HANDLING FAMILIES WITH SERVICE NEEDS (FWSN) CASES
- “Child” - for purposes of family with service needs matters and proceedings, “child” means a person who is at least seven years of age and is under eighteen years of age;
- “Family with service needs” - means a family that includes a child who is at least seven years of age and is under eighteen years of age who
(A) has without just cause run away from the parental home or other properly authorized and lawful place of abode,
(B) is beyond the control of the child’s or youth’s parent, parents, guardian or other custodian,
(C) has engaged in indecent or immoral conduct,
(D) is a truant or habitual truant or who, while in school, has been continuously and overtly defiant of school rules and regulations, or
(E) is thirteen years of age or older and has engaged in sexual intercourse with another person and such other person is thirteen years of age or older and not more than two years older or younger than such child or youth;
Duties of the police when dealing with a child of family with service needs:
- Any police officer who receives a report from the parent or guardian of a child that such child is a member of a family with service needs shall:
1. promptly attempt to locate the child.
2. If the officer locates such child, or any child he believes has run away from his parent or guardian’s home without permission, or any nondelinquent juvenile runaway from another state, he shall report the location of the child to the parent or guardian, and may respond in one of the following ways:
a. transport the child to the home of the child’s parent or guardian or any other person;
b. refer the child to the superior court for juvenile matters in the district where the child is located;
c. hold the child in protective custody for a maximum period of twelve hours until the officer can determine a more suitable disposition of the matter, provided
the child is not held in any locked room or cell and
d. the officer may release the child at any time without taking further action; or
e. transport or refer a child to any public or private agency serving children, with or without the agreement of the child.
- If a child is transported or referred to an agency pursuant to this section, such agency may provide services to the child unless or until the child’s parent or guardian at any time refuses to agree to those services. Such agency shall be immune from any liability, civil or criminal, which might otherwise be incurred or imposed; provided such services are provided in good faith and in a nonnegligent manner.
- Any police officer acting in accordance with the provisions of this section shall be deemed to be acting in the course of his official duties.
- When referring a child for a FWSN offense to the juvenile court, a form JD-JM-120, Complaint, Non-School Family With Service Needs, Rev. 4-12 should be used.
- Police DO NOT refer for truancy or defiance of school rules. Those referrals must come from the school administration.
If a police officer becomes aware of a truancy situation, the officer should notify the parent and the school and document such notice. If the truancy persists without the school or parent taking appropriate action, written notification should be sent to the parent and the school and DCF should be notified.
- Police are also required, upon receipt of a report of a missing child under the age of eighteen to:
a. immediately accept such report for filing,
b. inform all on-duty police officers of the existence of the missing child or youth report and
c. communicate the report to other appropriate law enforcement agencies.
- A police officer should not attempt to forcibly remove a child from a location unless the officer determines that the environment where the child is located is unsafe or potentially injurious to the health, welfare or morals of the child.
- The charge of custodial interference (CGS §53a-98) only applies in the following situations:
a. Being a relative of a child who is less than sixteen years old and intending to hold such child permanently or for a protracted period and knowing that he has no legal right to do so, he takes or entices such child from his lawful custodian;
b. knowing that he has no legal right to do so, he takes or entices from lawful custody any incompetent person or any person entrusted by authority of law to the custody of another person or institution; or
c. knowing that he has no legal right to do so, he holds, keeps or otherwise refuses to return a child who is less than sixteen years old to such child’s lawful custodian after a request by such custodian for the return of such child.
- It is now a class A misdemeanor for any parent, guardian or person having custody or control, or providing supervision, of any child under the age of twelve years who knowingly fails to report the disappearance of such child to an appropriate law enforcement agency. For the purposes of this law, “disappearance of such child” means that the parent, guardian or person does not know the location of the child and has not had contact with the child for a twenty-four-hour period.
- A runaway child from another state may be placed in a staff secure facility if a judge of the Connecticut Superior Court signs a form JD-JM-193, Interstate Compact For Juveniles Take Into Custody Application and Order, Non-Delinquent Runaway, New 4-12. The locations of those facilities are on the JD-JM-193 form.