Among the factors the officer should consider when deciding the appropriate course of action are:
Among the factors the officer should never consider are:
The options available to the officer differ depending on whether the case is a Family With Service Needs (FWSN) case or a delinquency (criminal) case.
Definitions: A FWSN case is one that meets the definition set forth in CGS §46b-120(5) and that is a family that includes a child who is at least seven years of age and under eighteen years of age, and not emancipated, who:
NOTE: The police do not refer a child for truancy or defiance of school rules. Only the school may refer those cases because certain school records and the signature of the Superintendent are required.
If, while on patrol, an officer encounters a child that appears to be truant from school, the school and the child's parent should be notified and the contacts documented in the officer's report. Repeated incidents should be documented and written notification sent to the school and child's parent.
Police Mandates in FWSN Cases:
Since FWSN cases are not criminal in nature, children charged only with FWSN offenses cannot be locked or confined in a cell or room, restrained to an object or be admitted to a juvenile detention center.
The following statutes set forth the responsibilities and options available to the police in FWSN cases.
Police Options in FWSN Cases:
NOTE: although the statute says the child should be referred to the juvenile court "where the child located," the proper venue for juvenile cases is the juvenile court serving the child's town of residence, not where the child is located. Click here to determine the proper court location based on the child's town of residence.
(B) the officer may release the child at any time without taking further action;
NOTE: this option is not recommended unless there is an exit plan (arrangements are made for someone to pick up the child within a reasonable period of time), or such custody is necessary to transport the child to a medical or mental health facility for assessment or treatment or there is some other exigent or emergency situation.
Other options to consider in such cases include:
Once a missing child is located, the parent/guardian notified and the matter referred to the court or an appropriate agency for services, the officer should close out their case and leave the matter to the family and involved agencies to resolve. The matter is no longer a police matter at that point.
CGS §46b-120(4)(A) says that a "delinquent" child is one that has, while under sixteen years of age,
CGS §46b-120(4)(B) says that a "delinquent" child is one that has, while sixteen or seventeen years of age, has
wilfully failed to appear in response to a summons under §46b-133 or at any other court hearing in a delinquency proceeding of which the child had notice,
Police Options in Delinquency Cases:
Options resulting in referral to the Juvenile Court:
CGS §46b-133(c) sets forth three options upon the arrest of any child. They are:
Before a judge can sign an Order to Detain, the judge is required to find from the available facts that:
If the judge is unable to sign the Order to Detain form because none of these three grounds apply (example: the child is charged with a minor offense and there is no indication that the child poses a risk to public safety, the child is not wanted elsewhere and has no history of failing to appear but the reason for seeking detention is that a parent or other adult cannot be found or is not able or willing to take the child home), then the DCF Careline should be contacted at 1-800-842-2288 or 860-550-6550 (law enforcement officers only). A protocol has been developed for such cases and DCF will assist in finding an alternative placement for the child or take the child into temporary DCF custody if necessary.
These are the only options available to the police when handling the case of a child charged with committing a delinquent act.
The police cannot set bond in a juvenile case, although a judge may set a bond when the judge signs an arrest warrant.
The police cannot set any conditions of release in a juvenile case. Essentially the child is either served with a Juvenile Summons and released on a promise to appear or they are placed in a juvenile detention center.