There are thirteen Juvenile Courts throughout Connecticut. There is also a Child Protection Session located in Middletown which hears cases which the local courts cannot accommodate. Juvenile Court cases are confidential and the proceedings are closed to the public. Recently, however, there has been a movement to allow the public access under certain conditions.
The Juvenile Courts decide the following types of cases which involve the care and custody of a minor child under the age of 18:
Child Protection. These are cases filed by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) alleging that a child is abused, neglected or uncared for. If the allegations are serious enough DCF may also file a Termination of Parental Rights petition.
Reinstatement of guardianship. If a parent lost guardianship of a child to grandparent, relative or other third party pursuant to an order from a juvenile court the parent may file a petition to have their guardianship rights reinstated.
Emancipation. These are cases filed by a child who is over age 16 but under age 18 requesting that they be declared an adult.
Juvenile Courts also hear cases involving the behavior of a child under the age of 16. These cases handled by a juvenile prosecutor and are of two types:
Family With Service Needs (FWSN). The petitioner in this type of case is usually a parent or guardian alleging that a child is beyond their control. A school can also file a FWSN if a child is truant. These offenses are considered "status offenses" since the offense involves illegal behavior by a child under 16 although the same behavior would not be illegal if committed by an adult.
Delinquency. These are cases which involve the arrest of a child. If the case is considered a serious juvenile offense the case may be transferred to the adult criminal court.
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