Implements the recommendations of the JJPOC which include closing CJTS and Pueblo, limiting the criteria for entry into detention, and enhancing educational supports for juvenile justice youth. For more information, email Center for Children’s Advocacy executive director Martha Stone: firstname.lastname@example.org
We must ensure that youth in DCF care have their voices heard. This Act requires youth advisory councils at congregate care facilities, requires the Department of Children and Families to provide foster care family profiles to foster children and to solicit feedback from foster children about their experiences in care to better recruit, train and retain high-quality foster parents. For more information, email Center for Children’s Advocacy attorney Zoe Stout: email@example.com
Approximately 7,651 children are abused or neglected each year in Connecticut. Many children suffer in silence because they do not know where to turn for help. PA 16-188 supports posting of the DCF Careline number and internet address in schools to assist children and youth suffering from sexual and physical abuse and neglect by informing them about assistance available and how to access it. Schools must post the information in a conspicuous location and in various languages that are appropriate to the school’s population. For more information, email Center for Children’s Advocacy attorney Sabrina Tavi: firstname.lastname@example.org
As the current NEMT vendor, Logisticare has failed to meet performance standards outlined in its contract. Special Act 16-8 ensures that, regardless of the eventual vendor, patients receive adequate transportation that fulfills their medical needs. Federal regulation requires that the NEMT contract be the result of competitive bid. This legislation addresses overwhelming problems with service and requires that the new contract be the result of competitive bid. For more information, email Center for Children’s Advocacy attorney Bonnie Roswig: email@example.com
Reduce Shackling of Children Who Come Before the Juvenile Court
Public Act 15-183, An Act Concerning the Juvenile Justice System, enhances important protections for Connecticut’s youth in the juvenile justice system. As a result of the Center’s advocacy, along with our juvenile justice partners, this legislation creates a statutory presumption that a child will have all shackles and mechanical restraints removed before entering a juvenile courtroom and requires the Judicial Branch to report on shackling. The new legislation also removes certain Class B felonies from automatic transfer to adult court, raises the minimum age for transfer from 14 to 15 and extends the JJPOC, a legislative task force to consult on juvenile justice policy issues.
Prohibit Out-Of-School Suspensions and Expulsions for Very Young Children
Public Act 15-96 prohibits most out-of-school suspensions and expulsions for students enrolled in a preschool program or in kindergarten through grade two.
Public Act 15-225 requires schools to track and publish chronic absenteeism data, which is a measure of all absences, whether excused or unexcused. Schools and districts that exhibit a certain percent of chronic student absenteeism must institute Student Attendance Review Teams (or use an existing body for this purpose), to coordinate interventions for students who are chronically absent. The legislation requires SDE to help develop prevention and intervention plans for districts in tackling chronic absenteeism.
Establish Definitions and Standards for Alternative Education Programs
Public Act 15-133 directs the establishment of standards for the state’s alternative education programs.
Infant Safe Sleep Practices
Public Act 15-39 requires each hospital, as defined in section 19a-490 of the general statutes, through its maternity program, to provide the parent or parents or the legal guardian of a newborn infant with written informational materials containing the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations concerning safe sleep practices at the time of such infant’s discharge from the hospital. Effective October 1, 2015.
Protocols to Prevent Child Deaths
Public Act 15-221 requires the child fatality review panel, established pursuant to 46a-13l of the general statutes, to review the policies, practices and procedures used to protect children ages birth to three years in the state from unexpected death or critical injury. study and report to legislature by October 1, 2016.
Adoption and Sibling Visitation
Public Act 15-199, Sec 18 (o). In addition to important provisions regarding permanency and guardianship for children in DCF care, new legislation provides an avenue for children who are the subject of an adoption proceeding to petition the court for the right to maintain contact and visitation with sibling(s) who live in different homes. Effective October 1, 2016.
Summaries of Significant 2015 State Legislation
State Department of Education (SDE)
2015 Summary of Education Related Legislation
Department of Children and Families (DCF)
2015 Legislative Summary
Family Violence Mediation
Public Act 14-217, Budget Implementer, Section 85
Keeping kids out of the juvenile justice system.
Many cases come to juvenile court as a result of fights between parent and child. These cases disproportionately represent youth of color and had not been not diverted from juvenile court because there was no mediation program available to juveniles, as there is in the adult system. New law creates a pilot program in 2 jurisdictions, to be evaluated by the Judicial Department’s Court Support Services Division.
Raise the Grade – Closing the Achievement Gap for Children in Foster Care and Juvenile Justice System
Public Act 14-99
Sharing educational information with DCF, foster parents, children’s attorneys
Many children in foster care struggle to get the educational supports they need – partly because educational information is not always accessible or shared with adults responsible for the child’s education. New law permits sharing of educational information about a foster child with the child’s foster parent, DCF case worker, and child’s attorney.
Evaluating and addressing children’s educational needs
Children who come into child welfare or juvenile justice facilities often have specialized learning needs. Prompt receipt and review of a child’s educational records will help ensure timely referral for appropriate supports.
Access to Pre-School for Children in DCF Care
Public Act 14-217, Budget Implementer, Sections 132-133
Increasing access to pre-school
Access to pre-school for young children in DCF care is an important step in closing Connecticut’s achievement gap.
Funding to Provide Support for Youth who are Homeless
File Number 524 (Raised House Bill 5030)
An Act Making Adjustments to State Expenditures for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2015
Providing supports for youth who are homeless
Outreach centers, shelters and transitional housing are key for youth who do not have a permanent place to live.
An Act Concerning Probate Courts
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)
Public Act 14-104, Sections 8-9, Protecting abandoned, abused or neglected immigrant children.
New legislation codifies federal language pertaining to Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) into Connecticut General Statutes. SIJS is a special form of immigration protection for children have been abandoned, abused or neglected and are dependent on the court.
Summaries of Significant 2014 State Legislation
State Department of Education
Summary of 2014 Education Legislation
Department of Children and Families
Summary of 2014 Legislation
Raise the Grade: Reduce Educational Disparities for Children in State Care
Public Act 13-234, Sections 123-124
Implementing the Governor’s Budget Recommendations for Housing, Human Services, Public Health
As Connecticut strives to close the Achievement Gap, abused and neglected children in foster care and in the juvenile justice system continue to work substantially below grade level, are often retained in school and do not participate successfully in post-secondary programs.
In accordance with this legislation, the Department of Children and Families, in consultation with the Department of Education, shall establish the Raise the Grade pilot program, to be implemented in Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven for a two-year period beginning July 1, 2013, to increase the academic achievement of children and youth who live in DCF custody or who are served by the Court Support Services Division in these cities.
The DOE and DCF are required to annually track the academic progress of each child and youth in state custody, from pre-kindergartners through twelfth grade, and submit a progress report to the achievement gap task force established pursuant to section 10-16mm of the general statutes.
Reform Connecticut’s Alternative School Programs
Public Act 13-122, Section 12
An Act Concerning Minor Revisions to the Education Statutes
Positive reform to the state’s alternative school system will help ensure that all students receive appropriate educational services, increasing the percentage of youth who graduate from high school and improving overall educational achievement.
Public Act 13-122 requires the State Department of Education, for the first time, to conduct an in-depth study and evaluation of alternative school programs offered by local and regional boards of education in Connecticut. The study will include recommendations on how to reform and improve alternative education programs across the state.
Reduce Health Disparities
Public Act 13-234, Section 154
Implementing the Governor’s Budget Recommendations for Housing, Human Services and Public Health
Consistent with federal law, ensure that all children who have been exposed to substantiated abuse or neglect are screened to determine eligibility for Birth to Three, Connecticut’s early intervention program for children under age three who have significant developmental delays or who are diagnosed with a physical or mental condition with a high probability of resulting developmental delay. Research on children in the child welfare system estimates that upwards of 40% of young children who have been exposed to abuse or neglect require developmental support services.
Effective October 1, 2013, the Department of Children and Families shall, within available appropriations, ensure that each child thirty-six months of age or younger who has been substantiated as a victim of abuse or neglect is screened for both developmental and social-emotional delays using validated assessment tools such as the Ages and Stages and the Ages and Stages Social/Emotional Questionnaires, or their equivalents. The department shall ensure that such screenings are administered to any such child twice annually, unless such child has been found to be eligible for the birth-to-three program, established under section 17a-248b of the general statutes.
Allow Unaccompanied Homeless Youth to Access Birth Certificates
Public Act 13-142
An Act Concerning Birth Certificates for Homeless Youth
Allowing unaccompanied homeless youth to acquire their birth certificates without parental consent is a key element in enabling homeless youth to establish eligibility for, eg: driver’s license, health insurance, employment.
“Certified homeless youth” means a person who is at least fifteen years of age but less than eighteen years of age, is not in the physical custody of a parent or legal guardian, who is a homeless child or youth, as defined in 42 USC 11434a, as amended from time to time, and who has been certified as homeless by (A) a school district homeless liaison, (B) the director of an emergency shelter program funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, or the director’s designee, or (C) the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program funded by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, or the director’s designee.”
Additional legislative information is available on the Connecticut General Assembly website.