Connecticut Seal

Substitute House Bill No. 5011

Public Act No. 06-102

AN ACT CONCERNING FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE FOR STATE EMPLOYEES, SERVICES FOR INDIVIDUALS EIGHTEEN YEARS OF AGE AND OLDER IN THE CARE AND SUPERVISION OF THE COMMISSIONER OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES, PERMANENCY PLANS FOR CHILDREN, AND EMPLOYMENT ACCOMMODATIONS FOR MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY.

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

Section 1. Subsection (a) of section 5-248a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2006):

(a) For purposes of this section, "child" means a biological, adopted or foster child, stepchild, child of whom a person has legal guardianship or custody, or, in the alternative, a child of a person standing in loco parentis, who is (1) under eighteen years of age, or (2) eighteen years of age or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability. Each permanent employee, as defined in subdivision [(21)] (20) of section 5-196, shall be entitled to [the following: (1) A maximum of twenty-four weeks of family leave of absence within any two-year period] a family leave of absence upon the birth or adoption of a child of such employee, or upon the serious illness of a child, spouse or parent of such employee; and [(2) a maximum of twenty-four weeks of medical leave of absence within any two-year period] a medical leave of absence upon the serious illness of such employee or in order for such employee to serve as an organ or bone marrow donor. The total amount of time that an employee is entitled to for leaves of absence pursuant to this section shall be twenty-four weeks within any two-year period. Any such leave of absence shall be without pay. Upon the expiration of any such leave of absence, the employee shall be entitled (A) to return to the employee's original job from which the leave of absence was provided or, if not available, to an equivalent position with equivalent pay, except that in the case of a medical leave, if the employee is medically unable to perform the employee's original job upon the expiration of such leave, the Personnel Division of the Department of Administrative Services shall endeavor to find other suitable work for such employee in state service, and (B) to all accumulated seniority, retirement, fringe benefit and other service credits the employee had at the commencement of such leave. Such service credits shall not accrue during the period of the leave of absence.

Sec. 2. Subsection (g) of section 17a-11 of the 2006 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(g) Notwithstanding any provision of sections 17a-1 to 17a-26, inclusive, and 17a-28 to 17a-49, inclusive, as amended, [to the contrary,] any person already under the care and supervision of the Commissioner of Children and Families who has passed such person's eighteenth birthday but has not yet reached such person's twenty-first birthday [,] may be permitted to remain voluntarily under the supervision of the commissioner, provided [said] the commissioner, in [said] the commissioner's discretion, determines that such person would benefit from further care and support from the Department of Children and Families. Any person remaining voluntarily under the supervision of the commissioner pursuant to this subsection shall be entitled to a written plan for care and treatment, and review of such plan, in accordance with section 17a-15.

Sec. 3. Subsection (a) of section 17a-3 of the 2006 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) The department shall plan, create, develop, operate or arrange for, administer and evaluate a comprehensive and integrated state-wide program of services, including preventive services, for children and youth whose behavior does not conform to the law or to acceptable community standards, or who are mentally ill, including deaf and hearing impaired children and youth who are mentally ill, emotionally disturbed, substance abusers, delinquent, abused, neglected or uncared for, including all children and youth who are or may be committed to it by any court, and all children and youth voluntarily admitted to, or remaining voluntarily under the supervision of, the [department] commissioner for services of any kind. Services shall not be denied to any such child or youth solely because of other complicating or multiple disabilities. The department shall work in cooperation with other child-serving agencies and organizations to provide or arrange for preventive programs, including but not limited to teenage pregnancy and youth suicide prevention, for children and youth and their families. The program shall provide services and placements that are clinically indicated and appropriate to the needs of the child or youth. In furtherance of this purpose, the department shall: (1) Maintain the Connecticut Juvenile Training School and other appropriate facilities exclusively for delinquents; (2) develop a comprehensive program for prevention of problems of children and youth and provide a flexible, innovative and effective program for the placement, care and treatment of children and youth committed by any court to the department, transferred to the department by other departments, or voluntarily admitted to the department; (3) provide appropriate services to families of children and youth as needed to achieve the purposes of sections 17a-1 to 17a-26, inclusive, 17a-28 to 17a-49, inclusive, as amended, and 17a-51; (4) establish incentive paid work programs for children and youth under the care of the department and the rates to be paid such children and youth for work done in such programs and may provide allowances to children and youth in the custody of the department; (5) be responsible to collect, interpret and publish statistics relating to children and youth within the department; (6) conduct studies of any program, service or facility developed, operated, contracted for or supported by the department in order to evaluate its effectiveness; (7) establish staff development and other training and educational programs designed to improve the quality of departmental services and programs, provided no social worker trainee shall be assigned a case load prior to completing training, and may establish educational or training programs for children, youth, parents or other interested persons on any matter related to the promotion of the well-being of children, or the prevention of mental illness, emotional disturbance, delinquency and other disabilities in children and youth; (8) develop and implement aftercare and follow-up services appropriate to the needs of any child or youth under the care of the department; (9) establish a case audit unit to monitor each area office's compliance with regulations and procedures; (10) develop and maintain a database listing available community service programs funded by the department; (11) provide outreach and assistance to persons caring for children whose parents are unable to do so by informing such persons of programs and benefits for which they may be eligible; and (12) collect data sufficient to identify the housing needs of children served by the department and share such data with the Department of Economic and Community Development.

Sec. 4. Section 17a-91 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2006):

The Commissioner of Children and Families shall report, on February fifteenth annually, to the Governor and to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to human services, the judiciary and human rights and opportunities, with respect to the status, (1) as of the January first preceding, of all children committed to the commissioner's custody, including in such report the date of commitment with respect to each child, and (2) of the central registry and monitoring system established in accordance with subsection [(d)] (c) of section 17a-110, as amended by this act.

Sec. 5. Section 17a-110 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2006):

(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 or the child's legal guardian 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 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)] (b) 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)] (c) 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)] (d) 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] that 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] that 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] under this section.

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

Sec. 6. Section 17a-111b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2006):

(a) The Commissioner of Children and Families shall make reasonable efforts to reunify a parent with a child unless the court (1) determines that such efforts are not required pursuant to subsection (b) of this section or subsection (j) of section 17a-112, as amended by this act, or (2) has approved a permanency plan other than reunification pursuant to subsection (k) of section 46b-129, as amended by this act.

[(a)] (b) The Commissioner of Children and Families or any other party may, at any time, [petition] file a motion with the court for a determination [on whether] that reasonable efforts to reunify the parent with the child are [appropriate] not required. The court shall hold an evidentiary hearing on the [petition within thirty days of] motion not later than thirty days after the filing of the [petition] motion or may consolidate the hearing with a trial on a petition to terminate parental rights pursuant to section 17a-112, as amended by this act. The court may determine that such efforts are not [appropriate] required if the court finds upon clear and convincing evidence that: (1) The parent has subjected the child to the following aggravated circumstances: (A) The child has been abandoned, as defined in subsection (j) of section 17a-112, as amended by this act; or (B) the parent has inflicted or knowingly permitted another person to inflict sexual molestation or exploitation or severe physical abuse on the child or engaged in a pattern of abuse of the child; (2) the parent has killed, through deliberate, nonaccidental act, another child of the parent or a sibling of the child, or has [required] requested, commanded, importuned, attempted, conspired or solicited to commit or knowingly permitted another person to commit the killing of the child, another child of the parent or sibling of the child, or has committed or knowingly permitted another person to commit an assault, through deliberate, nonaccidental act, that resulted in serious bodily injury of the child, another child of the parent or a sibling of the child; (3) the parental rights of the parent to a sibling have been [involuntarily] terminated within three years of the filing of a petition pursuant to this section, provided the commissioner has made reasonable efforts to reunify the parent with the child during a period of at least ninety days; (4) the parent was convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction of sexual assault, except a conviction of a violation of section 53a-71 or 53a-73a resulting in the conception of the child; or (5) the child was placed in the care and control of the commissioner pursuant to the provisions of sections 17a-57 to 17a-61, inclusive.

[(b)] (c) If the court [determined] determines that such efforts are not [appropriate] required, the court shall, at such hearing or at a hearing held not later than thirty days [from] after such determination, approve a permanency plan for such child. [which] The plan may include (1) adoption and a requirement that the commissioner file a petition to terminate parental rights, (2) long-term foster care [, independent living,] with a relative licensed as a foster parent or certified as a relative caregiver, (3) transfer of guardianship, or [adoption] (4) such other planned permanent living arrangement as may be ordered by the court, provided the commissioner has documented a compelling reason why it would not be in the best interests of the child for the permanency plan to include one of the options set forth in subdivisions (1) to (3), inclusive, of this subsection. The child's health and safety shall be of paramount concern in formulating such plan.

(d) If the court determines that reasonable efforts to reunify the parent with the child are not required, the Department of Children and Families shall use its best efforts to maintain the 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 permanent home.

Sec. 7. Subsection (j) of section 17a-112 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2006):

(j) The Superior Court, upon [hearing and] notice and hearing 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 (1) the Department of Children and Families has made reasonable efforts to locate the parent and to reunify the child with the parent in accordance with subsection (a) of section 17a-111b, as amended by this act, unless the court finds in this proceeding that the parent is unable or unwilling to benefit from reunification efforts, [provided] except that 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, as amended by this act, or determines at trial on the petition, that such efforts are not [appropriate, (2) that] required, (2) termination is in the best interest of the child, and (3) [that: ] (A) [The] 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, as amended by this act, 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] except that 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.

Sec. 8. Subsection (o) of section 17a-112 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2006):

(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] not later than thirty days [of] after 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] and conduct a permanency hearing pursuant to subsection (k) of section 46b-129, as amended by this act, for the purpose of reviewing the permanency 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, as amended by this act, whichever is earlier, and at least once a year thereafter [until the court determines that the adoption plan has become finalized] while the child remains in the custody of the Commissioner of Children and Families. 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.

Sec. 9. Section 46b-129 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2006):

(a) Any selectman, town manager, or town, city [,] or borough welfare department, any probation officer, or the Commissioner of Social Services, the Commissioner of Children and Families or any child-caring institution or agency approved by the Commissioner of Children and Families, a child or such child's representative or attorney or a foster parent of a child, having information that a child or youth is neglected, uncared-for or dependent, may file with the Superior Court [which] that has venue over such matter a verified petition plainly stating such facts as bring the child or youth within the jurisdiction of the court as neglected, uncared-for [,] or dependent, within the meaning of section 46b-120, as amended, the name, date of birth, sex [,] and residence of the child or youth, the name and residence of such child's parents or guardian, and praying for appropriate action by the court in conformity with the provisions of this chapter. Upon the filing of such a petition, except as otherwise provided in subsection (k) of section 17a-112, the court shall cause a summons to be issued requiring the parent or parents or the guardian of the child or youth to appear in court at the time and place named, which summons shall be served not less than fourteen days before the date of the hearing in the manner prescribed by section 46b-128, and [said] the court shall further give notice to the petitioner and to the Commissioner of Children and Families of the time and place when the petition is to be heard not less than fourteen days prior to the hearing in question.

(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 in some suitable agency or person the child's or youth's temporary care and custody pending disposition of the petition, or (B) issue an order ex parte vesting in some suitable agency or person the child's or youth's temporary care and custody. A preliminary hearing on any ex parte custody order or order to appear issued by the court shall be held [within] not later than ten days [from] 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; and (vi) 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 [therefor] 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.

(c) In any proceeding under this section, any grandparent of the child may make a motion to intervene and the court shall grant such motion except for good cause shown. Upon the granting of such motion, such grandparent may appear by counsel or in person.

(d) The preliminary hearing on the order of temporary custody or order to appear or the first hearing on a petition filed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall be held in order for the court to: (1) Advise the parent or guardian of the allegations contained in all petitions and applications that are the subject of the hearing; (2) assure that an attorney, and where appropriate, a separate guardian ad litem has been appointed to represent the child or youth in accordance with [section] sections 46b-129a and [section] 46b-136; (3) upon request, appoint an attorney to represent the respondent when the respondent is unable to afford representation, as determined by the court; (4) advise the parent or guardian of the right to a hearing on the petitions and applications, to be held [within] not later than ten days [from] after the date of the preliminary hearing if the hearing is pursuant to an order of temporary custody or an order to show cause; (5) accept a plea regarding the truth of such allegations; (6) make any interim orders, including visitation, that the court determines are in the best interests of the child or youth. The court, after a hearing pursuant to this subsection, shall order specific steps the commissioner and the parent or guardian shall take for the parent or guardian to regain or to retain custody of the child or youth; (7) take steps to determine the identity of the father of the child or youth, including ordering genetic testing, if necessary, and order service of the petition and notice of the hearing date, if any, to be made upon him; (8) if the person named as the father appears, and admits that he is the father, provide him and the mother with the notices [which] that comply with section 17b-27 and provide them with the opportunity to sign a paternity acknowledgment and affirmation on forms [which] that comply with section 17b-27. [These] Such documents shall be executed and filed in accordance with chapter 815y and a copy delivered to the clerk of the superior court for juvenile matters; and (9) in the event that the person named as a father appears and denies that he is the father of the child or youth, advise him that he may have no further standing in any proceeding concerning the child, and either order genetic testing to determine paternity or direct him to execute a written denial of paternity on a form promulgated by the Office of the Chief Court Administrator. Upon execution of such a form by the putative father, the court may remove him from the case and afford him no further standing in the case or in any subsequent proceeding regarding the child or youth until such time as paternity is established by formal acknowledgment or adjudication in a court of competent jurisdiction.

(e) If any parent or guardian fails, after service of such order, to appear at the preliminary hearing, the court may enter or sustain an order of temporary custody.

(f) Upon request, or upon its own motion, the court shall schedule a hearing on the order for temporary custody or the order to show cause to be held [within] not later than ten days [from] after the date of the preliminary hearing. Such hearing shall be held on consecutive days except for compelling circumstances or at the request of the parent or guardian.

(g) At a contested hearing on the order for temporary custody or order to appear, credible hearsay evidence regarding statements of the child or youth made to a mandated reporter or to a parent may be offered by the parties and admitted by the court upon a finding that the statement is reliable and trustworthy and that admission of such statement is reasonably necessary. A signed statement executed by a mandated reporter under oath may be admitted by the court without the need for the mandated reporter to appear and testify unless called by a respondent or the child, provided the statement: (1) Was provided at the preliminary hearing and promptly upon request to any counsel appearing after the preliminary hearing; (2) reasonably describes the qualifications of the reporter and the nature of his contact with the child; and (3) contains only the direct observations of the reporter, and statements made to the reporter that would be admissible if the reporter were to testify to them in court and any opinions reasonably based thereupon. If a respondent or the child gives notice at the preliminary hearing that he intends to cross-examine the reporter, the person filing the petition shall make the reporter available for such examination at the contested hearing.

(h) If any parent or guardian fails, after due notice of the hearing scheduled pursuant to subsection (g) of this section and without good cause, to appear at the scheduled date for a contested hearing on the order of temporary custody or order to appear, the court may enter or sustain an order of temporary custody.

(i) When a petition is filed in said court for the commitment of a child or youth, the Commissioner of Children and Families shall make a thorough investigation of the case and shall cause to be made a thorough physical and mental examination of the child or youth if requested by the court. The court after hearing may also order a thorough physical or mental examination, or both, of a parent or guardian whose competency or ability to care for a child or youth before the court is at issue. The expenses incurred in making such physical and mental examinations shall be paid as costs of commitment are paid.

(j) Upon finding and adjudging that any child or youth is uncared-for, neglected or dependent, the court may commit such child or youth to the Commissioner of Children and Families. Such commitment shall remain in effect until further order of the court, [pursuant to the provisions of subsection (k) of this section, provided] except that such commitment may be revoked or parental rights terminated at any time by the court, or the court may vest such child's or youth's care and personal custody in any private or public agency [which] that is permitted by law to care for neglected, uncared-for or dependent children or youth or with any person or persons found to be suitable and worthy of such responsibility by the court. The court shall order specific steps [which] that the parent must take to facilitate the return of the child or youth to the custody of such parent. The commissioner shall be the guardian of such child or youth for the duration of the commitment, provided the child or youth has not reached the age of eighteen years or, in the case of a child or youth in full-time attendance in a secondary school, a technical school, a college or a state-accredited job training program, provided such child or youth has not reached the age of twenty-one years, by consent of such youth, or until another guardian has been legally appointed, and in like manner, upon such vesting of the care of such child or youth, such other public or private agency or individual shall be the guardian of such child or youth until such child or youth has reached the age of eighteen years or, in the case of a child or youth in full-time attendance in a secondary school, a technical school, a college or a state-accredited job training program, until such child or youth has reached the age of twenty-one years or until another guardian has been legally appointed. [Said] The commissioner may place any child or youth so committed to the commissioner in a suitable foster home or in the home of a person related by blood to such child or youth or in a licensed child-caring institution or in the care and custody of any accredited, licensed or approved child-caring agency, within or without the state, provided a child shall not be placed outside the state except for good cause and unless the parents or guardian of such child are notified in advance of such placement and given an opportunity to be heard, or in a receiving home maintained and operated by the Commissioner of Children and Families. In placing such child or youth, [said] the commissioner shall, if possible, select a home, agency, institution or person of like religious faith to that of a parent of such child or youth, if such faith is known or may be ascertained by reasonable inquiry, provided such home conforms to the standards of said commissioner and the commissioner shall, when placing siblings, if possible, place such children together. As an alternative to commitment, the court may place the child or youth in the custody of the parent or guardian with protective supervision by the Commissioner of Children and Families subject to conditions established by the court. Upon the issuance of an order committing the child or youth to the Commissioner of Children and Families, or not later than sixty days after the issuance of such order, the court shall [make a determination] determine 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.

(k) (1) Nine months after placement of the child or youth in the care and custody of the commissioner pursuant to a voluntary placement agreement, or removal of a child or youth pursuant to section 17a-101g, as amended, or an order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction, whichever is earlier, the commissioner shall file a motion for review of a permanency plan. [and to maintain or revoke the commitment. ] Nine months after a permanency plan has been approved by the court pursuant to this subsection, the commissioner shall file a motion for review of the permanency plan. [and to maintain or revoke the commitment. ] Any party seeking to oppose the commissioner's permanency plan [or the maintaining or revocation of commitment] shall file a motion in opposition [within] not later than thirty days after the filing of the commissioner's motion for review of the permanency plan, [and to maintain or revoke commitment] which motion shall include the reason therefor. A permanency hearing on any motion for review of the permanency plan [and to maintain or revoke commitment] shall be held [within] not later than ninety days [of] after the filing of such motion. The court shall hold evidentiary hearings in connection with any contested motion for review of the permanency plan. [and to maintain or revoke commitment. The burden of proof shall be upon the commissioner to establish that the commitment should be maintained. ] The commissioner shall have the burden of proving that the proposed permanency plan is in the best interests of the child or youth. After the initial permanency hearing, subsequent permanency hearings shall be held not less frequently than every twelve months while the child or youth remains in the custody of the Commissioner of Children and Families. The court shall provide notice to the child or youth, and the parent or guardian of such child or youth of the time and place of the court hearing on any such motion not less than fourteen days prior to such hearing.

[(2) At a permanency hearing held in accordance with the provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection, the court shall determine whether it is appropriate to continue to make reasonable efforts to reunify the child or youth with the parent, unless the court has previously determined that such efforts are not appropriate pursuant to this subdivision or section 17a-111b. In making this determination, the court shall consider the best interests of the child, including the child's need for permanency. If the court finds upon clear and convincing evidence that further efforts are not appropriate, the commissioner has no duty to make further efforts to reunify the child or youth with the parent. If the court finds that further efforts are appropriate, such efforts shall ensure that the child or youth's health and safety are protected and such efforts shall be specified by the court, including the services to be provided to the parent, what steps the parent may take to address the problem that prevents the child or youth from safely reuniting with the parent and a time period, not longer than six months, for such steps to be accomplished. ]

[(3)] (2) At a permanency hearing held in accordance with the provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection, the court shall approve a permanency plan that is in the best interests of the child or youth and takes into consideration the child's or youth's need for permanency. The child's or youth's health and safety shall be of paramount concern in formulating such plan. Such permanency plan may include the goal of (A) revocation of commitment and [placement] reunification of the child or youth with the parent or guardian, with or without protective supervision; (B) transfer of guardianship; (C) long-term foster care with a relative licensed as a foster parent or certified as a relative caregiver; (D) adoption and filing of termination of parental rights; or (E) such other planned permanent living arrangement ordered by the court, provided the Commissioner of Children and Families has documented a compelling reason why it would not be in the best interest of the child or youth for the permanency plan to include the goals in subparagraphs (A) to (D), inclusive, of this subdivision. Such other planned permanent living arrangement may include, but not be limited to, placement of a child or youth in an independent living program or long term foster care with an identified foster parent.

[(4)] (3) At a permanency hearing held in accordance with the provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection, the court shall review the status of the child, the progress being made to implement the permanency plan, determine a timetable for attaining the permanency plan, determine the services to be provided to the parent if the court approves a permanency plan of reunification and the timetable for such services, and determine whether the commissioner has made reasonable efforts to achieve the permanency plan. [The court shall maintain commitment if it is in the best interests of the child or youth. ] The court [shall] may revoke commitment if a cause for commitment no longer exists and it is in the best interests of the child or youth.

[(5)] (4) If the court approves the permanency plan of adoption: (A) The Commissioner of Children and Families shall file a petition for termination of parental rights not later than sixty days after such approval if such petition has not previously been filed; (B) the commissioner may conduct a thorough adoption assessment and child-specific recruitment; and [(B)] (C) the court may order that the child be photo-listed within thirty days if the court determines that such photo-listing is in the best interest of the child. As used in this subdivision, "thorough adoption assessment" means conducting and documenting face-to-face interviews with the child, foster care providers [,] and other significant parties and "child specific recruitment" means recruiting an adoptive placement targeted to meet the individual needs of the specific child, including, but not limited to, use of the media, use of photo-listing services and any other in-state or out-of-state resources that may be used to meet the specific needs of the child, unless there are extenuating circumstances that indicate that [these] such efforts are not in the best interest of the child.

(l) The Commissioner of Children and Families shall pay directly to the person or persons furnishing goods or services determined by said commissioner to be necessary for the care and maintenance of such child or youth the reasonable expense thereof, payment to be made at intervals determined by said commissioner; and the Comptroller shall draw his order on the Treasurer, from time to time, for such part of the appropriation for care of committed children or youth as may be needed in order to enable the commissioner to make such payments. [Said] The commissioner shall include in [his] the department's annual budget a sum estimated to be sufficient to carry out the provisions of this section. Notwithstanding that any such child or youth has income or estate, the commissioner may pay the cost of care and maintenance of such child or youth. The commissioner may bill to and collect from the person in charge of the estate of any child or youth aided under this chapter, including his decedent estate, or the payee of such child's or youth's income, the total amount expended for care of such child or youth or such portion thereof as any such estate or payee is able to reimburse.

(m) The commissioner, a parent or the child's attorney may file a motion to revoke a commitment, and, upon finding that cause for commitment no longer exists, and that such revocation is in the best [interest and welfare] interests of such child or youth, the court may revoke the commitment of [any] such child or youth. No such motion shall be filed more often than once every six months.

(n) Upon service on the parent, guardian or other person having control of the child or youth of any order issued by the court pursuant to the provisions of subsections (b) and (j) of this section, the child or youth concerned shall be surrendered to the person serving the order who shall forthwith deliver the child or youth to the person, agency, department or institution awarded custody in [such] the order. Upon refusal of the parent, guardian or other person having control of the child or youth to surrender the child or youth as provided in the order, the court may cause a warrant to be issued charging the parent, guardian or other person having control of the child or youth with contempt of court. If the person arrested is found in contempt of court, the court may order such person confined until [he purges himself of contempt] the person complies with the order, but for not more than six months, or may fine such person not more than five hundred dollars, or both.

(o) A foster parent shall have the right to be heard for the purposes of this section in Superior Court on a motion for review of a permanency plan and in matters concerning the placement or revocation of commitment of a foster child living with such parent. A foster parent shall receive notice of any motion for review of a permanency plan or a motion to revoke commitment or any hearing on such motion. A foster parent who has cared for a child or youth for not less than six months shall have the right to be heard and comment on the best interests of such child or youth in any matter under this section which is brought not more than one year after the last day the foster parent provided such care.

(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.

(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. 10. Section 17a-42 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2006):

(a) There is established within the Department of Children and Families a photo-listing service which shall include, but need not be limited to, a book and an electronic format containing a photograph and description of each child to be photo-listed. Such book and its electronic format shall be distributed to all child care and child-placing agencies, as such terms are defined in section 45a-707, and to other organizations concerned with adoption. Such photo-listing service shall recruit adoptive families for children who are legally free for adoption under section 45a-725, and have remained in foster care or institutions for a period of thirty days or more, such thirty days to include any period of foster or institutional care immediately preceding the date on which such child was legally free for adoption. Such photo-listing service may recruit prospective adoptive families for children who are not yet legally free for adoption under section 45a-725, provided the court has approved a permanency plan for adoption pursuant to subdivision [(3)] (4) of subsection (k) of section 46b-129, as amended by this act. The Commissioner of Children and Families shall employ under the commissioner's direction and control such persons as the commissioner deems necessary for the effective performance of such photo-listing service.

(b) Under sections 17a-112, as amended by this act, and 45a-717, the court may order that a child be photo-listed [within] not later than thirty days [of] after the termination of parental rights as a condition of granting an order of termination of parental rights if the court determines that it is in the best interests of the child. Under subdivision [(3)] (4) of subsection (k) of section 46b-129, as amended by this act, the court may order that a child be photo-listed [within] not later than thirty days [of] after the approval of a permanency plan for adoption if the court determines that it is in the best interest of the child. The court shall not order that a child twelve years of age or older be photo-listed unless [such] the child consents to such photo-listing.

(c) [Said] The commissioner shall adopt regulations, in accordance with [the provisions of] chapter 54, to implement and maintain [a] the photo-listing service established in this section. Such regulations shall include, but not be limited to, procedures for registration of children with the photo-listing service and format and media selection for presenting photo-listed children to the public. The commissioner shall, within available appropriations, (1) establish, maintain and distribute a photo-listing service book, [. The commissioner, within available appropriations, shall] and (2) contract with a nonprofit agency to establish and maintain the photo-listing service in its electronic format.

Sec. 11. Subsection (a) of section 2-3a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2006):

(a) No employer of twenty-five or more persons shall discriminate against, discipline or discharge any employee because such employee (1) is a candidate for the office of representative or senator in the General Assembly, (2) holds such office, (3) is a member-elect to such office, or (4) loses time from work in order to perform duties as such representative, senator or member-elect, provided the failure of such employer to pay wages or salaries for any such time lost shall not be considered a violation of this section. Such employee shall solely determine the activities which constitute duties as such representative, senator or member-elect, as applicable, as provided in this section. No employee under this section shall lose any seniority status which may have accrued to him. [and, where] Where the function of such employee is performed in work shifts, such employee shall be given a choice of shifts, provided such choice of shifts shall be given at a time that reasonably allows adjustment of the schedules of the employee and employer to accommodate both the duties of such employee as a representative, senator or member-elect and the proper functioning of the employer's operations, taking into account the timeframes within which meetings and hearings of the General Assembly are scheduled. During any regular legislative session, the employee shall not be required to choose a shift more than two weeks in advance of the time such shift is to be worked and, during any special legislative session, the employee shall not be required to choose a shift more than one week in advance of the time such shift is to be worked.

Sec. 12. Subdivision (11) of section 31-51kk of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2006):

(11) "Son or daughter" means a biological, adopted or foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or, in the alternative, a child of a person standing in loco parentis, who is (A) under eighteen years of age; or (B) eighteen years of age or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.

Approved June 2, 2006