Substitute House Bill No. 6006
          Substitute House Bill No. 6006

              PUBLIC ACT NO. 97-272


AN ACT CONCERNING THE MENTAL HEALTH MANDATE OF THE
DEPARTMENT   OF   CHILDREN    AND   FAMILIES   AND
ESTABLISHING A PROGRAM OF SUBSIDIZED GUARDIANSHIP.


    Be  it  enacted  by  the  Senate  and House of
Representatives in General Assembly convened:
    Section  1.  Section   17a-1  of  the  general
statutes  is  repealed   and   the   following  is
substituted in lieu thereof:
    As  used  in   sections   17a-1   to   17a-26,
inclusive, [and] AS AMENDED BY THIS ACT, 17a-28 to
17a-49, inclusive, AND SECTION 2 OF THIS ACT:
    [(a)]    (1)    "Commissioner"    means    the
Commissioner of Children and Families;
    [(b)] (2) "Council"  means  the State Advisory
Council on Children and Families;
    [(c)] (3) "Department" means the Department of
Children and Families;
    [(d)]  (4)  "Child"  means  any  person  under
sixteen years of age;
    [(e)] (5) "Youth"  means any person sixteen to
eighteen years of age;
    [(f)] (6) "Delinquent  child"  shall  have the
meaning ascribed thereto in section 46b-120;
    (7) "CHILD OR YOUTH WITH MENTAL ILLNESS" MEANS
A CHILD OR YOUTH WHO IS SUFFERING FROM ONE OR MORE
MENTAL DISORDERS AS  DEFINED  IN  THE  MOST RECENT
EDITION OF THE  AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION'S
"DIAGNOSTIC  AND  STATISTICAL   MANUAL  OF  MENTAL
DISORDERS";
    (8)   "CHILD   OR    YOUTH    WITH   EMOTIONAL
DISTURBANCE" MEANS A  CHILD  OR  YOUTH  WHO  HAS A
CLINICALLY  SIGNIFICANT  EMOTIONAL  OR  BEHAVIORAL
DISORDER, AS DETERMINED BY A TRAINED MENTAL HEALTH
PROFESSIONAL,  THAT  DISRUPTS   THE   ACADEMIC  OR
DEVELOPMENTAL  PROGRESS, FAMILY  OR  INTERPERSONAL
RELATIONSHIPS  OF  SUCH   CHILD  OR  YOUTH  OR  IS
ASSOCIATED WITH PRESENT  DISTRESS OR DISABILITY OR
A RISK OF SUFFERING DEATH, PAIN OR DISABILITY;
    (9) "INDIVIDUAL SYSTEM  OF  CARE PLAN" MEANS A
WRITTEN  PLAN DEVELOPED  BY  THE  COMMISSIONER  OF
CHILDREN AND FAMILIES  FOR A CHILD OR YOUTH WHO IS
MENTALLY  ILL  OR   EMOTIONALLY  DISTURBED  OR  AT
PLACEMENT RISK WHICH  SHALL BE DEVELOPED WHEN SUCH
CHILD OR YOUTH  NEEDS  SERVICES  FROM AT LEAST TWO
PUBLIC AGENCIES AND  WHICH  SHALL  BE  DESIGNED TO
MEET THE NEEDS  OF  THE  CHILD  OR  YOUTH  AND HIS
FAMILY;
    (10) "FAMILY" MEANS  A  CHILD  OR YOUTH WHO IS
MENTALLY  ILL  OR   EMOTIONALLY  DISTURBED  OR  AT
PLACEMENT  RISK TOGETHER  WITH  (A)  ONE  OR  MORE
BIOLOGICAL  OR  ADOPTIVE  PARENTS,  EXCEPT  FOR  A
BIOLOGICAL PARENT WHOSE  PARENTAL RIGHTS HAVE BEEN
TERMINATED, (B) ONE  OR MORE PERSONS TO WHOM LEGAL
CUSTODY OR GUARDIANSHIP HAS BEEN GIVEN, OR (C) ONE
OR MORE ADULT  FAMILY  MEMBERS  WHO HAVE A PRIMARY
RESPONSIBILITY FOR PROVIDING  CONTINUOUS  CARE  TO
SUCH CHILD OR YOUTH;
    (11) "CHILD OR  YOUTH AT PLACEMENT RISK" MEANS
A MENTALLY ILL  OR  EMOTIONALLY DISTURBED CHILD OR
YOUTH WHO IS  AT RISK OF PLACEMENT OUT OF HIS HOME
OR IS IN PLACEMENT OUT OF HIS HOME FOR THE PRIMARY
PURPOSE OF RECEIVING MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT; AND
    (12) "PARENT" MEANS  A  BIOLOGICAL OR ADOPTIVE
PARENT, EXCEPT A  BIOLOGICAL PARENT WHOSE PARENTAL
RIGHTS HAVE BEEN TERMINATED.
    Sec.  2. (NEW)  (a)  The  following  shall  be
established for the  purposes  of  developing  and
implementing an individual system of care plan:
    (1) Within available  appropriations,  a child
specific team may  be developed by the family of a
child or adolescent at placement risk and include,
but not be  limited  to, family members, the child
or  adolescent  if   appropriate,  clergy,  school
personnel, representatives of  local  or  regional
agencies  providing  programs   and  services  for
children and youth,  a  family advocate, and other
community  or  family  representatives.  The  team
shall  designate  one   member   to  be  the  team
coordinator.  The  team   coordinator  shall  make
decisions  affecting  the   implementation  of  an
individual system of care plan with the consent of
the team, except  as otherwise provided by law. If
a case manager,  other  than the case manager from
the Department of  Children and Families, has been
assigned to the child and is not designated as the
team coordinator, such case manager shall not make
decisions  affecting  the  implementation  of  the
individual system of care plan without the consent
of the team, except as otherwise provided by law;
    (2)  Within  available   appropriations,  case
review  committees  may   be   developed  by  each
regional office of  the Department of Children and
Families and shall  be comprised of at least three
parents of children  or  adolescents  with serious
emotional disturbance and representatives of local
or  regional  agencies   and   service   providers
including,  but  not   limited  to,  the  regional
administrator of the  office  of the Department of
Children  and  Families   or   his   designee,   a
superintendent  of  schools  or  his  designee,  a
director  of  a  local  children's  mental  health
agency or his  designee,  the district director of
the district office  of  the  Department of Social
Services or his designee, representatives from the
Departments  of  Mental   Retardation  and  Mental
Health   and   Addiction    Services    who    are
knowledgeable  of  the   needs   of   a  child  or
adolescent  at placement  risk,  a  representative
from   a   local    housing    authority   and   a
representative   from  the   court   system.   The
functions  of the  case  review  committees  shall
include,  but  not   be   limited   to:   (A)  The
determination  of  whether   or  not  a  child  or
adolescent meets the  definition  of  a  child  or
adolescent  at  placement   risk;   (B)  assisting
children or families without a child specific team
in  the  formation   of   such  a  team;  and  (C)
resolution of the development or implementation of
an individual system  of  care plan not developed,
implemented or agreed  upon  by  a  child specific
team. Such functions  shall  be  completed  in one
hundred twenty days  or  less  from  the  date  of
referral to the  case  review  committee.  In  the
event of the need for an individual system of care
plan  for  a   child   or   adolescent   with   no
identifiable community, a  representative  of  the
child or adolescent  shall  make a referral to the
state  coordinated  care   committee,  established
pursuant to subdivision  (3)  of  this subsection,
which  shall  designate   responsibility  for  the
development of an  individual  system of care plan
to  a  case  review  committee.  The  case  review
committee shall also monitor the implementation of
an   individual   system   of   care   plan   when
appropriate.  The  Department   of   Children  and
Families may assign  a  system coordinator to each
case review committee.  The  duties  of the system
coordinator shall include,  but not be limited to,
assistance  and  consultation  to  child  specific
teams and assistance  with the development of case
review committees and child specific teams.
    (3)  A coordinated  care  committee  shall  be
developed  by the  Commissioner  of  Children  and
Families and shall  be  comprised of a parent of a
child  or  adolescent   with   serious   emotional
disturbance who is currently serving or has served
on a case review committee, a person who is now or
has been a  recipient  of  services for a child or
adolescent at placement  risk,  representatives of
the   Departments  of   Children   and   Families,
Education, Mental Health  and  Addiction Services,
Social Services and  Mental  Retardation  who  are
knowledgeable  of  the   needs   of   a  child  or
adolescent at placement risk, and a representative
of  the Office  of  Protection  and  Advocacy  for
Persons with Disabilities  who is knowledgeable of
the needs of  a  child  or adolescent at placement
risk.
    (b) The commissioner, in consultation with the
coordinated care committee,  shall submit a report
on the findings  and  recommendations  of programs
for  children  and   youth   at   placement  risk,
including recommendations for  budget  options  or
programmatic  changes  necessary  to  enhance  the
system of care  for  such  child  or youth and his
family, to the  joint  standing  committee and the
select committee of  the  General  Assembly having
cognizance of matters  relating to children, on or
before January 1, 1998, and annually thereafter.
    (c) The provisions  of  this section shall not
be construed to  grant an entitlement to any child
or youth at  placement  risk to receive particular
services  under  this  section  in  an  individual
system of care  plan if such child or youth is not
otherwise eligible to  receive  such services from
any  state agency  or  to  receive  such  services
pursuant to any other provision of law.
    (d) The Commissioner  of Children and Families
may adopt regulations  in  accordance with chapter
54 of the  general  statutes  for  the  purpose of
implementing the provisions of this section.
    Sec. 3. (NEW)  The  Department of Children and
Families  shall  establish   a   liaison   to  the
Department  of  Social  Services  to  ensure  that
Medicaid  eligible  children   and  youth  receive
mental health services  in accordance with federal
law.
    Sec. 4. (NEW)  There  shall  be no requirement
for the Department  of  Children  and  Families to
seek custody of  any  child  or  youth with mental
illness,  emotional  disturbance,   a   behavioral
disorder or developmental  or  physical disability
if  such child  is  voluntarily  placed  with  the
department by a  parent  or  guardian of the child
for  the  purpose   of  accessing  an  out-of-home
placement   or   intensive   outpatient   service,
including,  but  not   limited   to,   residential
treatment   programs,  therapeutic   foster   care
programs  and  extended  day  treatment  programs,
except as permitted  pursuant to sections 17a-101g
and 46b-129 of the general statutes. Commitment to
or protective supervision  or  protection  by  the
department shall not be a condition for receipt of
services or benefits  delivered  or  funded by the
department.
    Sec. 5. Section 17a-11 of the general statutes
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 [in residential
facilities] 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 [or] AND to a
child over fourteen,  [or]  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,  [and the Connecticut School for
Boys,]  provided  the   commissioner   shall  give
written notice to  such  child  or  youth  [who is
voluntarily  admitted]  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  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 CERTIFIED
MAIL, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED, AT LEAST FIVE DAYS
PRIOR  TO  THE  HEARING  TO  THE  COMMISSIONER  OF
CHILDREN AND FAMILIES,  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.
    (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   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  DEPOSITIONAL HEARING  WHENEVER  IT  DEEMS
NECESSARY OR DESIRABLE,  BUT AT LEAST EVERY TWELVE
MONTHS.
    [(c)]  (e)  The   commissioner   shall   adopt
regulations   IN  ACCORDANCE   WITH   CHAPTER   54
describing   the   documentation    required   for
voluntary  admission  [to   facilities  under  his
jurisdiction,]  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.
    [(d)]  (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.
    Sec. 6. Section  17a-3 of the general statutes
is repealed and  the  following  is substituted in
lieu thereof:
    The department shall  plan,  create,  develop,
operate or arrange  for, administer and evaluate a
comprehensive and integrated state-wide program of
services,  including  preventive   services,   for
children and youth whose behavior does not conform
to the law  or  to acceptable community standards,
or  who  are  mentally  ill,  including  deaf  and
hearing  impaired  children   and  youth  who  are
mentally  ill,  emotionally  disturbed,  substance
abusers, delinquent, abused,  neglected or uncared
for, including all  children  and youth who are or
may be committed  to  it  by  any  court,  and all
children and youth  voluntarily  admitted  to  the
department  for services  of  any  kind.  Services
shall not be  denied  to  any  such child or youth
solely because of  other  complicating or multiple
disabilities.  The  department   shall   work   in
cooperation with other  child-serving agencies and
organizations to provide or arrange for preventive
programs, including but  not  limited  to  teenage
pregnancy  and  youth   suicide   prevention,  for
children and youth and their families. THE PROGRAM
SHALL PROVIDE SERVICES  AND  PLACEMENTS  THAT  ARE
CLINICALLY INDICATED AND  APPROPRIATE TO THE NEEDS
OF THE CHILD  OR  YOUTH.  In  furtherance  of this
purpose, the department  shall:  (a) Maintain Long
Lane  School  and   other  appropriate  facilities
exclusively  for  delinquents;   (b)   develop   a
comprehensive program for  prevention  of problems
of children and  youth  and  provide  a  flexible,
innovative   and   effective   program   for   the
placement,  care and  treatment  of  children  and
youth committed by  any  court  to the department,
transferred   to   the    department    by   other
departments,  or  voluntarily   admitted   to  the
department; (c) provide  appropriate  services  to
families  of  children  and  youth  as  needed  to
achieve the purposes  of sections 17a-1 to 17a-26,
inclusive,  17a-28  to   17a-49,   inclusive,  and
17a-51; (d) establish incentive paid work programs
for children and  youth  under  the  care  of  the
department and the  rates to be paid such children
and youth for  work  done in such programs and may
provide allowances to  children  and  youth in his
custody; (e) be  responsible to collect, interpret
and publish statistics  relating  to  children and
youth within the  department;  (f) conduct studies
of any program,  service  or  facility  developed,
operated,  contracted  for  or  supported  by  the
department in order to evaluate its effectiveness;
(g) establish staff development and other training
and educational programs  designed  to improve the
quality  of departmental  services  and  programs,
provided  no  social   worker   trainee  shall  be
assigned a case load prior to completing training,
and may establish educational or training programs
for children, youth,  parents  or other interested
persons on any  matter related to the promotion of
the well-being of  children,  or the prevention of
mental illness, emotional disturbance, delinquency
and other disabilities  in children and youth; (h)
develop  and  implement  aftercare  and  follow-up
services appropriate to  the needs of any child or
youth under his  care;  (i) establish a case audit
unit  to monitor  each  region's  compliance  with
regulations  and  procedures;   (j)   develop  and
maintain a database  listing  available  community
service programs funded  by  the  department;  (k)
provide outreach and  assistance to persons caring
for children whose  parents are unable to do so by
informing such persons  of  programs  and benefits
for which they  may  be eligible; (l) collect data
sufficient  to  identify   the  housing  needs  of
children served by  the  department and share such
data with the Department of Economic and Community
Development; (m) prepare  and submit biennially to
the General Assembly  a five-year master plan. The
master plan shall  include, but not be limited to:
(1) The long-range  goals and the current level of
attainment of such  goals of the department; (2) a
detailed description of  the  types and amounts of
services presently provided  to  the  department's
clients; (3) a  detailed  forecast  of the service
needs of current and projected target populations;
(4) detailed cost  projections for alternate means
of meeting projected needs; (5) funding priorities
for each of  the  five  years included in the plan
and specific plans indicating how the funds are to
be used; (6)  a written plan for the prevention of
child  abuse  and  neglect;  (7)  a  comprehensive
mental health plan  for  children and adolescents,
including children with  complicating  or multiple
disabilities;  (8)  a   comprehensive   plan   for
children  and youth  who  are  substance  abusers,
developed in conjunction  with  the  Department of
Mental Health and  Addiction  Services pursuant to
the provisions of  sections  19a-2a and 19a-7; and
(9)  an overall  assessment  of  the  adequacy  of
children's services in Connecticut. The plan shall
be prepared within  existing funds appropriated to
the department.
    Sec. 7. (NEW)  (a)  As  used  in this section,
"relative caregiver" means  a person who is caring
for a child  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.  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)  On  or   before   January  1,  1998,  the
commissioner shall adopt regulations in accordance
with   chapter  54   of   the   general   statutes
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 attendence 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
chid 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.
    Sec. 8. (NEW) The provisions of this act shall
not be construed  to  apply to any nongovernmental
insurance policy or health care center contract or
alter any contractual  or  statutory obligation of
the insurer or health care center.
    Sec. 9. This  act  shall  take  effect July 1,
1997, except that  sections  1  to  6,  inclusive,
shall take effect October 1, 1997.

Approved June 27, 1997