2009 Significant State Legislation

Legislation from 2009 Session

2009 Legislative Summaries
OLR Research Report 
Commission on Children

The end of the 2009 Legislative Session resulted in passage of important legislation affecting Connecticut’s children:

Public Act 09-133
An Act Concerning Revisions to the HIV Testing Consent Law.

The revises Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-582a, which is the first of a series of statutory provisions defining the scope of HIV/AIDS testing and treatment. Under PA 09-133, which took effect July 1, 2009, the previous statutory scheme was revised in the following manner.

1. The act eliminates separate, written or oral consent for HIV testing and allows for general consent for the administration of medical procedures and tests to suffice;

2. reaffirms HIV testing is voluntary and patient can choose not to be tested;

3. Eliminates a prior requirement for counseling prior to the administration of HIV tests;

4. Adds a requirements that the recipient of a test result be informed about local medical or community-based HIV/AIDS support services agencies; and

5. Provides that a medical provider cannot be held liable for ordering an HIV test under general consent provisions.

The act does not change the existing provision that minors need not obtain parental/guardian consent before obtaining an HIV test. Nor does it change the requirement that minors may not be treated for HIV or AIDS without parental/guardian consent unless the physician determines that the minor will not seek or continue treatment if the parents/guardians are notified. See § 19a-592

PA 09-133 may be found by going to the General Assembly website athttp://www.cga.ct.gov/2009/ACT/PA/2009PA-00133-R00HB-06391-PA.htm. An excellent summary of the bill and the background behind this change (CDC revision of its HIV testing guidelines) is contained at http://www.cga.ct.gov/2009/SUM/2009SUM00133-R01HB-06391-SUM.htm.

 

Public Act 09 – 96
An Act Concerning “Stuck Kids”

This legislation, effective July 1, 2009, requires DCF to develop accurate information on out-of-state, runaway and homeless children and youth in the custody, care or supervision of the Commissioner of Children and Families.

This act requires DCF to give heightened attention to children and youth who are especially vulnerable to falling through the cracks of the child welfare system. Under the new law, DCF must create an annual report for the legislature detailing key information about youth who are a) living in psychiatric hospitals; b) out of state treatment centers; c) run away or homeless; d) who have a permanency plan which does not include living with a family; and e) who have refused DCF services. DCF must conduct case and service reviews for each child in these groups. The first report is due by February 1, 2010 and must be sent to the Children’s and Human Services committees.

 

Public Act 09-194 
An Act Concerning the Policies, Practices and Procedures of the Department of Children and Families and a Pilot Program to Increase Public Access to Juvenile Proceedings

This Act includes a requirement that the Judicial Department establish, in a superior court for juvenile matters location designated by the Chief Court Administrator, a pilot program to increase public access to proceedings in which a child is alleged to be uncared for, neglected, abused or dependent or is the subject of a petition for termination of parental rights.

Open Courts 
This Act includes a requirement that the Judicial Department establish, in a superior court for juvenile matters location designated by the Chief Court Administrator, a pilot program to increase public access to proceedings in which a child is alleged to be uncared for, neglected, abused or dependent or is the subject of a petition for termination of parental rights.

Notification for Out-of-State Transfer 
The new law also requires DCF to notify all attorneys of record when it decides to transfer a child in its custody to an out-of-state facility.

Results Based Accountability 
In an effort to improve services for children and their families and ensure accountability regarding the expenditure of agency funds, the new law also requires DCF to determine measurable outcomes for each type of service it provides. The department must incorporate the outcomes in each contract with providers and include achievement of the outcomes and other quality indicators in its annual review of each provider. Finally, the law directs the Department to file annual reports with the legislature on its efforts to implement the new results-based accountability provisions.

Annual Report: Case Reviews
The new law also requires DCF to report annually to the legislature regarding:

1. the results of Connecticut’s comprehensive objective reviews (internal qualitative reviews), including any recommendations contained in the reviews and any steps DCF has taken to implement them;

2. aggregate data from each administrative case review, including any information on the strengths and deficiencies of its case review process; and

3. steps DCF is taking to address department-wide deficiencies.

Permanency Plan Documents 
Additionally, the new law mandates that DCF file comprehensive reports with the juvenile court to support its permanency plan recommendations for a family. The Act requires all permanency plan documents to include

1. a description of any problems or offenses that caused the child to be placed under DCF’s custody, control, or supervision;

2. a description of the type, and an analysis of the effectiveness, of its care, treatment, and supervision of the child;

3. the current visitation schedule for the child and his or her parents and siblings;

4. a description of every effort DCF has taken to reunify the child with a parent or find a permanent placement, including, where applicable, every effort to assist the parent in remedying factors that contributed to the child’s removal from the home; and

5. a proposed timetable for reunifying the child and parent, a permanent placement if continued substitute care is recommended, or a justification of why extended substitute care is necessary.

Finally, if a child is in an out-of-state placement, the plans must indicate whether he or she has been visited at least every three months by a state or private agency worker.

 

Public Act 09-185 
An Act Concerning Proceedings and Operations of the Department of Children and Families and the Disclosure of Adoption Information.

Effective July 1, 2009, this legislation adds licensed foster parents to the list of persons who are mandated reporters. In Connecticut, licensed adoptive parents are also considered licensed foster parents.

Notifying Relatives When a Child is Removed
This Act mandates that upon removal of a child from his home due to allegations of abuse or neglect, DCF must immediately identify all grandparents and other relatives of the child. Within 30 days after the child’s removal, the Department must notify these relatives that removal, the commissioner must give the relatives notice that the child has been removed, that the relative may have options under state and federal law to participate in the care and placement of the child, that the relative may be eligible to obtain a foster care license and services to support the child, and that the relative may be eligible for the Department’s subsidized guardianship program to care for the child.

Relative Caregiver’s Death or Illness 
When a relative caregiver who is receiving a guardianship subsidy dies or becomes severely disabled or seriously ill, the act authorizes DCF to transfer the guardianship subsidy to a new relative caregiver. The new caregiver must meet DCF’s foster care safety requirements and be appointed legal guardian by a court.

Relatives as Preferred Caregivers – Abuse and Neglect Cases in Juvenile Court 
This Act establishes a presumption that awarding temporary custody to a relative is in the best interests of the child. The presumption may be rebutted by a preponderance of evidence showing that this is not the case. Additionally, it establishes a rebuttable presumption favoring relatives in guardianship or co-guardianship proceedings. Relatives will be allowed the right to intervene in child welfare cases absent good cause shown.

 

Public Act 09 – 205
Improving DCF’s Monitoring and Evaluation System (PRI) This legislation implements the recommendations of the Program Review and Investigations Committee and requires DCF to develop a comprehensive strategic plan, with public input, to meet the needs of the children and families they serve.

This plan must identify and define agency goals and indicators of progress, and requires the Commissioner to report on progress by October 1, 2010.

 

Public Act 09-143 
An Act Concerning the Reporting of Truancy Data and the Reduction of Certain Duplicate Reports by the Department of Information Technology

 

Public Act 09-82 
An Act Concerning Readmission of Students

 

Public Act 09-152 
An Act Concerning the Interest Earned on Lawyers’ Clients’ Funds Account Program and the Transfer of Certain Court Fees To Fund Such Program .

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