PA 11-105—sHB 6227

Select Committee on Children

Human Services Committee

Labor and Public Employees Committee

Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING A REGIONAL STRUCTURE FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES AND MISCELLANEOUS CHANGES TO THE GENERAL STATUTES CONCERNING THE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

SUMMARY: This act requires the Department of Children and Families (DCF) commissioner to appoint up to two program directors and up to six regional directors in the unclassified service. Under prior law, she appointed directors as necessary, in the classified service, and with duties she determined. By law, unchanged by the act, she must make the appointments after consulting with the State Advisory Council on Children and Families (SAC). The act replaces the department's structure of area directors, offices, and advisory councils in prior law with regional directors, offices, and advisory councils.

The act conforms state law to federal requirements for foster care programs, making the state eligible for federal reimbursement of subsidized guardianship assistance funds (see BACKGROUND). It also removes obsolete language.

The act eliminates the Connecticut Juvenile Training School's (CJTS) public safety committee and transfers responsibility for reviewing safety and security issues that affect CJTS host municipality (Middletown) to the CJTS advisory committee.

Finally, the act repeals two DCF reporting requirements.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2011

DCF ORGANIZATION

Program Directors

Under prior law, the DCF commissioner appointed and removed directors as she deemed necessary, after consulting with SAC. The act identifies them as “program directors,” limits their number to two, removes them from the classified service, and authorizes them to oversee community programs and services and the operation of DCF institutions and facilities.

Regional Directors

The act requires the commissioner to consult with SAC and then appoint up to six regional directors, and it gives her authority to remove them in a like manner. Each regional director must have skill and experience in providing and administering children's services. At the commissioner's direction, they are responsible for the operation and administration of DCF services in regions the commissioner creates. They replace area directors. The act authorizes the commissioner to create distinct service regions with offices, rather than areas and area offices. It makes a corresponding change by renaming area advisory councils as regional advisory councils.

REPEALED REPORTS

The act eliminates DCF's annual reports:

1. to the Human Services Committee regarding the Kinship Navigator Program, which helps relative caregivers find services and become foster parents and is not changed by the act; and

2. to the governor and the Human Services and Judiciary committees on the status of (a) the children committed to DCF's custody as of January 1, and (b) the central registry on children for whom a permanency plan has been formulated and a monitoring system on plan implementation.

BACKGROUND

Federal Law

The 2008 Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act (P. L. 110-351, 42 U. S. C. 670 et seq. ) provides federal Title IV-E of the Social Security Act support for relatives caring for foster children. Among other things, it gives states the option for federal reimbursement for guardianship subsidy payments, promotes permanency, and requires states to make reasonable efforts to keep siblings together in foster care.

OLR Tracking: RO: VR: JL: ts