Committee on Children

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5333

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING THE CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT REGISTRY.

Vote Date:

3/15/2018

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/6/2018

File No.:

Disclaimer: The following Joint Favorable Report is prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and does not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose.

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Committee on Children

REASONS FOR BILL:

To require the Commissioner of Children and Families to make a reasonable effort to notify the employer of an individual placed on the child abuse and neglect registry of such individual's placement on the registry if such individual has direct contact with children through such employment.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Sarah Eagan, Child Advocate, Office of the Child Advocate:

The Child Advocate testified in favor of this because it will strengthen the safety net and protect children from child abuse. Additionally, these discrepancies can be rectified by a technical change in the DCF statutes that will permit such information to be shared when the individual perpetrator has been placed on the Central Registry and such finding has been upheld or sustained.

Senator Leonard Fasano, Senate Republican President Pro Tempore, 34th District:

The Senator submitted testimony in support of this bill. He stated that in order to fulfill the purpose of the Registry, which is to protect children from known child abusers, it seems logical to require DCF to notify an employer when an employee who works with children has been found to have committed acts of child abuse. However, he does not agree with the administrative removal of names from the Registry since employers may unknowingly be hiring individuals with a history of substantiated child abuse in jobs that involve regular direct contact with children.

Heather Petit, Children's Policy Analyst, Commission on Women, Children & Seniors:

Heather Petit testified in favor of this bill because it would provide an additional layer of protection for children. Since individuals placed on the registry have been found to have put a child's health, safety or well-being at risk, this bill receives full support from the Commission. In addition, an employer may conduct an initial inquiry of an individual's name on the registry prior to hire, but subsequent periodic checks are not often done.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

See response from administration/agency.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Lisa Levy, Attorney, Greater Hartford Legal Aid, Inc.:

Lisa Levy testified in opposition to this bill because the language is overly broad. The bill as written would require DCF to notify employers of workers who have “any direct contact with children” whenever a recommended finding of abuse or neglect is administratively held against them. The attorney believes that this bill as written would compel illogical results and adversely affect low wage workers.

Reported by: Mikhela Hull

Date: 3/22/18