PA 05-250—sHB 6978

Judiciary Committee

Appropriations Committee

Human Services Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING CHILDREN OF FAMILIES WITH SERVICE NEEDS

SUMMARY: This act prohibits (1) holding a child whose family has been adjudicated as a “family with service needs” (FWSN) in juvenile detention or (2) adjudicating them delinquent solely for violating a court’s FWSN order. Judges could previously place children charged with violating a FWSN order in juvenile detention facilities and juvenile probation officers determined whether a delinquency petition should be filed.

By law, judges cannot order out-of-home placements or commitment to the Department of Children and Families for FWSN children unless they find there is no less restrictive alternative appropriate to the child’s and community’s needs.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007

BACKGROUND

Family With Service Needs

A “family with service needs” is a family that includes a child who (1) has, without just cause, run away from the parental home or other properly authorized and lawful place of abode; (2) is beyond the control of the child’s parent, parents, guardian, or other custodian; (3) has engaged in indecent or immoral conduct; (4) is a truant or habitual truant or who, while in school, has been continuously and overtly defiant of school rules and regulations; or (5) is age 13 or older and has engaged in sexual intercourse with another person age 13 or older and not more than two years older or younger.

FWSN court orders generally deal with issues related to school attendance, curfews, and substance abuse treatment and counseling.