Children... Our Number One Priority

Statutes Relating to the Office of the Child Advocate
Connecticut General Statutes

 

Sec. 46a-13k. Office of the Child Advocate established. (a) There is established, within the Office
of Governmental Accountability established under section 1-300, an Office of the Child Advocate.
The Governor, with the approval of the General Assembly, shall appoint a person with knowledge of
the child welfare system and the legal system to fill the Office of the Child Advocate. Such person
shall be qualified by training and experience to perform the duties of the office as set forth in section
46a-13l. Upon any vacancy in the position of Child Advocate, the advisory committee established
pursuant to section 46a-13r shall meet to consider and interview successor candidates and shall submit 
to the Governor a list of not fewer than three and not more than five of the most outstanding
candidates, not later than sixty days after the occurrence of said vacancy, except that upon any vacancy
in said position occurring after January 1, 2012, but before June 15, 2012, the advisory committee shall
submit such list to the Governor on or before July 31, 2012. Such list shall rank the candidates in the
order of committee preference. Not later than eight weeks after receiving the list of candidates from
the advisory committee, the Governor shall designate a candidate for Child Advocate from among
the choices on such list. If at any time any of the candidates withdraw from consideration prior to
confirmation by the General Assembly, the designation shall be made from the remaining candidates
on the list submitted to the Governor. If, not later than eight weeks after receiving the list, the
Governor fails to designate a candidate from the list, the candidate ranked first shall receive the
designation and be referred to the General Assembly for confirmation. If the General Assembly is not
in session, the designated candidate shall serve as acting Child Advocate and be entitled to the
compensation, privileges and powers of the Child Advocate until the General Assembly meets to take
action on said appointment. The person appointed Child Advocate shall serve for a term of four years
and may be reappointed or shall continue to hold office until such person's successor is appointed
and qualified. Upon any vacancy in the position of Child Advocate and until such time as a candidate
has been confirmed by the General Assembly or, if the General Assembly is not in session, has been
designated by the Governor, the Associate Child Advocate shall serve as the acting Child Advocate
and be entitled to the compensation, privileges and powers of the Child Advocate.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of the general statutes, the Child Advocate shall act
independently of any state department in the performance of the advocate's duties.
(c) The Child Advocate may, within available funds, appoint such staff as may be deemed necessary
provided, for the fiscal years ending June 30, 1996, and June 30, 1997, such staff shall not exceed one
and one-half full-time positions or the equivalent thereof. The duties of the staff may include the
duties and powers of the Child Advocate if performed under the direction of the Child Advocate.
(d) The General Assembly shall annually appropriate such sums as necessary for the payment of the
salaries of the staff and for the payment of office expenses and other actual expenses incurred by the
Child Advocate in the performance of his or her duties. Any legal or court fees obtained by the state
in actions brought by the Child Advocate shall be deposited in the General Fund.
(e) The Child Advocate shall annually submit, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a, to
the Governor, the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters
relating to the judiciary, children and human services and the advisory committee established pursuant
to section 46a-13r a detailed report analyzing the work of the Office of the Child Advocate.

Sec. 46a-13l. Child Advocate's duties. Child fatality review panel. Reports to the Governor and
the General Assembly. Investigations. (a) The Child Advocate shall:
(1) Evaluate the delivery of services to children by state agencies and those entities that provide
services to children through funds provided by the state;
(2) Review periodically the procedures established by any state agency providing services to children
to carry out the provisions of sections 46a-13k to 46a-13p, inclusive, with a view toward the rights of
the children and recommend revisions to such procedures;
(3) Review complaints of persons concerning the actions of any state or municipal agency providing
services to children and of any entity that provides services to children through funds provided by the
state, make appropriate referrals and investigate those where the Child Advocate determines that a
child or family may be in need of assistance from the Child Advocate or that a systemic issue in the
state's provision of services to children is raised by the complaint;
(4) Pursuant to an investigation, provide assistance to a child or family who the Child Advocate
determines is in need of such assistance including, but not limited to, advocating with an agency,
provider or others on behalf of the best interests of the child;
(5) Periodically review the facilities and procedures of any and all institutions or residences, public or
private, where a juvenile has been placed by any agency or department;
(6) Recommend changes in state policies concerning children including changes in the system of
providing juvenile justice, child care, foster care and treatment;
(7) Take all possible action including, but not limited to, conducting programs of public education,
undertaking legislative advocacy and making proposals for systemic reform and formal legal action, in
order to secure and ensure the legal, civil and special rights of children who reside in this state;
(8) Provide training and technical assistance to attorneys representing children and guardians ad litem
appointed by the Superior Court;
(9) Periodically review the number of special needs children in any foster care or permanent care
facility and recommend changes in the policies and procedures for the placement of such children;
(10) Serve or designate a person to serve as a member of the child fatality review panel established in
subsection (b) of this section;
(11) Take appropriate steps to advise the public of the services of the Office of the Child Advocate,
the purpose of the office and procedures to contact the office; and
(12) Prepare an in-depth report on conditions of confinement, including, but not limited to,
compliance with section 46a-152, regarding children twenty years of age or younger who are held in
secure detention or correctional confinement in any facility operated by a state agency. Such report
shall be submitted, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a, to the joint standing committee
of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to children not later than March 1,
2017, and every two years thereafter.
(b) There is established a child fatality review panel composed of thirteen permanent members as
follows: The Child Advocate, or a designee; the Commissioners of Children and Families, Public
Health and Public Safety, or their designees; the Chief Medical Examiner, or a designee; the Chief
State's Attorney, or a designee; a pediatrician, appointed by the Governor; a representative of law 
enforcement, appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate; an attorney, appointed by the
majority leader of the Senate; a social work professional, appointed by the minority leader of the
Senate; a representative of a community service group appointed by the speaker of the House of
Representatives; a psychologist, appointed by the majority leader of the House of Representatives;
and an injury prevention representative, appointed by the minority leader of the House of
Representatives. A majority of the panel may select not more than three additional temporary
members with particular expertise or interest to serve on the panel. Such temporary members shall
have the same duties and powers as the permanent members of the panel. The chairperson shall be
elected from among the panel's permanent members. The panel shall, to the greatest extent possible,
reflect the ethnic, cultural and geographic diversity of the state.
(c) The panel shall review the circumstances of the death of a child placed in out-of-home care or
whose death was due to unexpected or unexplained causes to facilitate development of prevention
strategies to address identified trends and patterns of risk and to improve coordination of services for
children and families in the state. Members of the panel shall not be compensated for their services,
but may be reimbursed for necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.
(d) On or before January 1, 2000, and annually thereafter, the panel shall issue an annual report which
shall include its findings and recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly on its
review of child fatalities for the preceding year.
(e) Upon request of two-thirds of the members of the panel and within available appropriations, the
Governor, the General Assembly or at the Child Advocate's discretion, the Child Advocate shall
conduct an in-depth investigation and review and issue a report with recommendations on the death
or critical incident of a child. The report shall be submitted to the Governor, the General Assembly
and the commissioner of any state agency cited in the report and shall be made available to the general
public.
(f) Any state agency cited in a report issued by the Office of the Child Advocate, pursuant to the Child
Advocate's responsibilities under this section, shall submit a written response to the report and
recommendations made in the report to the Governor and the General Assembly not later than ninety
days after receipt of such report and recommendations. The General Assembly shall submit a copy of
such response to the Office of the Child Advocate immediately upon receipt.
(g) The Chief Medical Examiner shall provide timely notice to the Child Advocate and to the
chairperson of the child fatality review panel of the death of any child that is to be investigated
pursuant to section 19a-406.
(h) Any agency having responsibility for the custody or care of children shall provide timely notice to
the Child Advocate and the chairperson of the child fatality review panel of the death of a child or a
critical incident involving a child in its custody or care.

Sec. 46a-13m. Access to information. (a) Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes
concerning the confidentiality of records and information, the Child Advocate shall have access to,
including the right to inspect and copy, any records necessary to carry out the responsibilities of the
Child Advocate as provided in subsection (a) of section 46a-13l. If the Child Advocate is denied access
to any records necessary to carry out said responsibilities, he may issue a subpoena for the production
of such records as provided in subsection (c) of this section.
(b) In the performance of his responsibilities under subsection (a) of section 46a-13l the Child
Advocate may communicate privately with any child or person who has received, is receiving or should
have received services from the state. Such communications shall be confidential and not be subject
to disclosure except as provided in subsection (a) of section 46a-13n.
(c) The Child Advocate may issue subpoenas to compel the attendance and testimony of witnesses or
the production of books, papers and other documents and to administer oaths to witnesses in any
matter under his investigation. If any person to whom such subpoena is issued fails to appear or,
having appeared, refuses to give testimony or fails to produce the evidence required, the Child
Advocate may apply to the superior court for the judicial district of Hartford which shall have
jurisdiction to order such person to appear and give testimony or to produce such evidence, as the
case may be.
(d) The Child Advocate may apply for and accept grants, gifts and bequests of funds from other states,
federal and interstate agencies and independent authorities and private firms, individuals and
foundations, for the purpose of carrying out his responsibilities. There is established within the
General Fund a child advocate account which shall be a separate nonlapsing account. Any funds
received under this subsection shall, upon deposit in the General Fund, be credited to said account
and may be used by the Child Advocate in the performance of his duties.

Sec. 46a-13n. Confidentiality of information. (a) The name, address and other personally
identifiable information of a person who makes a complaint to the Child Advocate as provided in
section 46a-13l, all information obtained or generated by the office in the course of an investigation
and all confidential records obtained by the Child Advocate or a designee shall be confidential and
shall not be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act or otherwise, except that
such information and records, other than confidential information concerning a pending law
enforcement investigation or a pending prosecution, may be disclosed if the Child Advocate
determines that disclosure is (1) in the general public interest or (2) necessary to enable the Child
Advocate to perform his responsibilities under subsection (a) of section 46a-13l. If the Child Advocate
determines that disclosure of confidential information is not in the public interest but is necessary to
enable the Child Advocate to perform responsibilities under subsection (a) of section 46a-13l, or to
identify, prevent or treat the abuse or neglect of a child, the Child Advocate may disclose such
information to the appropriate agency responsible for the welfare of such child.
(b) No state or municipal agency shall discharge, or in any manner discriminate or retaliate against,
any employee who in good faith makes a complaint to the Child Advocate or cooperates with the
Office of the Child Advocate in an investigation.

Sec. 46a-13o. Representation of child. Judgments or settlements for compensation. (a) In
addition to the powers set forth in section 46a-13m, and notwithstanding section 3-125, the Child
Advocate, or his designee, may represent, appear, intervene in or bring an action on behalf of any
child in any proceeding before any court, agency, board or commission in this state in which matters
related to sections 46a-13k to 46a-13p, inclusive, are in issue. Prior to the institution of any action
brought pursuant to this subsection, the Child Advocate shall make a good faith effort to resolve
issues or problems through mediation.
(b) Any judgment for compensation or order for settlement of the claim for compensation entered by
the court pursuant to the provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall be considered as the estate
of the child for whose benefit the judgment or order is entered, to be held by the Office of the Child 
Advocate as guardian of such compensation, and shall be deposited into a trust account established
by the office for the purposes of distributing such funds to such child in accordance with the plan
adopted by the Family Division of the Superior Court.

Sec. 46a-13p. Indemnification of employees and volunteers. The state of Connecticut shall
protect and hold harmless any attorney, director, investigator, social worker or other person employed
by the Office of the Child Advocate and any volunteer appointed by the Child Advocate from financial
loss and expense, including legal fees and costs, if any, arising out of any claim, demand or suit for
damages resulting from acts or omissions committed in the discharge of his duties with the program
within the scope of his employment or appointment which may constitute negligence but which acts
are not wanton, malicious or grossly negligent as determined by a court of competent jurisdiction.
Sec. 46a-13q. Advisory committee established. Section 46a-13q is repealed, effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 46a-13r. Advisory committee established. There is established an advisory committee to the
Office of the Child Advocate established under section 46a-13k. Said committee shall prepare and
submit to the Governor a list of candidates for appointment of the Child Advocate. The advisory
committee shall consist of seven members as follows: (1) One appointed by the president pro tempore
of the Senate; (2) one appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives; (3) one appointed
by the majority leader of the Senate; (4) one appointed by the majority leader of the House of
Representatives; (5) one appointed by the minority leader of the Senate; (6) one appointed by the
minority leader of the House of Representatives; and (7) one appointed by the Governor. The
committee shall select a chairperson who shall preside at meetings of the committee. No member of
the advisory committee shall be a person who is a volunteer for, a board member of, or is employed
by, any entity or agency subject to the review of, or evaluation or monitoring by the Child Advocate
pursuant to section 46a-13l, or is a communicator lobbyist who pursuant to such lobbyist's registration
under chapter 10, lobbies on behalf of any entity or agency subject to the review of, or evaluation or
monitoring by the Child Advocate pursuant to said section 46a-13l. Each member of the advisory
committee shall serve a term of five years and may be reappointed at the conclusion of such term. All
initial appointments to the advisory committee shall be made not later than September 1, 2011. Each
member of the advisory committee shall serve a five-year term from July first of the year of their
appointment. Any vacancy in the membership of the committee shall be filled by the appointing
authority for the unexpired portion of the term.

Sec. 46a-13s. Causes and rates of child fatalities. Annual report. (a) The Office of the Child
Advocate, in consultation with the child fatality review panel, established pursuant to 46a-13l, shall
conduct a study regarding the causes and rates of child fatalities in the state.
(b) Not later than July 1, 2016, and annually thereafter, the Child Advocate shall submit a report, in
accordance with section 11-4a, to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having
cognizance of matters relating to children and education regarding the causes and rates of child
fatalities in the state.
(c) Not later than sixty days after receiving the annual report submitted by the Child Advocate
pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, the joint standing committees of the General Assembly
having cognizance of matters relating to children and education shall hold a joint public forum
regarding the causes and rates of child fatalities in the state

 

 

 

Other Legal Authority (PDF, 299K)

Other Legal Authority (PDF, 446K)

Other Legal Authority (Freedom of Information)  http://www.state.ct.us/foi/2000fd/20000524/FIC2000-096.htm