Judiciary Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-155

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING PROBATE COURTS.

Vote Date:

4/1/2014

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

2/24/2014

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Probate Court Administration brought these issues to the attention of the Judiciary Committee.

REASONS FOR BILL:

This legislation will clarify circumstances under which the legal relationship between a biological parent and adult son or daughter is not terminated when the child is adopted by another person. This bill also, establishes that a biological parent relationship with the adoptee is not terminated if he or she joins in the adoption agreement between the adult son or daughter and the adoptive parent. The bill establishes that a biological parent's relationship with the adoptee is not terminated if he or she joins in the adoption agreement between the adult son or daughter and the adoptive parent. Lastly, this legislation establishes a framework by which the probate court can exercise existing jurisdiction under federal immigration law, which permits state courts to make findings of fact that a family can use to apply for Special Immigration Juvenile Status (SIJS) with US Immigration so that they legally remain in this country.

SUBSTITUTE LANGUAGE::

The substitute language corrects an incorrect reference to the subsection regarding the court making written findings on the petition.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Office of the Probate Court Administrator, Paul J. Knierim, Probate Court Adminstrator: Supports the bill. He testified that Sections 1 and 2 of the bill deal with statutes governing adult adoption. Sections 3-6, update the statues governing intestate children born out wedlock. Sections 8 and 9 establish a statutory framework by which the Probate Courts can exercise available immigration law that pertains to children's matters. This section also, gives families the ability to make findings of facts that they can use to apply for Special Immigrant Juvenile Services. A person who is granted SIJS status is able to remain legally in the United States.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Center for Children's Advocacy, Edwin Colon, Staff Attorney: Testified in support of Sections 8 and 9 of the bill. He told the story of a boy from Honduras who was abandoned at birth, and then abused and neglected by his many caregivers. The young man walked for weeks and jumped trains on his quest to reach the United States. This act will codify federal language pertaining to Special Immigrant Juvenile Status into the Connecticut General Statutes. The purpose of the federal language is to protect children who have been abandoned, abused or neglected to “regularize” their immigration status. 'These statutory changes will provide children with increased access to protection under existing federal law”.

Dolman Higueros: Testified in support of Sections 8 and 9 of SB 151 He also, told a story of abuse and abandonment, by his father and his journey to be with his mother in the United States.

Christina Coke: Testified in support of Sections 8 and 9 of SB 151. She told the story of how her mother sent her to live with relatives when she was only one month old and over several years lived with several different families. She didn't meet her father until she was 12 years old. He died soon after they met. If it wasn't for her teachers taking her in she would have had no place to live. Subsequently, the niece of one of her teachers, Charmaine, took care of her basic needs and visited her often in Jamaica. Charmaine then started the process to bring her to the United States. In the meantime her mother gave up her parental rights but it took so long that Charmaine could not petition her as an adopted child. With the help of the Center for Children's Advocacy she was able to have Charmaine appointed as her legal guardian. She believes that the passage of SB 151 will allow children and youth the ability to find their permanent family and to be able to stay with them forever.

Robinson & Cole, Megan R. Naughton, Esq.: She testified in support of the bill. She related that her most rewarding cases were those of foreign born children in the US without status who have escaped abuse or neglect from one or both parents. US laws offer a path to permanent residence for children who qualify for Special Immigration Juvenile Status. “It is critical that the appropriate language is used to help children who are eligible for this status”.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None Submitted

Reported by: Allan D. Spotts

Date: April 15, 2014