and powers of director. The director may, within available appropriations:

      (1) Purchase or contract for necessary services including, but not limited to, legal services;

      (2) Receive and spend, pursuant to the purposes of this chapter, moneys in the form of gifts, bequests, state appropriations, state or private grants or federal grants;

      (3) Establish a state-wide toll-free telephone information and referral system for persons with disabilities for referral of such persons to appropriate public or private agencies or services. Such information and referral system may be coordinated with the Governor's state-wide information bureau or any other existing information and referral services;

      (4) Receive and investigate complaints from persons with disabilities, parents or guardians of such persons or in writing from any other interested person, act as an advocate for any person with a disability and initiate or fund legal actions to protect the rights of any person with a disability;

      (5) Request and receive information, including personal data, concerning a person with a disability from any state or private agency, with the consent of such person with a disability, or the parent or guardian of such person, as appropriate. With respect to a developmentally disabled adult who has no guardian or whose guardian is an employee of the Department of Mental Retardation, the director may request and receive such information only if:

      (A) A request for advocacy services has been made on such person's behalf;

      (B) Such person does not indicate refusal to give consent to receipt of the information by the director;

      (C) Such person resides in a facility for developmentally disabled persons, including any institution, as defined in subsection (a) of section 19a-490, or has been placed in a boarding home, group home or other residential facility pursuant to section 17a-277;

      (D) Such person has received an explanation of the manner in which any information obtained concerning such person will be used by the advocacy office;

      (E) Such person has received an explanation of such person's right to refuse to allow the director to request or receive such information; and

      (F) The director has documented the director's conscientious efforts to provide the required explanations and verified that the developmentally disabled person has not indicated refusal to give consent;

      (6) Coordinate and cooperate with other private and public agencies concerned with the implementation, monitoring and enforcement of the rights of persons with disabilities and enter into cooperative agreements with public or private agencies for furtherance of the rights of persons with disabilities;

      (7) Represent, appear, intervene in or bring an action on behalf of any person with a disability or class of persons, with the consent of such person or the parent or legal guardian of such person, in any proceeding before any court, agency, board or commission in this state in which matters related to this chapter are in issue;

      (8) Implement, with the approval of the individual using a service provided by the advocacy office, a case follow-up system;

      (9) Research and identify the needs of persons with disabilities and programs and services available to meet those needs;

      (10) Develop and maintain a program of public education and information, such program to include, but not be limited to, education of the public concerning the needs and rights of persons with disabilities, in cooperation with existing state and private agencies, an outreach effort to discover persons with disabilities in need of assistance or an advocate and provisions for a class or group advocacy service;

      (11) Develop and maintain an individual advocacy service for persons with disabilities which shall investigate referred problems or complaints;

      (12) Receive, review and make such recommendations as he deems appropriate on applications for waivers from the requirements of the State Building Code, submitted by the State Building Inspector pursuant to the provisions of subsection (b) of section 29-269; and

      (13) Ensure that all aspects of agency operations conform to federally established protection and advocacy requirements for program independence and authority, including:

      (A) Structural independence from other agencies which provide services to people with disabilities;

      (B) Authority to pursue legal and administrative remedies on behalf of persons with disabilities;

      (C) Authority to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect of persons with disabilities who receive care, treatment or services;

      (D) Authority to access persons who are residents of facilities or clients of services systems, and with appropriate consent, to access such residents' records concerning care, treatment or services;

      (E) Authority to educate policy makers, consumers and members of the public about issues affecting persons with disabilities;

      (F) Authority to reach out to members of traditionally underserved populations; and

      (G) Authority to develop an annual statement of priorities and objectives and to solicit public comment and input on such process.

      (P.A. 77-589, S. 4, 9; P.A. 78-351, S. 2, 3; P.A. 86-285, S. 1; P.A. 88-356, S. 4; 88-364, S. 56, 123; P.A. 94-87, S. 5; P.A. 03-88, S. 1; P.A. 04-257, S. 72; P.A. 05-288, S. 154.)

      History: P.A. 78-351 added Subdiv. (12) empowering director to make recommendations re applications for waivers from requirements of article 21 of state building code; P.A. 86-285 amended Subdiv. (5) by making a technical change and permitted the director to request and receive information on a developmentally disabled adult under certain conditions enunciated in new Subparas. (A), (B), (C), (D), (E) and (F); P.A. 88-356 and 88-364 amended Subdiv. (12) to delete reference to "article 21" of state building code; P.A. 94-87 changed reference from handicapped persons to persons with disabilities; P.A. 03-88 added new Subdiv. (13) requiring director to ensure that agency operations conform with federal requirements for program independence and authority; P.A. 04-257 made technical changes in Subdiv. (5), effective June 14, 2004; P.A. 05-288 made a technical change in Subdiv. (5)(B), effective July 13, 2005.

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      Sec. 46a-11b. (Formerly Sec. 19a-458a). Reports of suspected abuse or neglect required of certain persons. Report by others. Immunity. Fine. Treatment by Christian Science practitioner. (a) Any physician or surgeon licensed under the provisions of chapter 370, any resident physician or intern in any hospital in this state, whether or not so licensed, any registered nurse, any person paid for caring for persons in any facility and any licensed practical nurse, medical examiner, dental hygienist, dentist, occupational therapist, optometrist, chiropractor, psychologist, podiatrist, social worker, school teacher, school principal, school guidance counselor, school paraprofessional, mental health professional, physician assistant, licensed or certified substance abuse counselor, licensed marital and family therapist, speech and language pathologist, clergyman, police officer, pharmacist, physical therapist, licensed professional counselor or sexual assault counselor or battered women's counselor, as defined in section 52-146k, who has reasonable cause to suspect or believe that any person with mental retardation has been abused or neglected shall, as soon as practicable but not later than seventy-two hours after such person has reasonable cause to suspect or believe that a person with mental retardation has been abused or neglected, report such information or cause a report to be made in any reasonable manner to the director or persons the director designates to receive such reports. Such initial report shall be followed up by a written report not later than five calendar days after the initial report was made. Any person required to report under this subsection who fails to make such report shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars.

      (b) Such report shall contain the name and address of the allegedly abused or neglected person, a statement from the person making the report indicating his belief that such person is mentally retarded, information supporting the supposition that such person is substantially unable to protect himself from abuse or neglect, information regarding the nature and extent of the abuse or neglect and any other information which the person making such report believes might be helpful in an investigation of the case and the protection of such person with mental retardation.

      (c) Each facility, as defined in section 46a-11a, shall inform residents of their rights and the staff of their responsibility to report abuse or neglect and shall establish appropriate policies and procedures to facilitate such reporting.

      (d) Any other person having reasonable cause to believe that a person with mental retardation is being or has been abused or neglected may report such information, in any reasonable manner, to the director or to his designee.

      (e) Any person who makes any report pursuant to sections 46a-11a to 46a-11g, inclusive, or who testifies in any administrative or judicial proceeding arising from such report shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability on account of such report or testimony, except for liability for perjury, unless such person acted in bad faith or with malicious purpose. Any person who obstructs, hinders or endangers any person reporting or investigating abuse or neglect or providing protective services or who makes a report in bad faith or with malicious purpose and who is not subject to any other penalty shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars. No resident or employee of a facility, as defined in section 46a-11a, shall be subject to reprisal or discharge because of his actions in reporting pursuant to sections 46a-11a to 46a-11g, inclusive.

      (f) For purposes of said sections, the treatment of any person with mental retardation by a Christian Science practitioner, in lieu of treatment by a licensed practitioner of the healing arts, shall not of itself constitute grounds for the implementation of protective services.

      (g) When the director of the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities or persons designated by such director are required to investigate or monitor abuse or neglect reports that are referred to the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities from another agency, all provisions of this section shall apply to any investigation or monitoring of such case or report.

      (P.A. 84-514, S. 2, 11; P.A. 86-285, S. 3; P.A. 93-340, S. 8, 19; P.A. 95-63, S. 2; 95-289, S. 6; P.A. 96-186, S. 2; P.A. 99-102, S. 46; P.A. 04-12, S. 2; P.A. 05-272, S. 28.)

      History: P.A. 84-514 effective February 1, 1985; P.A. 86-285 applied provisions to cases of suspected neglect, deleted in Subsec. (a) the requirement that the facility serve mentally retarded persons, deleted requirement in Subsec. (d) that report be written and added in Subsec. (e) a provision that a person may be fined for obstructing, hindering or endangering any person reporting or investigating abuse and neglect or providing protective services; Sec. 19a-458a transferred to Sec. 46a-11b in 1991; P.A. 93-340 amended Subsec. (a) to add school principals, school guidance counselors, school paraprofessionals, mental health professionals, physician assistants, Connecticut certified substance abuse counselors, Connecticut certified marital and family therapists, sexual assault counselors and battered women's counselors to list of persons required to report suspected abuse or neglect, effective July 1, 1993; P.A. 95-63 substituted "person with mental retardation" for "mentally retarded person"; P.A. 95-289 changed marital and family therapists from "Connecticut certified" to "licensed"; P.A. 96-186 added Subsec. (g) concerning applicability of section to Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities; P.A. 99-102 amended Subsec. (a) by deleting "Connecticut" and adding "licensed or" before "certified", deleting obsolete reference to osteopathy and to chapter 371 and made a technical change; P.A. 04-12 amended Subsec. (a) by adding "licensed professional counselor" to list of persons required to report suspected abuse, changing time frame for making initial report of suspected abuse to not later than seventy-two hours after person suspects or has reason to believe abuse has occurred and specifying that written report is required not later than five calendar days after initial report was made; P.A. 05-272 amended Subsec. (a) by replacing "speech pathologist" with "speech and language pathologist" and by making technical changes.

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