Legislation from Latest Session
Effective Date: January 1, 2006 This Act clarifies that a “youth” means a minor who is at least 16, but under 18, at the time of the alleged offense. This Act also allows more youths to be eligible for youthful offender (YO) status. It presumes that all 16 and 17-year-olds and children, whose cases have been transferred to the adult criminal docket, are eligible for YO status, unless they: (1) are charged with a Class A felony, risk of injury to a minor, 1st degree sexual assault, aggravated assault in the 1st degree, spousal rape, 2nd degree sexual assault (except for statutory rape involving a victim age 13 through 15), 3rd degree sexual assault and 3rd degree sexual assault with a firearm or (2) have already been convicted of a felony in a regular criminal docket of the Superior Court or been previously adjudicated a serious juvenile offender or serious juvenile repeat offender. Current law involves application for YO status, not presumptive eligibility. Current law that excludes people with prior YO status, felony convictions or accelerated rehabilitation participants will be eliminated. The Act also eliminates any investigations and/or court hearings to determine eligibility.
Sentencing guidelines are revised to provide that a YO can in no event be imprisoned for more than four years. The court can, however, extend probation indefinitely.Current law has a cap of 5 years total for incarceration and probation.
The bill does allow for prosecutors to challenge YO eligibility and seek a court ordered transfer to the adult docket.
Effective Date: October 1, 2007 This Act provides that no status offender can be processed as a delinquent or held in detention as a result of violating a court order, which regulates their future conduct, that was issued by the court following a Family with Service Needs (FWSN) adjudication. Therefore, if a child does require commitment or placement, it must be in a facility that is not a juvenile detention center and must be after the court has determined that there is no less restrictive alternative appropriate to the needs of the child and the community.
Effective Date: October 1, 2005 This Act allows relative caregivers who have been caring for children in the care or custody of DCF to request guardianship subsidies within six months of placement.
Effective Date: October 1, 2005, except the changes in procedures for placing names on the abuse registry are effective December 1, 2005.
This Act specifies procedures that must be followed regarding DCF’s abuse and neglect registry. The Act prohibits the Commissioner from placing the name of a suspected abuser on its registry unless she determines he/she poses a risk to children and further restricts DCF from disclosing anything about the accused or the case until he/she has waived or completed all available procedures to overturn the finding.*
The Act further requires DCF to mail a notice of recommended finding of abuse or neglect within 5 days and conduct an internal review within 30 days of receiving a notice of appeal. Individuals wishing to challenge the results of the internal review must request an administrative hearing within 30 days. The hearing officer must issue a written decision within 30 days after the hearing concludes.
The Act also permits people whose names were listed on its registry for charges substantiated before May 5, 2000 to appeal that action if they have not already done so and adds provisions requiring the agency to expunge certain case files when the abuse report was unsubstantiated.
*except in cases involving death, sexual abuse, risk of serious physical or emotional abuse, serious physical injury, the arrest of the accused, or the termination of abuser’s parental rights.
Effective Date: October 1, 2005
This Act creates the Commission on Child Protection to administer the attorney appointment system in child protection cases. The Commission will appoint the Chief Child Protection Attorney, who will be charged with establishing a system for the appointment of attorneys in child protection matters and ensuring that it is appropriately administered. Most importantly, the Chief Child Protection attorney must provide initial and in-service training for attorneys providing legal services to pursuant to the law and establish training, practice and caseload standards. The standards will apply to any attorney who represents children or indigent parents and must be designed to ensure (1) a high quality of legal representation and (2) proficiency in the procedural and substantive law and in relevant subject areas, including, but not limited to, family violence, child development, behavioral health, educational disabilities and cultural competence.
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