House Bill No. 5843

Public Act No. 01-149

AN ACT CONCERNING INTERVENTION BY SIBLINGS IN COURT AND HEARINGS.

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

Section 1. Section 46b-129 of the general statutes is amended by adding subsection (p) as follows:

(NEW) (p) Upon motion of any sibling of any child committed to the Department of Children and Families pursuant to this section, such sibling shall have the right to be heard concerning visitation with, and placement of, any such child. In awarding any visitation or modifying any placement, the court shall be guided by the best interests of all siblings affected by such determination.

Sec. 2. Section 17a-15 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) The commissioner shall prepare and maintain a written plan for care, treatment and permanent placement of every child and youth under [his] the commissioner's supervision, which shall include but not be limited to a diagnosis of the problems of each child or youth, the proposed plan of treatment services and temporary placement and a goal for permanent placement of the child or youth, which may include reunification with the parent, long-term foster care, independent living, transfer of guardianship or adoption. The child's or youth's health and safety shall be the paramount concern in formulating the plan.

(b) The commissioner shall at least every six months, review the plan of each child and youth under [his] the commissioner's supervision for the purpose of determining whether such plan is appropriate and make any appropriate modifications to such plan.

(c) Any child or youth or [his] the parent or guardian of such child or youth aggrieved by any provision of a plan prepared under subsection (a) of this section, or by the commissioner's decision upon review under subsection (b) of this section, or any child or youth or [his] the parent or guardian of such child or youth aggrieved by a refusal of any other service from the commissioner to which he is entitled, shall be provided a hearing within thirty days following a written request for the same directed to the commissioner.

(d) Upon motion of any sibling of any child committed to the Department of Children and Families pursuant to section 46b-129, as amended by this act, in any pending hearing held pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, such sibling shall have the right to be heard concerning visitation with, and placement of, any such child.

[d] (e) Any hearing held pursuant to a request made under subsection (c) or (d) of this section shall be conducted as a contested case in accordance with chapter 54 provided: (1) A final decision shall be rendered within fifteen days following the close of evidence and filing of briefs; and (2) any appeal of a decision pursuant to section 4-183 shall be to the district of the superior court for juvenile matters, where the child is located, as established in section 46b-142.

Approved July 6, 2001