PA 04-238—sHB 5572

Select Committee on Children

Appropriations Committee

Legislative Management Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING CHILD POVERTY AND THE USE OF PSYCHOTROPIC MEDICATIONS WITH CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN STATE CARE

SUMMARY: This act establishes a Child Poverty Council composed of legislative leaders, the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) secretary, executive agency heads, and other state officials to develop a plan to reduce the number of children living in poverty in Connecticut by 50% by July 1, 2014. It must submit the plan to various legislative committees by January 1, 2005 and then report annually on its implementation. The council terminates on June 30, 2015.

The act also requires the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to (1) establish guidelines for using and managing psychotropic drugs with children and youth in its care and (2) establish and maintain a data base to track the use of such drugs among children and youth committed to it by a court. It must do these tasks within available resources and with the help of the UConn Health Center.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage for the Child Poverty Council and plan; October 1, 2004 for the DCF drug tracking.

CHILD POVERTY REDUCTION PLAN

Child Poverty Council

The act establishes the Child Poverty Council. The council consists of the House speaker and minority leader, the Senate president pro tempore and minority leader, the OPM secretary, and:

1. the commissioners of children and families, social services, correction, public health, mental retardation, mental health and addiction services, health care access, economic and community development, transportation, education, and labor;

2. the Board of Governors of Higher Education, Children’s Trust Fund, and State Prevention Council chairmen;

3. the child advocate; and

4. the Children’s Commission executive director.

The secretary, or his designee, is the council chairman. He is responsible for coordinating the council’s activities, including scheduling and presiding over meetings and hearings.

The act does not appropriate funds for the council, but it permits it to accept and use funds from public and private sources.

Plan Contents

The council must develop a 10-year plan to reduce the number of children living in poverty in Connecticut. The plan must:

1. identify and analyze the occurrence of child poverty in the state;

2. analyze the long-term effects of child poverty on children, their families, and their communities and its costs to the state and towns;

3. inventory statewide public and private programs that address child poverty, analyze their deficiencies or inefficiencies, and identify the percentage of the target populations they serve and their current state funding levels; and

4. contain procedures and priorities for implementing strategies to achieve the 50% reduction.

The procedures and priorities for child poverty reduction strategies must include:

1. vocational training and placement to promote career progress for parents of children living in poverty;

2. education, including higher education, preliteracy, literacy, and family literacy;

3. housing for parents and children;

4. day care, after-school, and mentoring programs for children and single parents;

5. access to health care, including mental health and family planning;

6. treatment programs and services for children and parents, including those for substance abuse; and

7. accessible child nutrition programs.

In developing the plan, the council must consult with experts, service providers, and parents of children living in poverty. It must also hold at least one public hearing on the plan and may, based on the hearing testimony, make any modifications to the plan that it deems needed.

Reporting

The council must submit its plan, including recommendations for legislation and funding, to the Appropriations, Human Services, and Children’s committees by January 1, 2005. It must then report annually to these committees on the plan’s implementation and the extent to which state actions conform to it. The first report is due by January 1, 2006.