In re Jose B. / In re Jessica M.

Connecticut Appellate Court

December 21, 2010

JURISDICTION OF COURT TO ADJUDICATE YOUTH NEGLECTED POST 18

In these related (but unconsolidated) cases, the Appellate court upheld the juvenile court’s decision to dismiss the youths’ neglect petitions on the ground that the juvenile court lacked jurisdiction to adjudicate the petitions once the youths turned age 18. Both youth contended that because the petitions were filed when they were seventeen and because the legislature intended to service dependent youth through age twenty-one, that the court must retain authority to resolve the youths’ petitions on the merits. The appellate court, construing the statutory language of CGS 46b-120 and 46b-129 determined that because the court lacks authority to commit an 18 year old (even retroactively) that the court lacked authority to adjudicate the neglect petitions. Citing In re Matthew F., 297 Conn. 673 (2010), the Appellate court held that although the court may retain jurisdiction over a child past his 18th birthday, and although the Department may be obligated to serve that youth through age 21, the jurisdictional prerequisite for ongoing juvenile court jurisdiction is an adjudication and disposition prior to the youth reaching age 18.

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