Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 111

    February Session, 2018

Substitute Senate Bill No. 313

Senate, March 28, 2018

The Committee on Children reported through SEN. MOORE, M. of the 22nd Dist. and SEN. SUZIO of the 13th Dist., Chairpersons of the Committee on the part of the Senate, that the substitute bill ought to pass.

AN ACT CONCERNING MEDICAL CARE FOR CHILDREN IN THE CUSTODY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES.

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

Section 1. Section 17a-98 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

The Commissioner of Children and Families, or any agent appointed by said commissioner, shall exercise careful supervision of each child under said commissioner's guardianship or care and shall maintain such contact with the child and the child's foster family as is necessary to promote the child's safety and physical, educational, moral and emotional development, including, but not limited to, visiting each foster home at least once every sixty days. Said commissioner may authorize, pursuant to the advice of a physician licensed pursuant to chapter 370, medical, psychological, psychiatric or surgical treatment or a medical multidisciplinary evaluation to ensure the continued good health of a child under said commissioner's guardianship or care, provided, if the permanency plan for such child involves reunification with such child's parent or parents, said commissioner shall give notice of such treatment or evaluation to the child and the child's parent or parents, in writing, at least five days in advance of such treatment or evaluation. In the absence of an emergency necessitating the immediate treatment or evaluation of the child, no such treatment or evaluation shall be provided prior to five days after such notice is given. If the child or the child's parent or parents object to such treatment or evaluation, the child or the child's parent or parents may, not later than five days after such notice is given, file a motion for emergency relief in the superior court having jurisdiction of the matter. In the absence of an emergency necessitating the immediate treatment or evaluation of the child, no such treatment or evaluation shall be provided during the pendency of such motion. The commissioner shall maintain such records and accounts as may be necessary for the proper supervision of all children under said commissioner's guardianship or care.

Sec. 2. Subsection (b) of section 46b-129 of the 2018 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2018):

(b) If it appears from the specific allegations of the petition and other verified affirmations of fact accompanying the petition and application, or subsequent thereto, that there is reasonable cause to believe that (1) the child or youth is suffering from serious physical illness or serious physical injury or is in immediate physical danger from the child's or youth's surroundings, and (2) as a result of said conditions, the child's or youth's safety is endangered and immediate removal from such surroundings is necessary to ensure the child's or youth's safety, the court shall either (A) issue an order to the parents or other person having responsibility for the care of the child or youth to appear at such time as the court may designate to determine whether the court should vest the child's or youth's temporary care and custody in a person related to the child or youth by blood or marriage or in some other person or suitable agency pending disposition of the petition, or (B) issue an order ex parte vesting the child's or youth's temporary care and custody in a person related to the child or youth by blood or marriage or in some other person or suitable agency. A preliminary hearing on any ex parte custody order or order to appear issued by the court shall be held not later than ten days after the issuance of such order. The service of such orders may be made by any officer authorized by law to serve process, or by any probation officer appointed in accordance with section 46b-123, investigator from the Department of Administrative Services, state or local police officer or indifferent person. Such orders shall include a conspicuous notice to the respondent written in clear and simple language containing at least the following information: (i) That the order contains allegations that conditions in the home have endangered the safety and welfare of the child or youth; (ii) that a hearing will be held on the date on the form; (iii) that the hearing is the opportunity to present the parents' position concerning the alleged facts; (iv) that an attorney will be appointed for parents who cannot afford an attorney; (v) that such parents may apply for a court-appointed attorney by going in person to the court address on the form and are advised to go as soon as possible in order for the attorney to prepare for the hearing; (vi) that such parents, or a person having responsibility for the care and custody of the child or youth, may request the Commissioner of Children and Families to investigate placing the child or youth with a person related to the child or youth by blood or marriage who might serve as a licensed foster parent or temporary custodian for such child or youth. The commissioner shall investigate any relative or relatives proposed to serve as a licensed foster parent or temporary custodian for such child or youth prior to the preliminary hearing and provide a preliminary report to the court at such hearing as to such relative's or relatives' suitability and any potential barriers to licensing such relative or relatives as a foster parent or parents or granting temporary custody of such child or youth to such relative or relatives; and (vii) that if such parents have any questions concerning the case or appointment of counsel, any such parent is advised to go to the court or call the clerk's office at the court as soon as possible. Upon application for appointed counsel, the court shall promptly determine eligibility and, if the respondent is eligible, promptly appoint counsel. The expense for any temporary care and custody shall be paid by the town in which such child or youth is at the time residing, and such town shall be reimbursed for such expense by the town found liable for the child's or youth's support, except that where a state agency has filed a petition pursuant to the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, the agency shall pay such expense. The agency shall give primary consideration to placing the child or youth in the town where such child or youth resides. The agency shall file in writing with the clerk of the court the reasons for placing the child or youth in a particular placement outside the town where the child or youth resides. Upon issuance of an ex parte order, the court shall provide to the commissioner and the parent or guardian specific steps necessary for each to take to address the ex parte order for the parent or guardian to retain or regain custody of the child or youth. Upon the issuance of such order, or not later than sixty days after the issuance of such order, the court shall make a determination whether the Department of Children and Families made reasonable efforts to keep the child or youth with his or her parents or guardian prior to the issuance of such order and, if such efforts were not made, whether such reasonable efforts were not possible, taking into consideration the child's or youth's best interests, including the child's or youth's health and safety. Any person or agency in which the temporary care and custody of a child or youth is vested under this section shall have the following rights and duties regarding the child or youth: (I) The obligation of care and control; (II) the authority to make decisions regarding emergency medical, psychological, psychiatric or surgical treatment or authorize a medical multidisciplinary evaluation; and (III) such other rights and duties that the court having jurisdiction may order.

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

Section 1

October 1, 2018

17a-98

Sec. 2

October 1, 2018

46b-129(b)

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:

Agency Affected

Fund-Effect

FY 19 $

FY 20 $

Children & Families, Dept.

GF - Potential Cost

See Below

See Below

Note: GF=General Fund

Municipal Impact: None

Explanation

This bill, which permits the Department of Children and Families (DCF), on the advice of a physician, to authorize non-emergency medical, psychological, psychiatric, or surgical treatment, or a medical multidisciplinary evaluation, for a child in DCF's temporary care and custody, results in a potential cost to the agency to the extent it chooses to seek out physician advice for these children and provide treatment/evaluation in advance of the possible reunification of children with their families. Should children under an order of temporary custody (OTC) come under the care and custody of DCF, the agency would be responsible for the health of these children under existing agency mandates. The average cost for a medical multidisciplinary evaluation is $266.00.

The Out Years

The annualized ongoing fiscal impact identified above would continue into the future subject to inflation.

OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 313

AN ACT CONCERNING MEDICAL CARE FOR CHILDREN IN THE CUSTODY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES.

SUMMARY

By law, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) commissioner and any agent she appoints must exercise careful supervision of each child under her guardianship or care. This bill permits the DCF commissioner, on the advice of a physician, to authorize non-emergency medical, psychological, psychiatric, or surgical treatment, or a medical multidisciplinary evaluation, to ensure the health of a child in the department's guardianship or care. But if the child's permanency plan involves reunification with the child's parent or parents, the commissioner must provide written notice to the parent or parents at least five days before the treatment or evaluation.

If the child or the parent or parents object, they may file a motion for emergency relief within five days after the notice is given. (It is unclear if this means within five days after the commissioner sends the notice or five days after the parents receive it.) The child generally may not have the treatment or evaluation within that five day period or while the motion is pending, unless there is an emergency necessitating it.

Additionally, the bill permits individuals and agencies to whom DCF has granted care and custody of a child under a temporary custody order to authorize medical multidisciplinary evaluations for children in their care. The law already permits DCF and these individuals and agencies in such circumstances to make decisions regarding emergency medical, psychological, psychiatric, or surgical treatment.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2018

COMMITTEE ACTION

Committee on Children

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

7

Nay

6

(03/15/2018)

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