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Substitute Senate Bill No. 833

Public Act No. 13-228


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

Section 1. Subsection (b) of section 46b-129 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2013):

(b) If it appears from the specific allegations of the petition and other verified affirmations of fact accompanying the petition and application, or subsequent thereto, that there is reasonable cause to believe that (1) the child or youth is suffering from serious physical illness or serious physical injury or is in immediate physical danger from the child's or youth's surroundings, and (2) [that] as a result of said conditions, the child's or youth's safety is endangered and immediate removal from such surroundings is necessary to ensure the child's or youth's safety, the court shall either (A) issue an order to the parents or other person having responsibility for the care of the child or youth to appear at such time as the court may designate to determine whether the court should vest the child's or youth's temporary care and custody in a person related to the child or youth by blood or marriage or in some other person or suitable agency pending disposition of the petition, or (B) issue an order ex parte vesting the child's or youth's temporary care and custody in a person related to the child or youth by blood or marriage or in some other person or suitable agency. A preliminary hearing on any ex parte custody order or order to appear issued by the court shall be held not later than ten days after the issuance of such order. The service of such orders may be made by any officer authorized by law to serve process, or by any probation officer appointed in accordance with section 46b-123, investigator from the Department of Administrative Services, state or local police officer or indifferent person. Such orders shall include a conspicuous notice to the respondent written in clear and simple language containing at least the following information: (i) That the order contains allegations that conditions in the home have endangered the safety and welfare of the child or youth; (ii) that a hearing will be held on the date on the form; (iii) that the hearing is the opportunity to present the parents' position concerning the alleged facts; (iv) that an attorney will be appointed for parents who cannot afford an attorney; (v) that such parents may apply for a court-appointed attorney by going in person to the court address on the form and are advised to go as soon as possible in order for the attorney to prepare for the hearing; (vi) that such parents, or a person having responsibility for the care and custody of the child or youth, may request the Commissioner of Children and Families to investigate placing the child or youth with a person related to the child or youth by blood or marriage who might serve as a licensed foster parent or temporary custodian for such child or youth. The commissioner, where practicable, shall investigate such relative or relatives prior to the preliminary hearing and provide a report to the court at such hearing as to such relative's suitability; and (vii) that if such parents have any questions concerning the case or appointment of counsel, any such parent is advised to go to the court or call the clerk's office at the court as soon as possible. Upon application for appointed counsel, the court shall promptly determine eligibility and, if the respondent is eligible, promptly appoint counsel. The expense for any temporary care and custody shall be paid by the town in which such child or youth is at the time residing, and such town shall be reimbursed for such expense by the town found liable for the child's or youth's support, except that where a state agency has filed a petition pursuant to the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, the agency shall pay such expense. The agency shall give primary consideration to placing the child or youth in the town where such child or youth resides. The agency shall file in writing with the clerk of the court the reasons for placing the child or youth in a particular placement outside the town where the child or youth resides. Upon issuance of an ex parte order, the court shall provide to the commissioner and the parent or guardian specific steps necessary for each to take to address the ex parte order for the parent or guardian to retain or regain custody of the child or youth. Upon the issuance of such order, or not later than sixty days after the issuance of such order, the court shall make a determination whether the Department of Children and Families made reasonable efforts to keep the child or youth with his or her parents or guardian prior to the issuance of such order and, if such efforts were not made, whether such reasonable efforts were not possible, taking into consideration the child's or youth's best interests, including the child's or youth's health and safety. Any person or agency in which the temporary care and custody of a child or youth is vested under this section shall have the following rights and duties regarding the child or youth: (I) The obligation of care and control; (II) the authority to make decisions regarding emergency medical, psychological, psychiatric or surgical treatment; and (III) such other rights and duties that the court having jurisdiction may order.

Approved June 24, 2013