CCA Legislative Initiatives passed during the 2012 Legislative Session
The Center for Children’s Advocacy wrote and advocated for passage of important legislation that directly impacts the lives of the most vulnerable children and youth:
The Center for Children’s Advocacy was successful in securing passage of Public Act 12-53 which addresses the services and supports the Department of Children and Families (DCF) is required to provide for children in their custody. Effective October 1, 2012.
As part of a child’s permanency plan, DCF is required to:
- Document a child’s eligibility for Social Security benefits including Supplemental Security Income, survivors and adult disabled child’s benefits pursuant to the Social Security laws.
- Submit an SSI application for each child in its care and custody, and maintain and respond to any correspondence regarding the application and benefits.
- Determine if a 17 year old Social Security recipient will need a representative payee when s/he ages out of DCF custody and make appropriate plans for designating that representative payee.
- For a child age five or younger, document the steps taken to make necessary referrals for early intervention, preschool, or special education services.
- For a child age 16 or older, delineate steps taken to help the child learn independent living skills and complete a secondary education or vocational program.
- For a child age 16 or 17, develop a personalized transition plan including options for housing, medical insurance, education, opportunities for mentor and continuing support services, workforce support and employment services.
The Center for Children’s Advocacy secured passage of a section of this bill which amends the law to allow minors access to civil restraining orders in all protected categories, regardless of their age. Previously, the law restricted minors’ access to civil restraining orders by imposing different age restrictions in different protected categories (ie: a minor had to be 16 years old to access a restraining order against someone they live/d with, but 18 years old to access a restraining order against someone with whom they are related by blood or marriage). The amended language allows minors to access the courts in order to seek safety. Effective October 1, 2012.
Although the legislature did not pass CCA-sponsored bills seeking to reduce the number of DCF involved children who are placed in group or institutional care facilities, the Department of Children and Families has publicly committed to ensuring that children, whenever possible, are placed in community and family-based settings. DCF has identified the development of comprehensive, community-based mental and behavioral health support services as a top priority. DCF has also agreed to continue its efforts to reduce and potentially eliminate the use of congregate care facilities for children ages birth to five years old.
2012 DCF Legislative Summary
Legislation of interest to the Department of Children and Families that passed during the 2012 Regular Session.
Summaries are based largely on the bill analysis prepared by the General Assembly’s Office of Legislative Research.