Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 8

    February Session, 2018

Substitute House Bill No. 5185

House of Representatives, March 15, 2018

The Committee on Children reported through REP. URBAN of the 43rd Dist., Chairperson of the Committee on the part of the House, that the substitute bill ought to pass.

AN ACT CONCERNING GUARDIANSHIP APPOINTMENTS FOR INDIVIDUALS SEEKING SPECIAL IMMIGRANT JUVENILE STATUS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 45a-106a of the general statutes is amended by adding subsection (l) as follows (Effective July 1, 2018):

(NEW) (l) For purposes of this section, "minor child" means (1) a person under the age of eighteen, or (2) an unmarried person under the age of twenty-one who (A) is dependent on a competent caregiver, (B) has consented to the appointment or continuation of a guardian after attaining the age of eighteen, and (C) has filed a petition for findings pursuant to section 45a-608n, as amended by this act.

Sec. 2. Section 45a-608n of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2018):

(a) For the purposes of this section and section 45a-608o, a minor child shall be considered dependent upon the court if the court has (1) removed a parent or other person as guardian of the minor child, (2) appointed a guardian or coguardian for the minor child, (3) terminated the parental rights of a parent of the minor child, or (4) approved the adoption of the minor child.

(b) At any time during the pendency of a petition to remove a parent or other person as guardian under section 45a-609 or 45a-610, or to appoint a guardian or coguardian under section 45a-616, as amended by this act, a party may file a petition requesting the Probate Court to make findings under this section to be used in connection with a petition to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for designation of the minor child as having special immigrant juvenile status under 8 USC 1101(a)(27)(J). The Probate Court shall cause notice of the hearing on the petition to be given by first class mail to each person listed in subsection (b) of section 45a-609, and such hearing may be held at the same time as the hearing on the underlying petition for removal or appointment. If the court grants the petition to remove the parent or other person as guardian or appoint a guardian or coguardian, the court shall make written findings on the following: (1) The age of the minor child; (2) the marital status of the minor child; (3) whether the minor child is dependent upon the court; (4) whether reunification of the minor child with one or both of the minor child's parents is not viable due to any of the grounds sets forth in subdivisions (2) to (5), inclusive, of section 45a-610; and (5) whether it is not in the best interests of the minor child to be returned to the minor child's or parent's country of nationality or last habitual residence.

(c) If the court has previously granted a petition to remove a parent or other person as guardian under section 45a-609 or 45a-610 or to appoint a guardian or coguardian under section 45a-616, as amended by this act, a parent, guardian or attorney for the minor child may file a petition requesting that the court make findings under this section to be used in connection with a petition to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for designation of the minor child as having special immigrant juvenile status under 8 USC 1101(a)(27)(J). The court shall cause notice of the hearing on the petition to be given by first class mail to each parent, guardian and attorney for the minor child, to the minor child if the minor child is twelve years of age or older and to other persons as the court determines. The court shall make written findings on the petition in accordance with subsection (b) of this section.

(d) Notwithstanding the definition of "minor child" pursuant to section 45a-604, for purposes of this section, "minor child" means (1) a person under the age of eighteen, or (2) an unmarried person under the age of twenty-one who (A) is dependent on a competent caregiver, (B) has consented to the appointment or continuation of a guardian after attaining the age of eighteen, and (C) has filed a petition for findings pursuant to section 45a-608n, as amended by this act.

Sec. 3. Section 45a-616 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2018):

(a) If any minor has no parent or guardian of his or her person, the court of probate for the district in which the minor resides may, on its own motion, appoint a guardian or coguardians of the person of the minor, taking into consideration the standards provided in section 45a-617, as amended by this act. Such court shall take of such guardian or coguardians a written acceptance of guardianship and, if the court deems it necessary for the protection of the minor, a probate bond.

(b) If any minor has a parent or guardian, who is the sole guardian of the person of the child, the court of probate for the district in which the minor resides may, on the application of the parent or guardian of such child or of the Commissioner of Children and Families with the consent of such parent or guardian and with regard to a child within the care of the commissioner, appoint one or more persons to serve as coguardians of the child. When appointing a guardian or guardians under this subsection, the court shall take into consideration the standards provided in section 45a-617, as amended by this act. The court may order that the appointment of a guardian or guardians under this subsection take effect immediately or, upon request of the parent or guardian, upon the occurrence of a specified contingency, including, but not limited to, the mental incapacity, physical debilitation or death of that parent or guardian. Upon the occurrence of such contingency and notice thereof by written affidavit to the probate court by the appointed guardian or guardians, such appointment shall then take effect and continue until the further order of the court, provided the court may hold a hearing to verify the occurrence of such contingency. The court shall take of such guardian or coguardians a written acceptance of guardianship, and if the court deems it necessary for the protection of the minor, a probate bond.

(c) Upon receipt by the court of an application pursuant to this section, the court shall set a time and place for a hearing to be held within thirty days of the application, unless the court requests an investigation in accordance with the provisions of section 45a-619, in which case the court shall set a day for hearing not more than thirty days following receipt of the results of the investigation. The court shall order notice of the hearing to be given to the minor, if over twelve years of age, by first class mail at least ten days prior to the date of the hearing. In addition, notice by first class mail shall be given to the petitioner and all other parties in interest known by the court.

(d) The rights and obligations of the guardian or coguardians shall be those described in subdivisions (5) and (6) of section 45a-604 and shall be shared with the parent or previously appointed guardian of the person of the minor. The rights and obligations of guardianship may be exercised independently by those who have such rights and obligations. In the event of a dispute between guardians or between a coguardian and a parent, the matter may be submitted to the court of probate which appointed the guardian or coguardian.

(e) Upon the death of the parent or guardian, any appointed guardians of the person of a minor child shall become the sole guardians or coguardians of the person of that minor child.

(f) Notwithstanding the definitions of "minor" and "minor child" pursuant to section 45a-604, for purposes of this section, "minor" or "minor child" means (1) a person under the age of eighteen, or (2) an unmarried person under the age of twenty-one who (A) is dependent on a competent caregiver, (B) has consented to the appointment or continuation of a guardian after attaining the age of eighteen, and (C) has filed a petition for findings pursuant to section 45a-608n, as amended by this act.

Sec. 4. Section 45a-617 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2018):

(a) When appointing a guardian, coguardians or permanent guardian of the person of a minor, the court shall take into consideration the following factors: (1) The ability of the prospective guardian, coguardians or permanent guardian to meet, on a continuing day to day basis, the physical, emotional, moral and educational needs of the minor; (2) the minor's wishes, if he or she is over the age of twelve or is of sufficient maturity and capable of forming an intelligent preference; (3) the existence or nonexistence of an established relationship between the minor and the prospective guardian, coguardians or permanent guardian; and (4) the best interests of the child. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that appointment of a grandparent or other relative related by blood or marriage as a guardian, coguardian or permanent guardian is in the best interests of the minor child.

(b) Notwithstanding the definitions of "minor" and "minor child" pursuant to section 45a-604, for purposes of this section, "minor" or "minor child" means (1) a person under the age of eighteen, or (2) an unmarried person under the age of twenty-one who (A) is dependent on a competent caregiver, (B) has consented to the appointment or continuation of a guardian after attaining the age of eighteen, and (C) has filed a petition for findings pursuant to section 45a-608n, as amended by this act.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

July 1, 2018

45a-106a

Sec. 2

July 1, 2018

45a-608n

Sec. 3

July 1, 2018

45a-616

Sec. 4

July 1, 2018

45a-617

Statement of Legislative Commissioners:

In Section 2(d), the words ""minor" and" and ""minor" or" were deleted for accuracy.

KID

Joint Favorable Subst.

 

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.


OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact: None

Municipal Impact: None

Explanation

The bill expands the definition of “minor” in specified circumstances to allow certain individuals to seek special immigrant juvenile status with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which allows the child to legally remain in the United States. As this change would occur as a part of an existing probate court hearing, there is no additional cost to the Probate Court.

The Out Years

State Impact: None

Municipal Impact: None

OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 5185

AN ACT CONCERNING GUARDIANSHIP APPOINTMENTS FOR INDIVIDUALS SEEKING SPECIAL IMMIGRANT JUVENILE STATUS.

SUMMARY

Existing law permits a party in a probate court case involving guardianship, parental rights, or adoption to petition the court to make certain findings that someone may use to apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for special immigrant juvenile status (SIJS) (see BACKGROUND). Under federal law, an immigrant child under age 21 who (1) has been abused, neglected, or abandoned and (2) meets certain other criteria, may apply for SIJS. If granted by the federal court, SIJS allows the child to legally remain in the United States.

For proceedings involving guardianship appointment or removal, this bill allows the probate court to issue those findings for certain SIJS applicants under age 21, instead of under age 18 as under current law. This change enables 18-, 19-, and 20-year-olds who are eligible to apply for SIJS under federal law, in certain circumstances, to petition the probate court for the findings they need to make that application (i.e., that they are dependent on the court).

WRITTEN FINDINGS

By law, at any point during a pending probate court petition to remove a parent or other person as guardian or appoint a guardian or co-guardian, a party may petition the court to make written findings to be used to apply for SIJS. A parent, guardian, or attorney for a minor child may also petition the court to make such findings if the court previously granted a petition to (1) remove a parent or other person as guardian or (2) appoint a guardian or co-guardian for the minor.

Under current law, the court may only issue such findings if the minor is under age 18. Under the bill, the court may additionally issue such findings if the minor (1) is under age 21 and unmarried, (2) is dependent on a competent caregiver, (3) has consented to the appointment or continuation of a guardian after turning 18, and (4) has filed a petition seeking such findings from the probate court.

As under existing law, if the court grants or has granted the removal or appointment petition, it must also issue the requested written findings, including:

BACKGROUND

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

By law, USCIS may grant SIJS to an immigrant if:

COMMITTEE ACTION

Committee on Children

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

13

Nay

0

(03/01/2018)

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