Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Proposed Bill No. 5421

 

January Session, 2009

 

LCO No. 472

   

Referred to Committee on Human Services

 

Introduced by:

 

REP. ORANGE, 48th Dist.

REP. JARMOC, 59th Dist.

 

AN ACT CONCERNING PROCEEDINGS AND OPERATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES.

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

That the general statutes be amended to: (1) Require the Department of Correction, when entering into a contract for the operation of a residential facility for persons under the department's supervision that previously operated under a license issued by the Commissioner of Children and Families, to notify the chief executive officer of the municipality in which the facility is located of the change in operations at the facility; (2) require any employee of the Department of Children and Families, who has reasonable cause to believe that another employee has engaged in the unauthorized disclosure of confidential department records, to report the unauthorized disclosure to the Commissioner of Children and Families and extend whistleblower protections for an employee making such a report; (3) require that any ex parte custody order or court order to appear for a temporary custody hearing on a petition for a neglected, uncared-for or dependent child or youth, held pursuant to section 46b-129 of the general statutes, contain a conspicuous notice to the respondent parent or guardian that the parent or guardian may request that the Commissioner of Children and Families investigate the suitability of placing the child or youth with a person related to the child or youth and also to require the commissioner to investigate the suitability of such placement and to provide a report to the court; (4) require the court, when holding a temporary custody hearing pursuant to section 46b-129 of the general statutes, to identify any person related to the child or youth who might serve as a temporary custodian; (5) require the court, when holding a temporary custody hearing pursuant to section 46b-129 of the general statutes, to grant a motion to intervene filed by a person related to the child or youth not later than ninety days after the preliminary hearing, except for good cause shown, if the Commissioner of Children and Families has determined that there is no suitable relative to take temporary custody and the court has not granted temporary custody to any person; (6) require the Commissioner of Children and Families to conduct a home study of any person granted intervenor status in a proceeding held pursuant to section 46b-129 of the general statutes and, upon completion of the home study, require the court to hold a hearing concerning temporary custody by a relative of the child or youth; (7) require any person objecting to the temporary custody of a child or youth by a relative of the child or youth, at a hearing held pursuant to section 46b-129 of the general statutes, to prove by a fair preponderance of the evidence that granting temporary custody to such relative would not be in the best interest of the child or youth; (8) provide for a rebuttable presumption in certain cases where a child or youth is adjudged uncared-for, neglected or dependent, commitment of the child or youth to the custody of the Department of Children and Families has been revoked or parental rights have been terminated, that an award of custody to a relative of the child or youth, who is licensed as a foster parent or certified as a relative caregiver for such child or youth or is the temporary custodian of the child or youth, is in the child's or youth's best interest; (9) provide for a rebuttable presumption in a proceeding where the court has determined that a child or youth has no guardian that an award of temporary custody to a relative of the child of youth is in the child's or youth's best interest; and (10) prohibit the drawing of a negative inference in certain administrative and court proceedings from the fact that a parent has applied for the voluntary admission of his or her child to the Department of Children and Families under subsection (a) of section 17a-11 of the general statutes.

Statement of Purpose:

To improve the proceedings and operations of the Department of Children and Families.