Connecticut Seal

Substitute Senate Bill No. 936

Public Act No. 03-243

AN ACT CONCERNING INTERSTATE PLACEMENT OF CHILDREN AND VISITATION FOR CHILDREN IN THE CARE AND CUSTODY OF THE COMMISSIONER OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES AND CHILD PLACEMENT CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORDS CHECKS.

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

Section 1. Section 17a-112 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

(a) In respect to any child in the custody of the Commissioner of Children and Families in accordance with section 46b-129, either the commissioner, or the attorney who represented such child in a pending or prior proceeding, or an attorney appointed by the Superior Court on its own motion, or an attorney retained by such child after attaining the age of fourteen, may petition the court for the termination of parental rights with reference to such child. The petition shall be in the form and contain the information set forth in subsection (b) of section 45a-715, and be subject to the provisions of subsection (c) of said section. If a petition indicates that either or both parents consent to the termination of their parental rights, or if at any time following the filing of a petition and before the entry of a decree, a parent consents to the termination of the parent's parental rights, each consenting parent shall acknowledge such consent on a form promulgated by the Office of the Chief Court Administrator evidencing that the parent has voluntarily and knowingly consented to the termination of such parental rights. No consent to termination by a mother shall be executed within forty-eight hours immediately after the birth of such mother's child. A parent who is a minor shall have the right to consent to termination of parental rights and such consent shall not be voidable by reason of such minority. A guardian ad litem shall be appointed by the court to assure that such minor parent is giving an informed and voluntary consent.

(b) Either or both birth parents and an intended adoptive parent may enter into a cooperative postadoption agreement regarding communication or contact between either or both birth parents and the adopted child. Such an agreement may be entered into if: (1) The child is in the custody of the Department of Children and Families; (2) an order terminating parental rights has not yet been entered; and (3) either or both birth parents agree to a voluntary termination of parental rights, including an agreement in a case which began as an involuntary termination of parental rights. The postadoption agreement shall be applicable only to a birth parent who is a party to the agreement. Such agreement shall be in addition to those under common law. Counsel for the child and any guardian ad litem for the child may be heard on the proposed cooperative postadoption agreement. There shall be no presumption of communication or contact between the birth parents and an intended adoptive parent in the absence of a cooperative postadoption agreement.

(c) If the Superior Court determines that the child's best interests will be served by postadoption communication or contact with either or both birth parents, the court shall so order, stating the nature and frequency of the communication or contact. A court may grant postadoption communication or contact privileges if: (1) Each intended adoptive parent consents to the granting of communication or contact privileges; (2) the intended adoptive parent and either or both birth parents execute a cooperative agreement and file the agreement with the court; (3) consent to postadoption communication or contact is obtained from the child, if the child is at least twelve years of age; and (4) the cooperative postadoption agreement is approved by the court.

(d) A cooperative postadoption agreement shall contain the following: (1) An acknowledgment by either or both birth parents that the termination of parental rights and the adoption is irrevocable, even if the adoptive parents do not abide by the cooperative postadoption agreement; and (2) an acknowledgment by the adoptive parents that the agreement grants either or both birth parents the right to seek to enforce the cooperative postadoption agreement.

(e) The terms of a cooperative postadoption agreement may include the following: (1) Provision for communication between the child and either or both birth parents; (2) provision for future contact between either or both birth parents and the child or an adoptive parent; and (3) maintenance of medical history of either or both birth parents who are parties to the agreement.

(f) The order approving a cooperative postadoption agreement shall be made part of the final order terminating parental rights. The finality of the termination of parental rights and of the adoption shall not be affected by implementation of the provisions of the postadoption agreement. Such an agreement shall not affect the ability of the adoptive parents and the child to change their residence within or outside this state.

(g) A disagreement between the parties or litigation brought to enforce or modify the agreement shall not affect the validity of the termination of parental rights or the adoption and shall not serve as a basis for orders affecting the custody of the child. The court shall not act on a petition to change or enforce the agreement unless the petitioner had participated, or attempted to participate, in good faith in mediation or other appropriate dispute resolution proceedings to resolve the dispute and allocate any cost for such mediation or dispute resolution proceedings.

(h) An adoptive parent, guardian ad litem for the child or the court, on its own motion, may, at any time, petition for review of any order entered pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, if the petitioner alleges that such action would be in the best interests of the child. The court may modify or terminate such orders as the court deems to be in the best interest of the adopted child.

(i) The Superior Court upon hearing and notice, as provided in sections 45a-716 and 45a-717, may grant a petition for termination of parental rights based on consent filed pursuant to this section if it finds that (1) upon clear and convincing evidence, the termination is in the best interest of the child, and (2) such parent has voluntarily and knowingly consented to termination of the parent's parental rights with respect to such child. If the court denies a petition for termination of parental rights based on consent, it may refer the matter to an agency to assess the needs of the child, the care the child is receiving and the plan of the parent for the child. Consent for the termination of the parental rights of one parent does not diminish the parental rights of the other parent of the child, nor does it relieve the other parent of the duty to support the child.

(j) The Superior Court, upon hearing and notice as provided in sections 45a-716 and 45a-717, may grant a petition filed pursuant to this section if it finds by clear and convincing evidence (1) that the Department of Children and Families has made reasonable efforts to locate the parent and to reunify the child with the parent, unless the court finds in this proceeding that the parent is unable or unwilling to benefit from reunification efforts provided such finding is not required if the court has determined at a hearing pursuant to subsection (b) of section 17a-110 or section 17a-111b that such efforts are not appropriate, (2) that termination is in the best interest of the child, and (3) that: (A) The child has been abandoned by the parent in the sense that the parent has failed to maintain a reasonable degree of interest, concern or responsibility as to the welfare of the child; (B) the child (i) has been found by the Superior Court or the Probate Court to have been neglected or uncared for in a prior proceeding, or (ii) is found to be neglected or uncared for and has been in the custody of the commissioner for at least fifteen months and the parent of such child has been provided specific steps to take to facilitate the return of the child to the parent pursuant to section 46b-129 and has failed to achieve such degree of personal rehabilitation as would encourage the belief that within a reasonable time, considering the age and needs of the child, such parent could assume a responsible position in the life of the child; (C) the child has been denied, by reason of an act or acts of parental commission or omission including, but not limited to, sexual molestation or exploitation, severe physical abuse or a pattern of abuse, the care, guidance or control necessary for the child's physical, educational, moral or emotional well-being. Nonaccidental or inadequately explained serious physical injury to a child shall constitute prima facie evidence of acts of parental commission or omission sufficient for the termination of parental rights; (D) there is no ongoing parent-child relationship, which means the relationship that ordinarily develops as a result of a parent having met on a day to day basis the physical, emotional, moral and educational needs of the child and to allow further time for the establishment or reestablishment of such parent-child relationship would be detrimental to the best interest of the child; (E) the parent of a child under the age of seven years who is neglected or uncared for, has failed, is unable or is unwilling to achieve such degree of personal rehabilitation as would encourage the belief that within a reasonable period of time, considering the age and needs of the child, such parent could assume a responsible position in the life of the child and such parent's parental rights of another child were previously terminated pursuant to a petition filed by the Commissioner of Children and Families; (F) the parent has killed through deliberate, nonaccidental act another child of the parent or has requested, commanded, importuned, attempted, conspired or solicited such killing or has committed an assault, through deliberate, nonaccidental act that resulted in serious bodily injury of another child of the parent; or (G) the parent was convicted as an adult or a delinquent by a court of competent jurisdiction of a sexual assault resulting in the conception of the child, except a conviction for a violation of section 53a-71 or 53a-73a, provided the court may terminate such parent's parental rights to such child at any time after such conviction.

(k) Except in the case where termination is based on consent, in determining whether to terminate parental rights under this section, the court shall consider and shall make written findings regarding: (1) The timeliness, nature and extent of services offered, provided and made available to the parent and the child by an agency to facilitate the reunion of the child with the parent; (2) whether the Department of Children and Families has made reasonable efforts to reunite the family pursuant to the federal Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980, as amended; (3) the terms of any applicable court order entered into and agreed upon by any individual or agency and the parent, and the extent to which all parties have fulfilled their obligations under such order; (4) the feelings and emotional ties of the child with respect to the child's parents, any guardian of such child's person and any person who has exercised physical care, custody or control of the child for at least one year and with whom the child has developed significant emotional ties; (5) the age of the child; (6) the efforts the parent has made to adjust such parent's circumstances, conduct, or conditions to make it in the best interest of the child to return such child home in the foreseeable future, including, but not limited to, (A) the extent to which the parent has maintained contact with the child as part of an effort to reunite the child with the parent, provided the court may give weight to incidental visitations, communications or contributions, and (B) the maintenance of regular contact or communication with the guardian or other custodian of the child; and (7) the extent to which a parent has been prevented from maintaining a meaningful relationship with the child by the unreasonable act or conduct of the other parent of the child, or the unreasonable act of any other person or by the economic circumstances of the parent.

(l) Any petition brought by the Commissioner of Children and Families to the Superior Court, pursuant to subsection (a) of section 46b-129, may be accompanied by or, upon motion by the petitioner, consolidated with a petition for termination of parental rights filed in accordance with this section with respect to such child. Notice of the hearing on such petitions shall be given in accordance with sections 45a-716 and 45a-717. The Superior Court, after hearing, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (i) or (j) of this section, may, in lieu of granting the petition filed pursuant to section 46b-129, grant the petition for termination of parental rights as provided in section 45a-717.

(m) Nothing contained in this section and sections 17a-113, 45a-187, 45a-606, 45a-607, 45a-707 to 45a-709, inclusive, 45a-715 to 45a-718, inclusive, 45a-724, 45a-725, 45a-727, 45a-733, 45a-754 and 52-231a shall negate the right of the Commissioner of Children and Families to subsequently petition the Superior Court for revocation of a commitment of a child as to whom parental rights have been terminated in accordance with the provisions of this section. The Superior Court may appoint a statutory parent at any time after it has terminated parental rights if the petitioner so requests.

(n) If the parental rights of only one parent are terminated, the remaining parent shall be the sole parent and, unless otherwise provided by law, guardian of the person.

(o) In the case where termination of parental rights is granted, the guardian of the person or statutory parent shall report to the court within thirty days of the date judgment is entered on a case plan, as defined by the federal Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980, for the child which shall include measurable objectives and time schedules. At least every three months thereafter, such guardian or statutory parent shall make a report to the court on the progress made on implementation of the plan. The court may convene a hearing upon the filing of a report and shall convene a hearing for the purpose of reviewing the plan for the child no more than twelve months from the date judgment is entered or from the date of the last permanency hearing held pursuant to subsection (k) of section 46b-129, whichever is earlier, and at least once a year thereafter until the court determines that the adoption plan has become finalized. For children where the commissioner has determined that adoption is appropriate, the report on the implementation of the plan shall include a description of the reasonable efforts the department is taking to promote and expedite the adoptive placement and to finalize the adoption of the child, including documentation of child specific recruitment efforts. At such hearing, the court shall determine whether the department has made reasonable efforts to achieve the permanency plan. If the court determines that the department has not made reasonable efforts to place a child in an adoptive placement or that reasonable efforts have not resulted in the placement of the child, the court may order the Department of Children and Families, within available appropriations, to contract with a child-placing agency to arrange for the adoption of the child. The department, as statutory parent, shall continue to provide care and services for the child while a child-placing agency is arranging for the adoption of the child.

(p) The provisions of section 17a-152, regarding placement of a child from another state, and the provisions of section 17a-175, regarding the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, shall apply to placements pursuant to this section.

[(p)] (q) The provisions of this section shall be liberally construed in the best interests of any child for whom a petition under this section has been filed.

Sec. 2. Section 46b-129 of the general statutes is amended by adding subsection (q) as follows (Effective October 1, 2003):

(NEW) (q) The provisions of section 17a-152, regarding placement of a child from another state, and section 17a-175, regarding the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, shall apply to placements pursuant to this section.

Sec. 3. Section 17a-118 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

(a) There shall be a biennial review of the subsidy by the Commissioner of Children and Families in accordance with a schedule established by the commissioner or the commissioner's designee. The adoptive parents shall, at the time of such review, submit a sworn statement that the condition which caused the child to be certified as a special needs child or a related condition continues to exist or has reoccurred and that the adoptive parent or parents are still legally responsible for the support of the child and that the child is receiving support from the adoptive family. If the subsidy is to be terminated or reduced by the Commissioner of Children and Families, notice of such proposed reduction or termination shall be given, in writing, to the adoptive parents and such adoptive parents shall, at least thirty days prior to the imposition of said reduction or termination, be given a hearing before the Adoption Subsidy Review Board. If such an appeal is taken, the subsidy shall continue without modification until the final decision of the Adoption Subsidy Review Board.

(b) A child who is a resident of the state of Connecticut when eligibility for subsidy is certified, shall remain eligible and continue to receive the subsidy regardless of the domicile or residence of the adoptive parents at the time of application for adoption, placement, legal decree of adoption or thereafter. If the Department of Children and Families is responsible for such child's placement and care, the department shall be responsible for entering into an adoption assistance agreement and paying any subsidy granted under the provisions of sections 17a-116 to 17a-120, inclusive. If a licensed child placing agency, other than the Department of Children and Families, or any public agency in another state is responsible for such child's placement and care, the adoption assistance application shall be made in the adoptive parents' state of residence and such state shall be responsible for determining that such child meets Title IV-E adoption assistance criteria and for providing adoption assistance permitted under federal law.

Sec. 4. Section 54-76b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

For the purpose of sections 54-76b to 54-76n, inclusive, "youth" means a minor who has reached the age of sixteen years but has not reached the age of eighteen years or a child who has been transferred to the regular criminal docket pursuant to section 46b-127; and "youthful offender" means a youth who (1) is charged with the commission of a crime which is not a class A felony or a violation of subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of section 53-21, section 53a-70, 53a-70a, 53a-70b, 53a-71, 53a-72a or 53a-72b, except a violation involving consensual sexual intercourse or sexual contact between the youth and another person who is thirteen years of age or older but under sixteen years of age, (2) has not previously been convicted of a felony or been previously adjudged a serious juvenile offender or serious juvenile repeat offender, as defined in section 46b-120, or a youthful offender, or been afforded a pretrial program for accelerated rehabilitation under section 54-56e, and (3) is adjudged a youthful offender pursuant to the provisions of said sections. The Interstate Compact [on Juveniles, except the provisions of article four thereof,] for Adult Offender Supervision under section 54-133 shall apply to youthful offenders. [to the same extent as to minors below sixteen years of age. ]

Sec. 5. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2003) (a) The Commissioner of Children and Families shall ensure that a child placed in the care and custody of the commissioner pursuant to an order of temporary custody or an order of commitment is provided visitation with such child's parents and siblings, unless otherwise ordered by the court.

(b) The commissioner shall ensure that such child's visits with his or her parents shall occur as frequently as reasonably possible, based upon consideration of the best interests of the child, including the age and developmental level of the child, and shall be sufficient in number and duration to ensure continuation of the relationship.

(c) If such child has an existing relationship with a sibling and is separated from such sibling as a result of intervention by the commissioner including, but not limited to, placement in a foster home or in the home of a relative, the commissioner shall, based upon consideration of the best interests of the child, ensure that such child has access to and visitation rights with such sibling throughout the duration of such placement. In determining the number, frequency and duration of such visits, the commissioner shall consider the best interests of each sibling, given each child's age and developmental level and the continuation of the sibling relationship.

(d) The commissioner shall include in each child's plan of treatment information relating to the factors considered in making visitation determinations pursuant to this section. If the commissioner determines that such visits are not in the best interests of the child or that the number, frequency or duration of the visits requested by the child's attorney or guardian ad litem is not in the best interests of the child, the commissioner shall include the reasons for such determination in the child's plan of treatment.

Sec. 6. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2003) The Commissioner of Children and Families shall (1) require each applicant for a position with the department to state in writing whether such person has ever been convicted of a crime or whether criminal charges are pending against such person at the time such person submits an application, and (2) require each applicant to submit to state and national criminal history records checks, in accordance with section 29-17a of the general statutes. The commissioner shall also check the state child abuse registry established pursuant to section 17a-101k of the general statutes for the name of such applicant for perpetrator information.

Sec. 7. Section 17a-114 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

(a) (1) No child in the custody of the Commissioner of Children and Families shall be placed with any person, unless such person is licensed by the department for that purpose. Any person licensed by the department to accept placement of a child is deemed to be licensed to accept placement as a foster family or prospective adoptive family. The commissioner shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, to establish the licensing procedures and standards.

(2) The commissioner shall require each applicant for licensure pursuant to this section and any person sixteen years of age or older living in the household of such applicant to submit to state and national criminal history records checks prior to issuing a license to such applicant to accept placement of a child. Such criminal history records checks shall be conducted in accordance with section 29-17a. The commissioner shall also check the state child abuse registry established pursuant to section 17a-101k for the name of such applicant and for the name of any person sixteen years of age or older living in the household of such applicant for perpetrator information.

(b) Notwithstanding the requirements of subsection (a) of this section, the commissioner may place a child with a relative who is not licensed for a period of up to ninety days when such placement is in the best interests of the child, provided a satisfactory home visit is conducted, a basic assessment of the family is completed and such relative attests that such relative and any adult living within the household have not been convicted of a crime or arrested for a felony against a person, for injury or risk of injury to or impairing the morals of a child, or for the possession, use or sale of a controlled substance. Any such relative who accepts placement of a child in excess of such ninety-day period shall be subject to licensure by the commissioner, except that any such relative who, prior to July 1, 2001, had been certified by the commissioner to provide care for a related child may continue to maintain such certification if such relative continues to meet the regulatory requirements and the child remains in such relative's care. The commissioner may grant a waiver, for a child placed with a relative, on a case-by-case basis, from such procedure or standard, except any safety standard, based on the home of the relative and the needs and best interests of such child. The reason for any waiver granted shall be documented. The commissioner shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, to establish certification procedures and standards for a caretaker who is a relative of such child.

[(c) The Commissioner of Children and Families, when conducting any criminal history records check, shall arrange for the fingerprinting or for the conducting of any other method of positive identification required by the State Police Bureau of Identification or the Federal Bureau of Identification. The fingerprints and other positive identifying information shall be forwarded to the State Police Bureau of Identification, which shall conduct a state criminal history records check and submit the fingerprints or other identifying information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a national criminal history records check. The commissioner shall also check the state child abuse registry established pursuant to section 17a-101k for the name of such applicant or licensee. ]

Sec. 8. Section 17a-151 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

(a) The Commissioner of Children and Families shall investigate the conditions stated in each application made under the provisions of [section] sections 17a-145 and 17a-149 and shall require any person identified on the application under said [section] sections to submit to state and national criminal history records checks. The commissioner shall investigate the conditions in each application under the provisions of [section] sections 17a-145 and 17a-149 and, if the commissioner finds such conditions suitable for the proper care of children, or for the placing out of children, under such standards for the promotion of the health, safety, morality and well-being of such children as the commissioner prescribes, shall issue such license as is required as promptly as possible, without expense to the licensee. If, after such investigation, the commissioner finds that the applicant, notwithstanding good faith efforts, is not able to fully comply with all the requirements the commissioner prescribes, but compliance can be achieved with minimal efforts, the commissioner may issue a provisional license for a period not to exceed sixty days. The provisional license may be renewed for additional sixty-day periods, but in no event shall the total of such periods be for longer than one year. Before issuing any license, the commissioner shall give to the selectmen of the town wherein such licensee proposes to carry on the licensed activity ten days' notice in writing that the issuance of such license is proposed, but such notice shall not be required in case of intention to issue such license to any corporation incorporated for the purpose of caring for or placing such children. Each license so issued shall specify whether it is granted for child-caring or child-placing purposes, shall state the number of children who may be cared for, shall be in force twenty-four months from date of issue, and shall be renewed for the ensuing twenty-four months, if conditions continue to be satisfactory to the commissioner. The commissioner shall also provide such periodical inspections and review as shall safeguard the well-being, health and morality of all children cared for or placed under a license issued by the commissioner under this section and shall visit and consult with each such child and with the licensee as often as the commissioner deems necessary but at intervals of not more than ninety days. Each licensee under the provisions of this section shall file annually with the commissioner a report containing such information concerning its functions, services and operation, including financial data, as the commissioner requires. Any license issued under this section may be revoked, suspended or limited by the commissioner for cause, after notice given to the person or entity concerned and after opportunity for a hearing thereon. Any party whose application is denied or whose license is revoked, suspended or limited by the commissioner may appeal from such adverse decision in accordance with the provisions of section 4-183. Appeals under this section shall be privileged in respect to the order of trial assignment.

(b) The criminal history records checks required pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall be conducted in accordance with section 29-17a.

(c) The commissioner shall adopt regulations, in accordance with chapter 54, to establish a staggered schedule for the renewal of licenses issued pursuant to sections 17a-145 and 17a-149.

Sec. 9. Subsection (a) of section 17b-749k of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

(a) The Commissioner of Social Services shall, within available appropriations, require any person, other than a relative, providing child care services to a child in the child's home who receives a child care subsidy from the Department of Social Services to submit to state and national criminal history records checks. The criminal history records checks required pursuant to this subsection shall be conducted in accordance with section 29-17a. The commissioner shall also request a check of the state child abuse registry established pursuant to section 17a-101k for perpetrator information.

Sec. 10. Section 19a-77a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

(a) Any retail establishment in this state may establish a drop-in supplementary child-care operation on the premises of such retail establishment in accordance with the following requirements:

(1) The hours of operation may only be between six o'clock a. m. and nine o'clock p. m.

(2) No child receiving care shall be less than three years nor more than ten years of age.

(3) A child may not receive more than two hours of care per day.

(4) The operation may immediately notify appropriate law enforcement or state agencies if any child receiving care at such operation is not picked up by a parent or guardian after three hours.

(5) A parent or guardian shall be on the premises at the retail establishment at all times while the child is receiving care.

(6) The retail establishment shall provide a clean and safe area for the drop-in supplementary child-care operation.

(7) At all times the operation shall provide (A) at least one child-care staff person for every ten children, and (B) at least one child-care staff person who is twenty years of age or older who has experience in child care.

(8) The operation shall submit the names of all child-care staff to the Commissioner of Public Health, who shall request a check of such names from the state child abuse registry established pursuant to section 17a-101k for perpetrator information.

(b) Any retail establishment that establishes a drop-in supplementary child-care operation under subsection (a) of this section shall provide the Commissioner of Public Health with written notice of the establishment of such operation. The commissioner may monitor and inspect any such operation and shall investigate any complaint received by the commissioner concerning any such operation.

Sec. 11. Subsection (c) of section 19a-80 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

(c) The Commissioner of Public Health, within available appropriations, shall require each prospective employee of a child day care center or group day care home in a position requiring the provision of care to a child to submit to state and national criminal history records checks. The criminal history records checks required pursuant to this subsection shall be conducted in accordance with section 29-17a. The commissioner shall also request a check of the state child abuse registry established pursuant to section 17a-101k for perpetrator information. Pursuant to the interagency agreement provided for in section 10-16s, the Department of Social Services may agree to transfer funds appropriated for criminal history records checks to the Department of Public Health. The commissioner shall notify each licensee of the provisions of this subsection.

Sec. 12. Subsection (b) of section 19a-87b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

(b) The Commissioner of Public Health, within available appropriations, shall require each initial applicant or prospective employee of a family day care home in a position requiring the provision of care to a child to submit to state and national criminal history records checks. The criminal history records checks required pursuant to this subsection shall be conducted in accordance with section 29-17a. The commissioner shall also request a check of the state child abuse registry established pursuant to section 17a-101k for perpetrator information. The commissioner shall notify each licensee of the provisions of this subsection.

Sec. 13. Section 17a-110 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

(a) As used in this section, "child" means a person under the age of eighteen years; "foster child" means a child placed temporarily in a home, pending permanent placement; "permanent home" means a home for a child with the child's genetic or adoptive parents considered to be such child's permanent residence; and "permanency placement services" means services that are designed and rendered for the purpose of relocating a foster child with such child's legal family or finding a permanent home for such child, including, but not limited to, the following: (1) Treatment services for the child and the genetic family; (2) preplacement planning; (3) appropriate court proceedings to effect permanent placement, including, but not limited to, the following: (A) Termination of parental rights; (B) revocation of commitment; (C) removal or reinstatement of guardianship; (D) temporary custody; (4) recruitment and screening of permanent placement homes; (5) home study and evaluation of permanent placement homes; (6) placement of children in permanent homes; (7) postplacement supervision and services to such homes following finalization of such placements in the courts; and (8) other services routinely performed by caseworkers doing similar work in the Department of Children and Families.

(b) At a hearing held in accordance with subsection (k) of section 46b-129, as amended by this act, and section 17a-111b, the court shall determine the appropriateness of continuing efforts to reunify a child with the child's family. If the court finds that such efforts are not appropriate, the Department of Children and Families shall within sixty days of such finding either (1) file a petition for the termination of parental rights, (2) file a motion to revoke the commitment and vest the custody and guardianship of the child on a permanent or long-term basis in an appropriate individual or couple, or (3) file a written permanency plan with the court for permanent or long-term foster care, which plan shall include an explanation of the reason that neither termination of parental rights nor custody and guardianship is appropriate for the child. The court shall promptly convene a hearing for the purpose of reviewing such written plan. When the court finds that the efforts to reunify a child with the child's family are not appropriate, the department shall use its best efforts to maintain such child in the initial out-of-home placement, provided the department determines that such placement is in the best interests of the child, until such time as a permanent home for the child is found or the child is placed for adoption. If the permanency plan calls for placing the child for adoption or in some other permanent home, good faith efforts shall be made to place the child for adoption or in some other alternative home.

(c) Not later than January 1, 2000, the Department of Children and Families shall adopt regulations in accordance with chapter 54 to establish standards for permanency plans which shall include, but not be limited to: (1) Assessment of kin, foster parents or other potential adoptive parents for adopting a child; (2) preparing children for adoption; (3) collaboration between family foster care services and adoption services; (4) transracial and cross-racial adoption; (5) open adoption; and (6) foster care and adoption subsidies.

(d) Not later than January 1, 2000, the Department of Children and Families shall, within available appropriations, establish and maintain (1) a central registry of all children for whom a permanency plan has been formulated and in which adoption is recommended, and (2) a system to monitor the progress in implementing the permanency plan for such children.

(e) Whenever the Commissioner of Children and Families deems it necessary or advisable in order to carry out the purposes of this section, the commissioner may contract with any private child-placing agency, as defined in section 45a-707, for a term of not less than three years and not more than five years, to provide any one or more permanency placement services on behalf of the Department of Children and Families. Whenever any contract is entered into under this section which requires private agencies to perform casework services, such as the preparation of applications and petitions for termination of parental rights, guardianship or other custodial matters, or which requires court appearances, the Attorney General shall provide legal services for the Commissioner of Children and Families notwithstanding that some of the services have been performed by caseworkers of private agencies, except that no such legal services shall be provided unless the Commissioner of Children and Families is a legal party to any court action hereunder.

(f) The Commissioner of Children and Families may accept funds from any source to implement the provisions of this section.

Approved July 9, 2003