CHAPTER 319a
CHILD WELFARE

Table of Contents

Sec. 17a-98a. Kinship navigator program. Annual report.
Sec. 17a-112. (Formerly Sec. 17-43a). Termination of parental rights of child committed to commissioner. Cooperative postadoption agreements. Placement of child from another state. Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.
Sec. 17a-114. (Formerly Sec. 17-43c). Licensing of persons for child placement required. Criminal history records checks. Exemption for temporary placement of children with relatives, nonrelatives and special study foster parents. Regulations.
Sec. 17a-126. Subsidized guardianship program.
Sec. 17a-145. (Formerly Sec. 17-48). Licensing of child-care facilities. Exemptions. Annual report.

PART I
DEPENDENT AND NEGLECTED CHILDREN

      Sec. 17a-98a. Kinship navigator program. Annual report. (a) The Department of Children and Families, in consultation with the Departments of Social Services, Mental Health and Addiction Services and Developmental Services, shall establish, within available appropriations, a kinship navigator program. Such program shall ensure that: (1) When the Department of Children and Families determines that it is in the best interest of the child to be placed with a relative for foster care, the department informs the relative regarding procedures to become licensed as a foster parent, and (2) grandparents and other relatives caring for a minor child are provided with information on the array of state services and benefits for which they may be eligible, including the subsidy program established pursuant to section 17a-126. The Commissioner of Children and Families shall, within available appropriations, ensure that information on the array of services available under the kinship navigator program is accessible through the 2-1-1 Infoline program.

      (b) Not later than January 1, 2008, and annually thereafter, the Commissioner of Children and Families shall report, in accordance with section 11-4a, on the implementation of the kinship navigator program to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to human services.

      (P.A. 03-42, S. 1; P.A. 06-182, S. 2; P.A. 07-73, S. 2(a); 07-174, S. 2.)

      History: P.A. 06-182 designated existing provisions as Subsec. (a) and amended same to change program name from "kinship foster care program" to "kinship navigator program", add consultative role for Departments of Social Services, Mental Health and Addiction Services and Mental Retardation in establishment of program, and require that program ensure grandparents and other relatives are provided with information on array of state services for which they may be eligible and that information is accessible through 2-1-1 Infoline program, and added Subsec. (b) requiring Commissioner of Children and Families to report annually on program to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to human services; pursuant to P.A. 07-73 "Department of Mental Retardation" was changed editorially by the Revisors to "Department of Developmental Services", effective October 1, 2007; P.A. 07-174 amended Subsec. (a)(2) to delete "related to such persons" and change "child" to "minor child".

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      Sec. 17a-112. (Formerly Sec. 17-43a). Termination of parental rights of child committed to commissioner. Cooperative postadoption agreements. Placement of child from another state. Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

      Subsec. (j):

      Subdiv. (3): Although "serious physical injury" in Subpara. (F) is not defined in statute, the court looked to its commonly approved usage, which is its dictionary definition; when applied to circumstances of this case, there is ample evidence that the child's physical injury, a broken elbow caused by respondent mother who threw her young child across the floor and failed to seek medical attention for her injury for almost five days after the assault, was serious since the assault caused a severe fracture to child's elbow, required casting and caused distress to the child for at least three weeks after the assault. 97 CA 748.


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      Sec. 17a-114. (Formerly Sec. 17-43c). Licensing of persons for child placement required. Criminal history records checks. Exemption for temporary placement of children with relatives, nonrelatives and special study foster parents. Regulations. (a) As used in this section, "licensed" means a person holds a license issued by the Department of Children and Families to provide foster care, including foster care of a specific child, and "special study foster parent" means a person who is twenty-one years of age or older and who does not hold a license issued by the Department of Children and Families to provide foster care.

      (b) (1) No child in the custody of the Commissioner of Children and Families shall be placed with any person, unless such person is licensed for that purpose by the department or the Department of Developmental Services pursuant to the provisions of section 17a-227, or such person's home is approved by a child placing agency licensed by the commissioner pursuant to section 17a-149. Any person licensed by the department may be a prospective adoptive parent. 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.

      (c) Notwithstanding the requirements of subsection (b) of this section, the commissioner may place a child with a relative who is not licensed, a nonrelative, if such child's sibling who is related to the caregiver is also placed with such caregiver or, if the child is ten years of age or older, with a special study foster parent 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, nonrelative or special study foster parent attests that such relative, nonrelative or special study foster parent and any adult living within the household has 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, nonrelative or special study foster parent 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 from such procedure or standard, except any safety standard, 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 in writing. The commissioner shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, to establish certification procedures and standards for a caregiver under this section. For purposes of this subsection, "sibling" includes a stepbrother, stepsister, half-brother or half-sister.

      (P.A. 88-332, S. 1, 4; P.A. 93-91, S. 1, 2; P.A. 94-216, S. 2, 4; P.A. 99-166, S. 5; P.A. 01-70, S. 1, 2; 01-142, S. 11; 01-159, S. 4; P.A. 03-243, S. 7; P.A. 04-88, S. 1; P.A. 05-207, S. 6; 05-246, S. 12; P.A. 07-8, S. 1; 07-73, S. 2(a).)

      History: Sec. 17-43c transferred to Sec. 17a-114 in 1991; P.A. 93-91 substituted commissioner and department of children and families for commissioner and department of children and youth services, effective July 1, 1993; P.A. 94-216 required a relative to be licensed by the commissioner of children and families before having a child placed in his custody, required placements beyond such 45-day period to be subject to certification by the commissioner, and required the commissioner to adopt regulations to establish certification procedures for a caretaker who is a relative of such child, effective June 7, 1994; P.A. 99-166 amended Subsec. (a) by adding provision that any person licensed by department to accept placement of child is deemed to be licensed to accept placement as foster family or prospective adoptive family and provision re criminal records check by commissioner to be criminal records check requested from state police and FBI; P.A. 01-70 amended Subsec. (b) to allow commissioner to place a child with an unlicensed relative for a period of up to 90 days, in lieu of 45 days, when such placement is in the best interests of the child, to delete requirement that placements with a relative beyond the 45-day period be subject to certification by commissioner, to require licensure for any such relative who accepts placement of a child in excess of the 90-day period with an exception, and to authorize commissioner to grant a waiver, for a child placed with a relative, from a procedure or standard other than a safety standard based on relative's home and needs and best interests of the child, requiring that reason for any waiver granted be documented, effective July 1, 2001; P.A. 01-142 reinstated former Subsec. (b) re placements that was deleted by P.A. 01-159, including changes made by P.A. 01-70, and redesignated Subsec. (b) added by P.A. 01-159 as Subsec. (c); P.A. 01-159 amended Subsec. (a) by deleting provision re criminal records check, deleted existing Subsec. (b) re placements and added new Subsec. (b) re criminal history records checks; P.A. 03-243 amended Subsec. (a) by designating existing provisions as Subdiv. (1) and adding Subdiv. (2) re criminal history records checks and child abuse registry checks for applicants and persons 16 or older living in household of applicants and deleted former Subsec. (c) re fingerprinting of applicants and criminal history records and child abuse registry checks; P.A. 04-88 added new Subsec. (a) defining "licensed" and "special study foster parent" for purposes of section, allowed commissioner to place children 14 years of age or older with special study foster parents, required reasons for waivers to be in writing and redesignated existing Subsecs. (a) and (b) as new Subsecs. (b) and (c), respectively; P.A. 05-207 amended Subsec. (b)(2) to delete requirement that commissioner check state child abuse registry for perpetrator information; P.A. 05-246 amended Subsec. (b)(1) to require that persons be licensed by Department of Mental Retardation pursuant to Sec. 17a-227 or that person's home is approved by child placing agency licensed pursuant to Sec. 17a-149, effective July 8, 2005; P.A. 07-8 amended Subsec. (c) to lower the age of children placed with special study foster parents from 14 to 10 years of age and to permit placement of a child with an unlicensed nonrelative for a period of 90 days if the child's sibling who is related to the caregiver is also placed with such caregiver; pursuant to P.A. 07-73 "Department of Mental Retardation" was changed editorially by the Revisors to "Department of Developmental Services", effective October 1, 2007.

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      Sec. 17a-126. Subsidized guardianship program. (a) As used in this section, "relative caregiver" means a person who is caring for a child related to such person because the parent of the child has died or become otherwise unable to care for the child for reasons that make reunification with the parent not a viable option within the foreseeable future and "commissioner" means the Commissioner of Children and Families.

      (b) The Commissioner of Children and Families shall establish a program of subsidized guardianship for the benefit of children in the care or custody of the commissioner who are living with relative caregivers and who have been in foster care or certified relative care for not less than eighteen months. The commissioner, within available appropriations, shall establish a program of subsidized guardianship for the benefit of children in the care or custody of the commissioner who are living with relative caregivers and who have been in foster care or certified relative care for not less than six but not more than eighteen months. A relative caregiver may request a guardianship subsidy from the commissioner. If adoption of the child by the relative caregiver is an option, the commissioner shall counsel the caregiver about the advantages and disadvantages of adoption and subsidized guardianship so that the decision by the relative caregiver to request a subsidized guardianship may be a fully informed one.

      (c) If a relative caregiver who is receiving a guardianship subsidy for a related child is also caring for the child's sibling who is not related to the caregiver, (1) the commissioner shall provide a guardianship subsidy to such relative caregiver if the sibling has been in foster care for not less than eighteen months, and (2) the commissioner shall, within available appropriations, provide a guardianship subsidy to such relative caregiver if the sibling has been in foster care for not less than six months but not more than eighteen months. For purposes of this subsection, "child's sibling" includes a stepbrother, stepsister, a half-brother or a half-sister.

      (d) The commissioner shall provide the following subsidies under the subsidized guardianship program in accordance with this section and the regulations adopted pursuant to subsection (e) of this section: (1) A special-need subsidy, which shall be a lump sum payment for one-time expenses resulting from the assumption of care of the child when no other resource is available to pay for such expense; and (2) a medical subsidy comparable to the medical subsidy to children in the subsidized adoption program if the child lacks private health insurance. The subsidized guardianship program shall also provide a monthly subsidy on behalf of the child payable to the relative caregiver that shall be equal to the prevailing foster care rate. The commissioner may establish an asset test for eligibility under the program.

      (e) The commissioner shall adopt regulations, in accordance with chapter 54, implementing the subsidized guardianship program established under this section. Such regulations shall require, as a prerequisite to payment of a guardianship subsidy for the benefit of a minor child, that a home study report be filed with the court having jurisdiction of the case of the minor not later than fifteen days after the date of the request for a subsidy, provided no such report shall be required to be filed if a report has previously been provided to the court or if the caregiver has been determined to be a certified relative caregiver by the commissioner. The regulations shall also establish a procedure comparable to that for the subsidized adoption program to determine the types and amounts of subsidy to be granted by the commissioner as provided in subsection (d) of this section, for annual review of the subsidy as provided in subsection (f) of this section and for appeal from decisions by the commissioner denying, modifying or terminating such subsidies.

      (f) The guardianship subsidy provided under this section shall continue until the child reaches the age of eighteen or the age of twenty-one if such child is in full time attendance at a secondary school, technical school or college or is in a state accredited job training program. Annually, the subsidized guardian shall submit to the commissioner a sworn statement that the child is still living with and receiving support from the guardian. The parent of any child receiving assistance through the subsidized guardianship program shall remain liable for the support of the child as required by the general statutes.

      (g) A guardianship subsidy shall not be included in the calculation of household income in determining eligibility for benefits of the relative caregiver of the subsidized child or other persons living within the household of the relative caregiver.

      (h) Payments for guardianship subsidies shall be made from moneys available from any source to the commissioner for child welfare purposes. The commissioner shall develop and implement a plan that: (1) Maximizes use of the subsidized guardianship program to decrease the number of children in the legal custody of the Commissioner of Children and Families and to reduce the number of children who would otherwise be placed into foster care when there is a family member willing to provide care; (2) maximizes federal reimbursement for the costs of the subsidized guardianship program, provided whatever federal maximization method is employed shall not result in the relative caregiver of a child being subject to work requirements as a condition of receipt of benefits for the child or the benefits restricted in time or scope other than as specified in subsection (c) of this section; and (3) ensures necessary transfers of funds between agencies and interagency coordination in program implementation. The Commissioner of Children and Families shall seek all federal waivers as are necessary and appropriate to implement this plan.

      (P.A. 97-272, S. 7, 9; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 98-1, S. 90, 121; P.A. 99-251, S. 1, 2; P.A. 05-254, S. 1; P.A. 07-174, S. 1; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 07-5, S. 38.)

      History: P.A. 97-272, S. 7 effective July 1, 1997 (Revisor's note: In Subsec. (e) the nonexistent word "chid" was replaced editorially by the Revisors with "child" to correct a typographical error); June Sp. Sess. P.A. 98-1 made a technical change in Subsec. (a), effective June 24, 1998; P.A. 99-251 amended Subsec. (b) by making children living with relatives who have been in foster or certified relative care for less than 18 months eligible for a subsidy and amended Subsec. (d) by deleting an obsolete reference to the date by which regulations have to be adopted, effective July 1, 1999; P.A. 05-254 lowered threshold from not less than twelve to not less than 6 months for children living with relative caregivers and who have been in foster care or certified relative care in Subsec. (b); P.A. 07-174 amended Subsec. (b) by making subsidized guardianship program mandatory rather than permissive for children who have been in foster care or certified relative care for not less than six but not more than eighteen months, added new Subsec. (c) making siblings of children living with relative caregivers eligible for subsidy, redesignated existing Subsecs. (c) to (g) as Subsecs. (d) to (h), substituted "commissioner" for "subsidized guardianship program" and replaced "for the benefit of any child in the care of a relative caregiver who has been appointed the guardian or coguardian of the child by any court of competent jurisdiction" with "under the subsidized guardianship program in accordance with this section and the regulations adopted pursuant to subsection (e) of this section" in Subsec. (d), and substituted "not later than fifteen days after the date of the request" for "within fifteen days of the request" in Subsec. (e); June Sp. Sess. P.A. 07-5 made technical changes in Subsec. (e).

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PART II
CHILD-CARE FACILITIES AND CHILD-PLACING AGENCIES

      Sec. 17a-145. (Formerly Sec. 17-48). Licensing of child-care facilities. Exemptions. Annual report. No person or entity shall care for or board a child without a license obtained from the Commissioner of Children and Families, except: (1) When a child has been placed by a person or entity holding a license from the commissioner; (2) any residential educational institution exempted by the state Board of Education under the provisions of section 17a-152; (3) residential facilities licensed by the Department of Developmental Services pursuant to section 17a-227; (4) facilities providing child day care services, as defined in section 19a-77; or (5) any home that houses students participating in a program described in subparagraph (B) of subdivision (8) of section 10a-29. The person or entity seeking a child-care facility license shall file with the commissioner an application for a license, in such form as the commissioner furnishes, stating the location where it is proposed to care for such child, the number of children to be cared for, in the case of a corporation, the purpose of the corporation and the names of its chief officers and of the actual person responsible for the child. The Commissioner of Children and Families is authorized to fix the maximum number of children to be boarded and cared for in any such home or institution or by any person or entity licensed by the commissioner. Each person or entity holding a license under the provisions of this section shall file annually, with the commissioner, a report stating the number of children received and removed during the year, the number of deaths and the causes of death, the average cost of support per capita and such other data as the commissioner may prescribe. If the population served at any facility, institution or home operated by any person or entity licensed under this section changes after such license is issued, such person or entity shall file a new license application with the commissioner, and the commissioner shall notify the chief executive officer of the municipality in which the facility is located of such new license application, except that no confidential client information may be disclosed.

      (1949 Rev., S. 2638; 1961, P.A. 601, S. 1; P.A. 73-62, S. 1, 3; P.A. 75-420, S. 4, 6; P.A. 77-614, S. 521, 610; P.A. 78-108, S. 1, 4; P.A. 79-631, S. 71, 111; P.A. 82-261, S. 1, 6; P.A. 85-56; P.A. 93-91, S. 1, 2; P.A. 96-194, S. 8; P.A. 05-71, S. 1; 05-246, S. 13; P.A. 07-73, S. 2(a); 07-252, S. 62.)

      History: 1961 act deleted requirement that annual report be filed, but see Sec. 17-50; P.A. 73-62 included commissioner of children and youth services in licensing authority, added provisions re annual report and clarified powers of children and youth services commissioner; P.A. 75-420 replaced welfare commissioner with commissioner of social services; P.A. 77-614 replaced social services commissioner with commissioner of human resources, effective January 1, 1979; P.A. 78-108 required license for nonexempt residential educational institutions; P.A. 79-631 deleted reference to commissioner of human resources and obsolete limitation on powers of children and youth services commissioner; P.A. 82-261 provided the exemption for family day care homes; P.A. 85-56 replaced an exception for family day care homes with the exception for facilities providing child day care services; Sec. 17-48 transferred to Sec. 17a-145 in 1991; P.A. 93-91 substituted commissioner and department of children and families for commissioner and department of children and youth services, effective July 1, 1993; P.A. 96-194 replaced obsolete language categorizing entities which may care for or board a child with new provisions and made technical corrections; P.A. 05-71 made a technical change and added requirements that new license application be filed with commissioner if population at facility, institution or home changes and that commissioner notify chief executive officer of municipality in which facility located of such application; P.A. 05-246 added new Subdiv. (3) re exception for residential facilities licensed by Department of Mental Retardation pursuant to Sec. 17a-227, redesignated existing Subdiv. (3) as Subdiv. (4) and made a technical change; pursuant to P.A. 07-73 "Department of Mental Retardation" was changed editorially by the Revisors to "Department of Developmental Services", effective October 1, 2007; P.A. 07-252 added Subdiv. (5) re exemption for homes that house students participating in the "A Better Chance" program or similar programs, effective July 1, 2007.

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