- Revamp Connecticut Technical School admission process to reduce discrimination against youth with special education needs. CCA is working with Reps. Jeff Currey and Kathleen McCarty, Greater Hartford Legal Aid, and The Arc to advance this legislation.
- Change school suspension guidelines to prohibit out-of-school suspensions in grades K through 8 except in dangerous circumstances.
- Work with the legislature’s Juvenile Justice Policy Oversight Committee to improve youth transition from juvenile justice placements back into their communities. Including: SDE to maintain list of reentry coordinators; school enrollment and educational services coordination upon discharge; PPT requirement for special education students. Read more here.
- Amend Connecticut’s Alvin Penn racial profiling law to include collection of data on pedestrian stops and increase police accountability.
- With the legislature’s Juvenile Justice Policy Oversight Committee, CCA will work to pass initiatives that include free phone calls for incarcerated minors, records erasure for juveniles, and improvements in transition supports for youth re-entering the community from confinement.
- CCA testimony in support of SB 972: An Act Concerning the Cost of Telecommunications Services in Correctional Facilities to provide cost-free telecommunications for incarcerated youth, Adam Yagaloff, Esq, Mar 22, 2021.
- CT News Junkie article: Support Voiced for Free Inmate Calls (SB 972)
- CCA testimony in support of SB 1059: An Act Concerning the Correction Accountability Commission, to create more accountability and oversight for the Department of Correction and its treatment of individuals in custody, ensure transparency around the use of solitary confinement, and limit the use of harmful and unnecessary isolation practices, Marisa Halm, Esq. Mar 22, 2021.
- CCA testimony in support of HB 1019: An Act Concerning the Board of Pardons and Paroles, Erasure of Criminal Records for Certain Misdemeanor and Felony Offenses, prohibiting discrimination based on erased criminal history records, and concerning recommendations of the CT Sentencing Commission, Marisa Halm, Esq, Mar 10, 2021.
- Remove School Resource Officers from schools and reduce in-school arrests.
- Expand access to HUSKY health insurance to include undocumented immigrant youth.
- Allow youth experiencing homelessness access to free birth certificates and State IDs as the cornerstone to employment, housing and community services. Define homelessness in alignment with the federal McKinney-Vento definition. CCA is working with the CT Reaching Home Campaign on this legislation.
CCA Testimony on Additional Legislative Initiatives
Increase Demographic Data Collected for Incarcerated Parents who Experience Termination of Parental Rights
The Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA), federally enacted in 1997, shifted the focus of child welfare policy away from family preservation and the rehabilitation of parents. Testimony submitted by CCA Attorney Stacy Schleif and Legal Intern Erin Howard, March 31, 2021 in support of SB 1084.
Require All State Agency Forms to Include a Nonbinary Gender Option
State agency forms, applications and methods of identification to be updated with a nonbinary gender option. Testimony submitted by CCA Attorney Alice Rosenthal, Legal Intern Aaron Kelly, and Christy Olezeski, PhD, Director, Yale Gender Program, March 19, 2021 in support of HB 5654.
Safety, Education and Social Equity of Children in Response to the Pandemic
To establish a youth suicide prevention training program, require mental health and suicide screening and prevention training, permit minors to receive more than six outpatient mental health treatment sessions without consent of a parent or guardian, more. Testimony submitted by Emma Morelli, Legal Intern, Center for Children’s Advocacy, Mar 9, 2021 in support of SB 2.
Connecticut Parentage Act
To ensure that all children have equal access to the security of a legal parent-child relationship, notwithstanding the circumstances of their birth, or the marital status, gender, or sexual orientation of their parents. Testimony submitted by CCA Attorney Alice Rosenthal and CCA Legal Intern Allison Durkin, March 8, 2021, in support of HB 6321.
Housing and Eviction Issues
To establish the right to counsel in eviction proceedings, the sealing of eviction records to prohibit landlords from considering prior eviction records, and to establish a right to housing. Testimony in support of HB 6531, HB 6528, and SB 194, submitted by CCA Attorney Alice Rosenthal and CCA Legal Intern Allison Durkin, March 4, 2021.
Risk of Homelessness for those Released from Department of Correction
To require the Department of Correction to assess the risk of homelessness for those released from custody and create a program to address and measure homelessness. Testimony submitted by Allyson Presskreischer, Legal Intern, Center for Children’s Advocacy, Mar 4, 2021 in support of SB 875.
Support Education Funding and Racial Equity In Connecticut
To make revisions to how public education is funded in the state to address issues of equity and systemic racism. Testimony submitted by Marisa Halm, Director, TeamChild Youth Justice Project, Mar 3, 2021, in support of SB 948.
Issues Related to School Security
CCA cautions against passing HB 6535, An Act Concerning Issues Related to School Security, which proposes a work group to study the role and value of School Resource Officers in our public schools, but is notably devoid of student, parent or advocate participation. Testimony submitted by Marisa Halm, Director, TeamChild Youth Justice Project, Mar 3, 2021.
Collection and Reporting of Adverse Childhood Experiences Data
To require boards of education, the Department of Education, and the Office of Early Childhood to collect and report data concerning adverse childhood experiences suffered by children. Testimony submitted by Alexandra Bostick, Legal Intern, Center for Children’s Advocacy, Mar 2, 2021, in support of SB 5698.
Increase Confidentiality for Explanation of Benefits
Allow suppression of Explanation of Benefits (EOB) to protect patient privacy and enhance healthcare access. Testimony submitted by Jay Sicklick, CCA Deputy Director; Director, Medical-Legal Partnership, Feb 9, 2021, in support of HB 6399
Housing Opportunities for Justice-Impacted Persons
Prohibit housing providers from considering a prospective tenant’s criminal conviction after certain time periods. Testimony submitted by CCA Youth SPEAKS group members Reyna Sanabria, Michael Grate, Vincent Hatten, Jackie Swagerty, and Lois Lawson, Feb 18, 2021, HB 6431
Governor’s Proposed Budget FY2021-23: Department of Housing
Appropriations Hearing, Feb 19, 2021. Testimony submitted by Stacey Violante Cote, CCA Director of Operations; Director, Homelessness Youth Advocacy. HB 6439