OLR Bill Analysis
AN ACT CONCERNING THE TRANSFER OF JUVENILE SERVICES FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES TO THE COURT SUPPORT SERVICES DIVISION OF THE JUDICIAL BRANCH.
Starting on July 1, 2018, this bill transfers legal authority from the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to the judicial branch over any child who was committed to DCF as a delinquent pursuant to a juvenile court order entered before that date. The branch's Court Support Services Division (CSSD) must, in turn, assume responsibility for supervising the children and may exercise its powers, duties, and functions to provide such supervision.
Under existing law, the juvenile court is prohibited, starting July 1, 2018, from committing a child to DCF as a result of a delinquency adjudication. Existing law also (1) establishes a one-year transition period, from July 1, 2018 to January 1, 2019, during which the judicial branch may place a child convicted as delinquent in a DCF-operated congregate care setting or order the child to receive community-based DCF services and (2) requires the agencies to enter into an agreement that (a) allows the judicial branch to use these settings and services and (b) requires it to pay DCF for their use (PA 17-2 June Special Session (JSS) (§§ 321 & 323)).
The bill also makes numerous other changes to the juvenile justice statutes. Principally, it:
1. deems any child transferred from DCF to CSSD under the bill to be on probation for a period no longer than his or her remaining delinquency commitment to DCF as of June 30, 2018, and requires the court to review and, if appropriate, modify the probation conditions (§§ 1 & 29);
2. limits and modifies the ways that a juvenile court may dispose of a delinquency adjudication and adds to the factors the court must consider when making a disposition (§ 28);
3. modifies the probation conditions the court may order, allows a juvenile probation supervisor's designee to establish the term of nonjudicial supervision for a juvenile for whom the court entered a nonjudicial disposition, and makes various other changes to laws related to juvenile probation (§§ 17, 19, 23, 24, 28-30);
4. makes changes to several definitions in the juvenile matters laws and adds several new ones (§§ 8 & 17);
5. eliminates provisions that permit the DCF commissioner, in certain circumstances, to transfer a child committed to the department to the John R. Manson Youth Institution or York Correctional Institution, as appropriate (§§ 13 & 38);
6. eliminates a provision that (a) explicitly allows a judge hearing a juvenile matter to make any order in connection to it that a Superior Court judge is authorized to grant and (b) gives such an order the same force and effect as a Superior Court order (§ 19);
7. modifies various juvenile justice system goals (§ 20);
8. permits the judicial branch to contract to establish secure residential facilities and requires it to develop a continuum of community-based programs (§ 21);
9. permits, instead of requires, the branch to consult with the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparity in the Criminal Justice System to address the needs of minorities in the juvenile justice system (§ 21);
10. limits the circumstances in which DCF employees may have access to juvenile court records and adds to the records of delinquency proceedings that must be disclosed to the DMV commissioner (§ 22);
11. designates the chief court administrator or his designee, instead of the DCF commissioner or her designee, as administrator of the Interstate Compact for Juveniles (ICJ) (The compact enables states to transfer a juvenile's supervision between states and return a runaway juvenile to his or her home state)(§ 2);
12. eliminates as possible qualifications for members of the state Advisory Council on Children and Families that the member (a) represent young people, parents, and others interested in delivering juvenile justice services or (b) is a parent, foster parent, or family member of a child who has received or is receiving juvenile justice services (§ 10);
13. eliminates a requirement that a law enforcement officer who arrests a youth for prostitution report suspected abuse or neglect to DCF (§ 23);
14. makes numerous changes to conform with the transferred responsibility for children adjudicated delinquent from DCF to CSSD by eliminating references throughout the bill to (a) children committed to DCF for delinquency and (b) the Connecticut Juvenile Training School (CJTS), which was a DCF-run secure detention facility for juveniles that permanently closed in April 2018 (§§ 3-7, 9, 11, 12, 14-16 & 27); and
15. repeals several provisions pertaining to DCF responsibility for juveniles adjudicated delinquent, CJTS, and certain CSSD responsibilities (§ 38);
16. makes minor, technical, and conforming changes (§§ 18, 25, 26 & 31-37).
EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2018
§§ 1 & 29 — PROBATION FOR CHILDREN TRANSFERRED TO CSSD
Under the bill, any child transferred from DCF to CSSD commitment must be deemed to be on probation for a period no longer than his or her remaining commitment as of June 30, 2018. Any parole supervision condition in place on that date must become the interim conditions of the remaining probation supervision. The bill requires the juvenile court, by October 1, 2018, to conduct an in-court review for each such child to determine whether those interim conditions must continue or be modified for the remainder of the probation supervision period. The court must notify any identified victim of the time and date of the review.
Following the review, the court may (1) order that the interim conditions remain in effect without modification until the end of the supervision period or (2) modify the conditions for good cause shown. No probation period for a child transferred from DCF to CSSD under the bill may extend beyond the remaining commitment period as of June 30, 2018, or 30 months total, whichever is shorter (see “Probation Supervision” below).
§§ 17 & 28 — DELINQUENCY DISPOSITIONS
The bill makes various changes to the law regarding disposition of juvenile delinquency adjudications.
Factors the Court Must Consider
The bill adds the following factors to those the court must consider when determining the appropriate disposition for a child adjudicated as delinquent:
1. age and intellectual, cognitive, and emotional development;
2. prior involvement with (a) juvenile probation or (b) DCF as a committed delinquent;
3. history of participating in, and engaging with, programming and service interventions;
4. identified services, programs, and interventions that will best address the child's needs and risk of reoffending, as indicated by the CSSD-administered risk and needs assessment; and
5. level of supervision the assessment indicates and any other relevant evidence.
Under the bill, a “risk and needs assessment” is a standardized tool that assists juvenile probation officers in collecting and synthesizing information about a child to estimate the child's risk of recidivating and identify other factors that, if treated and changed, can reduce the child's likelihood of reoffending and provides a guide for intervention planning.
The bill also eliminates from the factors the court must consider the child's culpability in committing the offense including his or her level of participation in planning and carrying out the offense.
The bill eliminates several of the ways that the court may dispose of a delinquency case when a child is adjudicated delinquent. Currently, the court may:
1. order the child to participate in an alternative incarceration program, a program at DCF's wilderness school, or a youth service bureau program;
2. withhold or suspend execution of any judgment; or
3. for minors convicted of possessing alcohol, impose a fine of between $200 and $500 for a second or subsequent offense (the first offense is an infraction with no specified fine).
The bill eliminates these options and instead permits the court to discharge the child from the court's jurisdiction with or without a warning. It also allows the court to place a child on probation supervision with or without residential placement for up to 18 months, which may be extended to up to 30 months total. Current law permits the court to sentence a child to probation and extend the probation as deemed appropriate with no maximum length specified.
The bill also eliminates provisions that allow the court to commit a child to DCF if (1) following a delinquency adjudication, it finds that the probation services or other services available to it are not adequate for the child or (2) a child that comes under juvenile court jurisdiction is found to be mentally ill. It also eliminates a provision that authorizes a child adjudicated delinquent or judged to be from a family with service needs to be employed part-time or full-time at a useful occupation as a condition of probation or supervision in certain circumstances.
Additionally, it eliminates an obsolete provision that allows the court to commit a child it convicts as delinquent and finds to be “mentally deficient” to an institution for “mentally deficient” children and youths.
§§ 17, 19, 23, 24 & 28-30 — PROBATION SUPERVISION
Under the bill, a person age 18 or older who is on probation supervision with or without residential placement falls under the juvenile court's continuing jurisdiction. Anyone on juvenile probation supervision may be subject to other reasonable court-ordered restrictions or conditions and required to participate in a variety of appropriate programmatic services. The bill replaces references to “probation” throughout the juvenile matters statutes with “probation supervision.”
Currently, a child may be adjudicated for, among other things, violating conditions of probation. The bill specifies that a child may be adjudicated delinquent for violating conditions of probation supervision or probation supervision with residential placement and, as a corollary, that such actions constitute delinquent acts.
Definitions Related to Probation Supervision (§ 17)
The bill defines:
1. “probation supervision” as a legal status under which a juvenile who has been adjudicated delinquent is placed by court order under juvenile probation supervision for a specified period of time and on terms the court determines;
2. “probation supervision with residential placement” as probation supervision that includes a period of placement in a secure or staff-secure residential treatment facility, as ordered by the court, and a period of community supervision;
3. “secure residential facility” as a hardware-secured residential facility that includes direct staff supervision, surveillance enhancements, and physical barriers that allow for close supervision and controlled movement in a treatment setting; and
4. “staff-secure residential facility” is a residential facility that provides residential treatment for children in a structured setting where staff monitor the children.
Probation Supervision Conditions (§ 28)
As under current law when ordering conditions of probation, the bill allows the court, when setting conditions or probation supervision with or without residential placement to order that the child:
1. reside with a parent, relative, or guardian, or in a suitable court-approved residence;
2. attend school and class on a regular basis and comply with school conduct and discipline policies;
3. refrain from violating any laws or ordinances;
4. undergo any medical or psychiatric evaluation the court deems necessary;
5. submit to random drug or alcohol testing, or both;
6. participate in a community service program; and
7. satisfy any other conditions the court deems appropriate.
The bill eliminates as a condition participating in an alternative incarceration program or other program CSSD establishes. Instead, the bill specifies that the court may order, as a condition of probation supervision with or without residential placement, that the child (1) participate in a youth service bureau program; (2) obtain technical or vocational training, or both; (3) make a good faith effort to obtain and maintain employment; or (4) be placed in an appropriate residential facility. The bill also allows the court to require the child or his or her parents or guardian or both to make restitution to the victim of the offense. Currently, the law permits the court to order the child to make such restitution. As allowed currently for probation, the bill also allows the court to order where the child must live, drug or alcohol treatment or testing, and school attendance, among other things.
Under the bill, at any time during the probation supervision with or without residential placement, the court may modify or enlarge the probation conditions for good cause shown. The bill also caps the length of time the court may extend the probation period by up to 12 months for a total supervision period of 30 months. Current law allows the court to extend the probation as deemed appropriate with no maximum length specified. As under current law, the court must have a copy of the order delivered to the child and his or her parent or guardian and probation officer.
Juvenile Probation Officer Responsibilities (§ 23)
Current law requires juvenile probation officers to investigate and report as the court directs or the law requires. In addition to investigating and reporting, the bill requires juvenile officers to make recommendations to the court, including pre-dispositional studies. Under the bill, the officers must provide supervision and make referrals to pre- and post-adjudication services based on the juvenile's risks and needs, as determined by the risk and needs assessment. The officers must work collaboratively with treatment providers to ensure programs and services are adequately addressing the needs of juveniles they supervise.
The bill requires the officers to keep records of all cases they investigate or that come under their care, instead of requiring them to preserve a record of all such cases.
Case Review Team Meeting (§ 28)
Under the bill, the court may authorize the child's probation officer, at any time during the probation supervision period, to convene a case review team meeting with the child and his or her attorney on any case (1) being considered for residential placement or (2) that is complex and could benefit from a multi-systemic approach. The probation officer and supervisor must facilitate the meeting, which must also include the child's family, the state's attorney, school officials, treatment providers, and state agency representatives, as deemed appropriate. Any recommendations to modify the probation supervision conditions, including residential placement, must be presented to the court for consideration and approval.
Probation Supervision with Residential Placement (§§ 17 & 28)
Under the bill, a child may only be placed on probation supervision with residential placement in a secure or staff-secure facility if CSSD has completed a current pre-dispositional study that the court has reviewed and the (1) placement is indicated by the child's clinical and behavioral needs or (2) level of risk the child poses to public safety cannot be managed in a less restrictive setting. The court must consider all relevant reports, evaluations, and studies offered or admitted as evidence and his or her length of stay in a residential facility must be dependent on the child making treatment progress and attaining treatment goals.
Under the bill, a “pre-dispositional study” is a comprehensive written report prepared by a juvenile probation officer regarding the child's social, medical, mental health, educational, risks and needs, and family history, as well as the event surrounding the offense to present a supported recommendation to the court;
Probation Status Review Hearing (§ 29)
The bill also permits the court, at any time during the probation supervision period, to convene a probation status review hearing. The officer may file an ex parte request for a probation status review hearing with the court clerk, regardless of whether a new offense or violation has been filed. The court may grant the request and convene a probation status review hearing within seven days if it finds that it is in the child's or the public's best interest. The officer must inform the child and parent or guardian of the scheduled court date and time. The child must be represented by counsel at the hearing.
Under the bill, if the child or his or her parents or guardian do not appear at the hearing, absent actual or in-hand service of the notice, the failure cannot be deemed willful. Instead, the court may continue the hearing to a future date and order the child and his or her parents or guardian to be served notice to appear in court. By agreement of the parties or when the evidentiary hearing concludes, the court may modify or enlarge the probation conditions and, if appropriate, order the child placed in a secure or staff-secure residential facility. But no such placement may be ordered unless (1) it is indicated by the child's clinical and behavioral needs or (2) the level of risk the child poses to the public cannot be managed in a less restrictive setting.
Violation of Probation (§§ 23 & 29)
The bill allows the court, at any time during the probation supervision period, to (1) issue a warrant to arrest the child for violating the probation conditions or (2) issue a notice to appear to answer the charges of alleged violation. Current law permits the court to take such actions if a child allegedly violates the conditions of probation or suspended commitment.
The bill eliminates provisions that allow the court to continue or revoke a suspended commitment and, if the probation or suspended commitment to DCF is revoked, require the child to serve the commitment imposed or impose a lesser commitment. It allows the court to continue or revoke an order of probation supervision or modify or enlarge the supervision conditions when a child allegedly violates a condition of probation supervision, as it may currently continue or revoke probation or modify or enlarge probation conditions when a child violates probation.
The bill also eliminates a requirement that CSSD notify the local law enforcement agency when the court determines that a child or youth violated probation by failing to comply with electronic monitoring requirements.
The bill also eliminates provisions that permit investigators authorized by the chief state's attorney's office to arrest any juvenile on probation without a warrant if the juvenile violated the conditions of his or her probation. The law, unchanged by the bill, permits juvenile probation officers to make such arrests or deputize another officer with arrest powers to do so.
Reduction of Probation Sentence (§ 30)
Additionally, the bill permits a child sentenced to a period of probation supervision with or without residential placement to earn a reduction of the probation period equal to the number of days that the child spent in a detention center or lockup prior to adjudication. Current law permits such a reduction for a child placed on probation.
§§ 8 & 17 — DEFINITIONS
The bill eliminates the definition of a serious juvenile repeat offender, which is currently defined as a child charged with committing a felony if the child has previously been adjudicated delinquent or convicted of a felony at least twice previously. It also eliminates obsolete definitions for “youth” and “mentally deficient” in the juvenile matters statutes, but preserves the definition of “youth” (i.e., a 16- or 17-year-old) in the DCF statutes.
§§ 13 & 38 — TRANSFER OF DCF-COMMITTED CHILDREN TO DOC CUSTODY
Currently, when, in the opinion of the DCF commissioner or her designee, a person committed to the department who is age 14 or older is dangerous to himself or herself or others or cannot be safely held at CJTS or any other facility in the state available to DCF, the department may request an immediate juvenile court hearing to determine if the person should be transferred to Manson Youth Institution (if male) or York Correctional Institution (if female). The bill eliminates (1) DCF's authority to request such a transfer and (2) the court's authority to grant the request. The bill also repeals a provision that generally designates children transferred to these facilities from DCF custody to be under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections (DOC), which runs the facilities.
§ 20 — JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM GOALS
The bill requires the juvenile justice system to promote prevention efforts by supporting programs and services designed to prevent re-offending, instead of by supporting programs and services designed to meet the needs of juveniles charged with delinquency. It also makes various revisions to the goals of the juvenile justice system. Principally, it requires the goals to include:
1. basing probation case planning on individual risks and needs, instead of basing probation treatment planning on individual case management plans as under current law;
2. providing community-based, instead of nonresidential post-release, services to juveniles returned to their families or communities; and
3. creating and maintaining developmentally appropriate, trauma-informed, gender-responsive programs for juveniles that incorporate restorative principles and practices, instead of creating and maintaining programs for juvenile offenders that are gender specific (i.e., comprehensively address the unique needs of a targeted gender group) as required under current law.
Currently, another goal of the system must be to promote the development and implementation of community-based programs, including mental health services, designed to prevent unlawful behavior. The bill (1) eliminates the requirement that the services include mental health services and (2) requires the services to be designed to prevent reoffending instead of unlawful behavior.
§ 21 — JUDICIAL BRANCH RESPONSIBILITIES
The bill permits the judicial branch to contract to establish secure residential facilities and requires it to develop a continuum of community-based programs. Existing law requires the judicial branch to expand its contracted juvenile justice services to include a comprehensive system of graduated responses with an array of services, sanctions, and secure placements available for the court, juvenile probation officers, and other CSSD staff (PA 17-2, JSS (§ 322)).
Contracting to Establish Secure Residential Facilities
Current law permits the judicial branch to contract to establish regional secure residential and regional highly supervised residential dental facilities for court-referred juveniles. Under the bill, the judicial branch may instead contract to establish secure and staff-secure residential facilities for court-referred juveniles. As under current law, the (1) facilities must be exempt from DCF licensing requirements and (2) as part of a publicly bid contract, the branch may include a requirement that the contractor provide the space necessary for juvenile probation officers and other CSSD staff to perform their duties.
Continuum of Community-Based Programs
The bill eliminates a requirement that the judicial branch develop constructive programs for the prevention and reduction of delinquency and crime among juvenile offenders. Instead, it requires the branch to develop a continuum of community-based programs for reducing juvenile delinquency. When appropriate, the judicial branch must coordinate the programs with DCF; the State Department of Education; the departments of Social Services, Developmental Services, and Mental Health and Addiction Services; and any other agencies necessary.
The continuum must be:
1. designed to address the individual risks and needs of juveniles;
2. able to take into account the juvenile's history, age, maturity and social development, gender, mental health, alcohol or drug use, need for structured supervision, and other characteristics; and
3. culturally appropriate, trauma-informed, and provided in the least restrictive environment possible in a manner consistent with public safety.
The branch must develop programs that provide research and evidence-based skills training and assistance to promote independent living skills, positive activities, and social connections in the juveniles' home communities. The programs must also address:
1. anti-sociality, impulse control, and behavioral problems;
2. anger management and nonviolent conflict resolution;
3. alcohol and drug use and dependency;
4. mental health needs;
5. inappropriate sexual behavior;
6. family engagement;
7. academic disengagement; and
8. technical and vocational training needs.
§ 22 — DISCLOSURE OF JUVENILE MATTERS RECORDS AND INFORMATION
Current law permits DCF employees to access records of juvenile delinquency proceedings. The bill limits this access by only allowing it if (1) the child who is the subject of the records is committed to the department and (2) the court orders the department to provide services to the child. In such circumstances, the bill specifically allows DCF employees to access information that identifies the child as the subject of the delinquency petition, in addition to the delinquency proceeding records.
The bill also permits law enforcement officials to disclose information concerning a child who escaped from, or failed to return from, an authorized leave from court placement at a detention center or a secure or staff-secure residential treatment facility in which the court placed him or her. Current law permits these officials to disclose information for a child who has escaped from a detention center or from a facility to which the court committed him or her. Existing law, unchanged by the bill, also permits law enforcement to disclose information about children who allegedly committed a felony and for whom an arrest warrant has been issued.
The bill also adds the following motor vehicle offenses to those for which records of delinquency proceedings must be disclosed to the DMV:
1. driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI)(CGS § 14-227a);
2. DUI while under age 21 with a blood alcohol content above .02% (CGS § 14-227g);
3. using, possessing with intent to use, delivering, possessing with intent to deliver, or manufacturing with intent to deliver drug paraphernalia with less than one-half ounce of marijuana (CGS § 21a-267(d)); or
4. possessing less than one-half ounce of marijuana (CGS § 21a-279a).
§ 42 — REPEALERS
The bill repeals provisions that:
1. grant equal privileges to clergy of all religious denominations to provide religious instruction to inmates at CJTS and each chartered or incorporated institution to which any child may be committed by the court (CGS § 17a-201b);
2. delineate the current duties and responsibilities of the judicial branch to provide programs and services to the juvenile justice system (CGS § 46b-121i);
3. require CSSD to design and make available to the judicial branch programs and probation treatment services for juvenile offenders (CGS § 46b-121j);
4. require CSSD to fund projects for a program of early intervention initiatives designed for juvenile offenders (CGS § 46b-121l);
5. require DCF to establish or designate one or more secure facilities in the state devoted to caring for and treating children under Superior Court jurisdiction (CGS § 46b-126);
6. allow prosecutors to request that certain juvenile proceedings be designated as serious sexual offender or serious juvenile repeat offender prosecutions and establish special proceedings for such prosecutions (CGS §§ 46b-133c & -133d);
7. impose limits on the length of time for which a child may be committed to DCF as a result of a delinquency adjudication and requires DCF to fulfill certain reporting requirements to the court for each such child committed to its care (CGS § 46b-141);
8. allow the court to order an assessment for placement in an alternative incarceration program in lieu of commitment to DCF or juvenile detention center (CGS § 46b-141a); and
9. require CSSD to develop a probation treatment plan for each child referred to the division (CGS § 46b-141b).
It also repeals provisions that are generally obsolete, mainly due to the transfer of juvenile services from DCF to CSSD, including provisions that:
1. require the CJTS superintendent to notify the appropriate registrar of vital statistics when a child dies at the facility (CGS § 7-63);
2. delineate DCF's responsibilities regarding CJTS (CGS § 17a-6b);
3. establish the CJTS advisory group (CGS § 17a-6b);
4. require DCF to (a) annually report to the legislature on the number of children committed to the department for delinquency and (b) establish standard leave and release policies for such children (CGS §§ 17a-6c, -7a);
5. permit DCF to place a child committed to the department for delinquency on parole if it is in the child's best interest (CGS § 17a-7);
6. impose limits on the length of time a child adjudicated delinquent may be committed to DCF and allow the commissioner to place such a child over age 14 on vocational parole if it appears that the child cannot benefit from continued school attendance (CGS § 17a-8);
7. require DCF to pay for the support and maintenance of any delinquent child resident in any of the department's institutions or facilities and allow DCF to authorize medical treatment to ensure the child's good health or life (CGS § 17a-10);
8. generally designate a person committed to DCF who is transferred to Manson Youth Institution to be under DCF custody (as noted above, the bill also eliminates DCF's authority to authorize such a transfer (CGS § 17a-13);
9. reference the CJTS construction project (CGS §§ 17a-27b, -27d);
10. allow DCF to establish a two-year Raise the Grade pilot program ending by July 1, 2015 (CGS § 17a-64);
11. enumerate DCF's duties regarding CJTS (CGS § 17-3a); and
12. allow the DCF commissioner to authorize leave for children committed to the department for delinquency (CGS § 17-8a).
sHB 5562, reported favorably by the Judiciary Committee, contains similar provisions related to probation supervision with or without residential placement, juvenile delinquency dispositions, juvenile justice system goals, records disclosures, and judicial branch responsibilities.
Joint Favorable Substitute