OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 5642 (as amended by House "A")*

AN ACT CONCERNING THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE JUVENILE JUSTICE POLICY AND OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE.

SUMMARY:

This bill makes several changes affecting juvenile detention and other juvenile justice matters, children returning to school after a juvenile justice placement, and other school disciplinary and related matters. With regard to juvenile detention, it:

1. requires the Court Support Services Division (CSSD) to develop and implement a detention risk assessment instrument and adopt release policies and procedures;

2. limits the conditions under which a child may be detained and allows graduated sanctions as an alternative to detention; and

3. requires CSSD and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to develop and implement a plan to provide community-based services for children leaving juvenile detention.

The bill prohibits state-operated juvenile justice residential facilities from imposing out-of-school suspensions.

It adds the victim advocate, or his designee, to the Juvenile Justice Oversight and Policy Committee (JJPOC). The bill eliminates some of the JJPOC's current reporting responsibilities and requires the committee to report on a plan for a community-based diversion system. It also requires the committee to establish a data integration working group.

The bill makes various changes affecting schools, such as:

1. requiring schools to offer an alternative educational opportunity to a larger category of expelled students;

2. eliminating a child's truancy as permissible grounds for a family with service needs complaint;

3. requiring schools with a disproportionately high truancy rate to implement an approved intervention model; and

4. requiring the State Department of Education (SDE), in collaboration with other agencies, to develop plans on certain matters, such as school-based diversion initiatives and addressing educational deficiencies among children in the juvenile justice system.

The bill also includes provisions on, among other matters, police training, a recidivism reduction framework, and training on and monitoring of de-escalation efforts.

A section-by-section summary appears below.

*House Amendment “A” replaces the underlying bill (File 616). It removes several provisions from the bill, such as those (1) requiring DCF and the JJPOC to develop a plan to close the Connecticut Juvenile Training School and the Pueblo Unit for girls; (2) requiring SDE to develop (a) entrance requirements for referring students involved in the juvenile justice system to appropriate alternative education opportunities and (b) a remediation plan for certain schools, such as those with higher than average expulsion rates; (3) establishing a presumption that it is in the best interest of a child returning from a juvenile justice placement to return to his or her previous school; and (4) continuing the “Raise the Grade” program for Bridgeport, Hartford, and New Haven.

The amendment makes various other changes, such as (1) eliminating and combining certain JJPOC reports and (2) minor and clarifying changes to some of the underlying bill's provisions.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Various, see below.

1 — JUVENILE DETENTION

Juvenile Court Jurisdiction Based on Child's Residence

The bill specifies that the juvenile court where the child resides has jurisdiction over juvenile matters if the child's residence can be determined. By law, when a child is brought before a Superior Court judge, the judge must immediately proceed with the case as a juvenile matter and determine whether to release or detain the child.

Determining Release or Detention

Current law requires an officer who brings a child into detention to first notify, or make a reasonable effort to notify, the child's parents or guardian of the intended action and file, at the detention center, a copy of a signed statement of the child's alleged delinquent conduct. The bill requires the officer to also file the order to detain the child.

Under existing law, the child may be released to the custody of his or her parents, guardian, or other suitable person or agency. Before the child may be released, the bill requires the child to be assessed using CSSD's detention risk assessment instrument and he or she may be released in accordance with CSSD's release policies and procedures (see below). As is the case under existing law, this does not apply if the child was arrested for a serious juvenile offense or an order not to release is noted on the records.

Conditions Under Which a Child May be Placed in Detention

The bill limits the conditions under which the court may issue an order to detain a child in a juvenile detention center to (1) when an arresting officer requests it or (2) after a detention hearing.

Under existing law, unchanged by the bill, a child may not be placed in detention unless a Superior Court judge determines based on available facts, that there is:

1. probable cause to believe that the child has committed the acts alleged;

2. no less restrictive alternative available;

3. a need to hold the child to ensure his or her appearance before the court, as demonstrated by the child's previous failure to respond to the court process; and

4. a need to hold the child for another jurisdiction.

The bill allows the judge to also issue an order to detain the child if the judge determines that there is probable cause to believe that the child will pose a risk to public safety if released to the community before the court hearing or disposition. Current law also allows the judge to issue an order to detain the child if the judge determines that there is:

1. a strong probability that the child will run away before the court hearing or disposition,

2. a strong probability that the child will commit or attempt to commit other offenses injurious to the child or to the community before the court disposition,

3. probable cause to believe that the child's continued residence in his or her home pending disposition poses a risk to the child or the community because of the serious and dangerous nature of the act or acts the child is alleged to have committed, or

4. a finding by the court that the child has violated any condition of a suspended detention order.

Detention Period

The bill establishes the maximum amount of time a child may be held in detention. An order to detain a child must not exceed the shorter of seven days or until the dispositional hearing. After a detention review hearing, a renewal period must not exceed the same time limit.

Suspended Detention With Graduated Sanctions

Under the bill, the court, as an alternative to detention, may issue a suspended detention order with graduated sanctions imposed based on the CSSD detention risk assessment instrument described below.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2017

2 — CSSD DETENTION RISK ASSESSMENT INSTRUMENT

Development, Implementation, and Use

The bill requires CSSD, by January 1, 2017, to develop and implement a detention risk assessment instrument. CSSD must use the instrument to determine, based on the risk level, whether there is:

1. probable cause to believe that a child will pose a risk to public safety if released to the community before a court hearing or disposition or

2. a need to hold the child in order to ensure the child's appearance before the court, given the child's previous failure to respond to the court process.

Under the bill, a detention screening is subject to the confidentiality protections noted below (see 4).

Assessing Whether a Child Should be Detained

Under the bill, the court must use the detention risk assessment instrument when assessing whether a child should be detained.

If it appears from the available facts that there is probable cause to believe a child has violated a valid court order, the court, after administering the detention risk assessment instrument, may order the child to participate in:

1. nonresidential programs for intensive wraparound services,

2. community-based residential services for short-term respite, or

3. other services and interventions the court deems appropriate.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

3 — CSSD RELEASE POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

The bill requires CSSD, by January 1, 2017, to adopt policies and procedures setting out the parameters under which the division's staff may release a child from detention. The division may update the parameters as it deems necessary.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

4 — PROTECTION OF INFORMATION OBTAINED THROUGH DETENTION SCREENING

Under the bill, any information about a child obtained during a detention screening must be used only for planning and treatment purposes. Otherwise, it must generally remain confidential and be kept in the files of the entity providing the screening. It may be further disclosed for limited purposes, including a court-ordered evaluation or treatment or mandated reporter laws.

The bill also provides that any such information obtained during the administration of the detention screening instrument described above must be used only to make a recommendation to the court about the child's detention. The information is not subject to subpoena or other court process for use in any other proceeding, or for any other purpose.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2017

5 — CSSD AND DCF - COMMUNITY-BASED SERVICES PLAN

Plan Development

The bill requires the CSSD executive director and the DCF commissioner, by October 1, 2016, to jointly develop a plan to provide community-based services to children diverted or released from juvenile detention.

The plan must be based on DCF's existing comprehensive behavioral health implementation plan and must address children's needs regarding:

1. behavioral health;

2. intervention, in a case of family violence; and

3. the identification and resolution of behavioral factors exhibited by a child who may run away.

The community-based services may include assessment centers, intensive care coordination, and respite beds.

Plan Implementation and Report to JJPOC

The bill requires the executive director and the commissioner to (1) implement the plan by July 1, 2017 and (2) report to JJPOC on the plan's implementation by January 1, 2017. (Presumably this is an implementation progress report.)

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

6 — JUVENILE COURT'S AUTHORITY

Under current law, in delinquency proceedings, the court may make and enforce any order it deems necessary or appropriate to (1) punish the child and (2) deter the child from committing more delinquent acts. Under the bill, the purpose of the court's orders must instead be to (1) provide individualized supervision, care, accountability, and treatment to the child in a manner consistent with public safety and (2) ensure that the child is responsive to the court process.

Under the law, unchanged by the bill, the court has authority to make and enforce orders that, among other things, ensure the safety of others and provide restitution to victims.

By law, the court has authority to grant and enforce temporary and permanent injunctive relief in all juvenile proceedings.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016

7-9 — TRUANCY

Family with Service Needs

The bill eliminates, from the permissible grounds for a family with service needs (FWSN) complaint, a child being a truant, habitual truant, or continuously and overtly defying school rules and regulations. It makes corresponding changes by eliminating requirements that:

1. school notices on unexcused absences for K-8 students contain a warning that a specified number of such absences may lead to a FWSN complaint and

2. superintendents file a FWSN complaint within 15 calendar days after a parent or other person with control of a child (a) fails to attend a meeting with school officials to discuss the child's truancy or (b) otherwise fails to cooperate in addressing the child's school absences.

Under existing law, a student is a truant if he or she has four unexcused absences in a month or 10 unexcused absences in a school year.

EFFECTIVE DATE: August 15, 2017

Effective Truancy Intervention Models

The bill requires SDE to identify effective truancy intervention models for school boards to implement as set forth below. By August 15, 2017, SDE must make available a list of the models it approves.

Existing law requires school boards to adopt and implement policies and procedures on truancy. The bill requires the policies and procedures to include, by August 15, 2018, implementing an approved truancy intervention model at any school with a disproportionately high truancy rate. The SDE commissioner must determine which schools have such a truancy rate.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage, except August 15, 2017 for the provision on school boards adding truancy intervention models to their truancy policies.

10 — POLICE TRAINING ON HANDLING JUVENILE MATTERS

Under existing law, police basic training programs must include training on handling juvenile matters, including at least:

1. 27 hours of such training, if the program is conducted or administered by the State Police, and

2. 14 hours of such training, if the program is conducted or administered by the Police Officer Standards and Training Council or a local police department.

Police review training programs by any such entity must include one hour of this training.

The bill extends these requirements to police field training programs. It also adds the following to the required training components:

1. using graduated sanctions,

2. techniques for handling trauma,

3. restorative justice practices,

4. adolescent development,

5. risk-assessment and screening tools, and

6. emergency mobile psychiatric services.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2017

11 — SCHOOL-BASED DIVERSION INITIATIVES

The bill requires SDE, DCF, the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), and CSSD, by August 15, 2017, to develop a plan with cost options for school-based diversion initiatives to reduce juvenile justice involvement among children with mental health needs. The initiatives are for schools and districts with high rates of school-based arrests, disproportionate minority contact (i.e., a disproportionate number of minority group members coming into contact with the juvenile justice system), and a high number of juvenile justice referrals, as the SDE commissioner determines.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

12 — SCHOOL EXPULSION

The bill makes various changes concerning school expulsion. By law, an “expulsion” is the exclusion from school privileges for between 11 days and one year.

Notice of Hearing and Right to an Attorney or Advocate

By law, except in emergencies, a school board must hold a formal hearing before expelling a student. If the student is a minor, the school board must give the parent or guardian notice of the hearing.

The bill requires school boards to provide the notice to the student's parent or guardian at least five business days before the hearing. It requires the notice to include information on the parent's or guardian's and student's legal rights. The law already requires the notice to include information on free or low-cost legal services and how to obtain them.

The bill specifies that an attorney or advocate may represent any student subject to expulsion proceedings. It allows the parent or guardian to postpone the hearing for up to one week to provide time to find representation, except in emergencies.

Under existing law and the bill, in an emergency, the hearing must be held as soon after expulsion as possible. An emergency is when the student's continued presence poses such a danger or disruption as to require a pre-hearing exclusion from school, with the hearing held as soon as possible after the exclusion.

Alternative Education for Expelled Students

Existing law requires school boards to offer an alternative educational opportunity to expelled students under age 16. Generally, students between ages 16 and 18 who are expelled for the first time must also be offered this opportunity, if they comply with conditions set by the school board.

The bill applies an existing definition of “alternative education” to these provisions. Under this definition, an alternative education is a school or program maintained and operated by a school board that is offered to students in a nontraditional setting and addresses their social, emotional, behavioral, and academic needs.

Under the bill, school boards must offer an individualized learning plan as part of the alternative education for expelled students under age 16.

The bill also expands the category of expelled students who must be offered an alternative educational opportunity. It does so by repealing a provision that allows school boards to deny this opportunity to a student between ages 16 and 18 who is expelled for conduct that endangered others and involved the following, on school grounds or at a school-sponsored event:

1. possession of a firearm, deadly weapon, dangerous instrument, or martial arts weapon or

2. offering an illegal drug for sale or distribution.

Reports to Police

Under current law, if a student is expelled for possessing a firearm or deadly weapon, the school board must report the violation to the local police, or the State Police if the student was enrolled in a technical high school. The bill specifies that this reporting requirement also applies to expulsions for possessing dangerous instruments or martial arts weapons. (Generally, “dangerous instruments” are those that can be used to cause death or serious physical injury.)

Returning to School After Placement in the Juvenile Justice System

Under the bill, if a student who committed an expellable offense was not expelled and is seeking to return to school after participating in a diversionary program, the school district must (1) allow the student to re-enroll and (2) not expel the student for additional time for the offense. This already applies to such students seeking to re-enroll after placement in a juvenile detention center, the Connecticut Juvenile Training School, or any other residential placement.

EFFECTIVE DATE: August 15, 2017

13 — OUT-OF-SCHOOL SUSPENSIONS IN JUVENILE JUSTICE RESIDENTIAL FACILITIES

The bill prohibits facilities operated by DCF, the Department of Correction (DOC), or CSSD from imposing an out-of-school suspension on a child residing in the facility. This provision does not prevent these facilities from removing a child from a classroom for therapeutic purposes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2017

14 — PLAN FOR EDUCATIONAL NEEDS OF CHILDREN IN THE JUSTICE SYSTEM AND REENTERING THE COMMUNITY

The bill requires SDE, DCF, DOC, and the judicial branch, by August 15, 2017, to collaborate to develop and submit a plan to the JJPOC for assessing and addressing the individualized educational needs and deficiencies of children in the justice system and those reentering the community from public and private juvenile justice and correctional facilities. The plan must be implemented within available resources and have an implementation date of August 15, 2018 or earlier.

In developing the plan, the departments and the branch must research nationally recognized models for effective educational programming continuity for children in the justice system and incorporate these models, as appropriate, into the implementation plan. They also must consult with local and regional school boards to identify (1) appropriate assessment tools to be used consistently to measure the educational performance of such children and those transitioning into and from juvenile justice and correctional facilities and (2) professional development specifically designed for educators who work with children in the justice system.

In January 2017, they must make an oral report to the JJPOC on their progress.

The implementation plan must include:

1. increased collaboration, monitoring, and accountability among state agencies and between state agencies and school boards to improve educational service delivery and outcomes for children in the justice system and those transitioning from out-of-state and private juvenile justice and correctional facilities, including promptly sharing education records;

2. providing for children involved in the justice system and those transitioning out of juvenile justice and correctional facilities, and their parents or guardians, to have input into education plans the state and school boards develop for these children;

3. establishing transition teams to reintegrate children exiting residential facilities by helping them have a timely and effective reconnection with educational and alternative education services provided by the applicable school board, and coordinating the identification and adequate provision of any special education needs of the child;

4. designating a reentry liaison for each school board for children returning to the district to expedite their enrollment, who will provide that they receive appropriate academic credit for work performed while in the juvenile justice system; and

5. the costs for implementing an array of research-supported academic and vocational transitional supports, including tutors, educational surrogates, coaches, and advocates.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

15 — RECIDIVISM REDUCTION FRAMEWORK

The bill requires DCF and the judicial branch, by January 1, 2017, to work with private service providers to adopt and adhere to an empirically supported recidivism reduction framework for the juvenile justice system. The framework must:

1. include risk and needs assessment tools,

2. use treatment matching protocols that assess a child's needs and the risks a child faces,

3. use cross-agency measurements of program outcomes and training and quality assurance processes,

4. use program and practice monitoring and accountability,

5. draw from best and evidence-based practices from an inventory DCF and the judicial branch annually update, and

6. ensure sufficient contract and quality assurance capacity and shared training between agencies and private providers.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

16 — DCF AND JUDICIAL BRANCH STAFF TRAINING AND DATA MONITORING

The bill requires DCF and the judicial branch, by January 1, 2017, to:

1. develop, provide, and monitor staff training on policies and practices in secure and congregate care settings that promote de-escalation;

2. monitor and track successful and unsuccessful de-escalation efforts used in these settings;

3. collect baseline data on the number and rate of arrests in these settings, tracked by race and gender and whether the child is considered at risk for recidivism; and

4. track and analyze recidivism rates of all children involved with the juvenile justice system.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

17 — OPM TRACKING OF RECIDIVISM REDUCTION

Under the bill, the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) secretary must track and analyze recidivism rates for children in the state.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2017

18 — JJPOC

By law, the JJPOC is charged with evaluating and reporting on (1) juvenile justice system policies and (2) the extension of juvenile jurisdiction to 16- and 17-year-olds (see BACKGROUND – Related Bill).

Under current law, the JJPOC has approximately 40 members. The bill adds the victim advocate, or his designee, to the committee.

Changes to Reporting Requirements

The bill eliminates a requirement that the JJPOC report by July 1 of 2016, 2017, and 2018 on its assessment of the juvenile justice system and recommendations to improve it. Current law requires the committee to submit these reports, addressing several specified matters, to the Appropriations, Children's, Human Services, and Judiciary committees and the OPM secretary.

It also eliminates a requirement that JJPOC submit to these same recipients quarterly reports until January 1, 2017, and annual reports after that, on the committee's progress in achieving its goals and measures.

The bill instead requires JJPOC to submit a report, to these same recipients, on a plan with cost options for developing a community-based diversion system. The committee must report by January 1, 2017.

The plan must include recommendations to address mental health and juvenile justice issues. Specifically, it must include recommendations on:

1. diverting children who commit crimes from the juvenile justice system, other than those committing serious juvenile offenses;

2. identifying evidence-based and trauma-informed services that are culturally and linguistically appropriate;

3. expanding the capacity of juvenile review boards to accept referrals from local police departments and schools and implement restorative practices;

4. expanding prevention, intervention, and treatment services by youth service bureaus;

5. expanding access to in-home and community services;

6. identifying and expanding services to support children who are truant or defying school rules, and increasing collaboration between school districts and community providers to best serve these children;

7. expanding the use of memoranda of understanding (MOUs) between local police and school boards regarding school resource officers;

8. expanding the use of MOUs between school boards and community providers for community-based services;

9. ensuring that children in the juvenile justice system have access to a full range of community-based behavioral health services;

10. reinvesting cost savings associated with reduced childhood incarceration rates and increased accessibility to community-based behavioral health services;

11. reimbursement policies that give providers incentives to deliver evidence-based practices to children in the system;

12. promoting common behavioral health screening tools in schools and communities;

13. ensuring that secure facilities operated by DCF or CSSD and private providers contracting with them screen children in these facilities for behavioral health issues; and

14. expanding service capacities, informed by examining grant funds and federal Medicaid reimbursement rates.

Data Working Group

The bill requires JJPOC to establish a data working group to develop a plan for a data integration process linking data on children across executive branch agencies (through OPM's integrated data system) and the judicial branch (through CSSD). The purpose of this data integration is to evaluate and assess juvenile justice system programs, services, and outcomes.

The working group must include the following, or their designees:

1. the DCF, DOC, SDE, and DMHAS commissioners;

2. the chief state's attorney;

3. the chief public defender;

4. the OPM secretary; and

5. the chief court administrator.

The group must include individuals with expertise in data development and research design.

Under the bill, this data integration plan must include cost options and provisions to:

1. access relevant data on juvenile justice populations;

2. coordinate handling of data and research requests;

3. link executive and judicial branch data to facilitate data sharing and analysis;

4. establish provisions for protecting confidential information and enforcing and ensuring compliance with state and federal confidentiality laws;

5. develop specific recommendations for JJPOC on using limited releases of client specific data sharing across systems, including with OPM, the Division of Criminal Justice, DCF, SDE, DMHAS, the judicial branch, and other agencies; and

6. develop a standard MOU template for sharing data between the executive and judicial branches, and when necessary, outside researchers.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

BACKGROUND

Related Bill

sSB 18 (File 600), reported favorably by the Judiciary Committee, raises the age of juvenile justice jurisdiction and makes several changes to various laws related to juvenile matters to reflect the age increase. In doing so, it creates a new category of individuals within the juvenile justice system, “young adults,” which includes 18-year-olds, beginning July 1, 2017; 19-year-olds, beginning July 1, 2018; and 20-year-olds, beginning July 1, 2019. It thereby makes existing delinquency proceedings generally applicable to young adults.

The bill requires JJPOC to plan for implementing any changes required to the juvenile justice system to extend the juvenile court's jurisdiction to include 18-, 19-, and 20-year-olds; allows JJPOC to form workgroups to carry out its duties; and requires the committee to report its findings and recommendations to the governor and the General Assembly by January 1, 2017.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

41

Nay

4

(03/30/2016)

Appropriations Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

31

Nay

21

(04/25/2016)