2012 Connecticut General Statutes
Title 46b - Family Law
Chapter 815t - Juvenile Matters
Section 46b-120 - (Formerly Sec. 51-301). Definitions.


CT Gen Stat § 46b-120 (2012) What's This?

The terms used in this chapter shall, in its interpretation and in the interpretation of other statutes, be defined as follows:

(1) “Child” means any person under eighteen years of age who has not been legally emancipated, except that (A) for purposes of delinquency matters and proceedings, “child” means any person who (i) is at least seven years of age at the time of the alleged commission of a delinquent act and who is (I) under eighteen years of age and has not been legally emancipated, or (II) eighteen years of age or older and committed a delinquent act prior to attaining eighteen years of age, or (ii) is subsequent to attaining eighteen years of age, (I) violates any order of the Superior Court or any condition of probation ordered by the Superior Court with respect to a delinquency proceeding, or (II) wilfully fails to appear in response to a summons under section 46b-133 or at any other court hearing in a delinquency proceeding of which the child had notice, and (B) 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;

(2) “Youth” means any person sixteen or seventeen years of age who has not been legally emancipated;

(3) A child may be found “mentally deficient” who, by reason of a deficiency of intelligence that has existed from birth or from early age, requires, or will require, for such child’s protection or for the protection of others, special care, supervision and control;

(4) (A) A child may be convicted as “delinquent” who has, while under sixteen years of age, (i) violated any federal or state law, except section 53a-172, 53a-173, 53a-222, 53a-222a, 53a-223 or 53a-223a, or violated a municipal or local ordinance, except an ordinance regulating behavior of a child in a family with service needs, (ii) wilfully failed to appear in response to a summons under section 46b-133 or at any other court hearing in a delinquency proceeding of which the child had notice, (iii) violated any order of the Superior Court in a delinquency proceeding, except as provided in section 46b-148, or (iv) violated conditions of probation in a delinquency proceeding as ordered by the court;

(B) A child may be convicted as “delinquent” who has (i) while sixteen or seventeen years of age, violated any federal or state law, other than (I) an infraction, except an infraction under subsection (d) of section 21a-267, (II) a violation, except a violation under subsection (a) of section 21a-279a, (III) a motor vehicle offense or violation under title 14, (IV) a violation of a municipal or local ordinance, or (V) a violation of section 51-164r, 53a-172, 53a-173, 53a-222, 53a-222a, 53a-223 or 53a-223a, (ii) while sixteen years of age or older, wilfully failed to appear in response to a summons under section 46b-133 or at any other court hearing in a delinquency proceeding of which the child had notice, (iii) while sixteen years of age or older, violated any order of the Superior Court in a delinquency proceeding, except as provided in section 46b-148, or (iv) while sixteen years of age or older, violated conditions of probation in a delinquency proceeding as ordered by the court;

(5) “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;

(6) A child or youth may be found “neglected” who, for reasons other than being impoverished, (A) has been abandoned, (B) is being denied proper care and attention, physically, educationally, emotionally or morally, or (C) is being permitted to live under conditions, circumstances or associations injurious to the well-being of the child or youth;

(7) A child or youth may be found “abused” who (A) has been inflicted with physical injury or injuries other than by accidental means, (B) has injuries that are at variance with the history given of them, or (C) is in a condition that is the result of maltreatment, including, but not limited to, malnutrition, sexual molestation or exploitation, deprivation of necessities, emotional maltreatment or cruel punishment;

(8) A child or youth may be found “uncared for” who is homeless or whose home cannot provide the specialized care that the physical, emotional or mental condition of the child or youth requires. For the purposes of this section, the treatment of any child or youth by an accredited Christian Science practitioner, in lieu of treatment by a licensed practitioner of the healing arts, shall not of itself constitute neglect or maltreatment;

(9) “Delinquent act” means (A) the violation by a child under the age of sixteen of any federal or state law, except the violation of section 53a-172, 53a-173, 53a-222, 53a-222a, 53a-223 or 53a-223a, or the violation of a municipal or local ordinance, except an ordinance regulating behavior of a child in a family with service needs, (B) the violation by a child sixteen or seventeen years of age of any federal or state law, other than (i) an infraction, except an infraction under subsection (d) of section 21a-267, (ii) a violation, except a violation under subsection (a) of section 21a-279a, (iii) a motor vehicle offense or violation under title 14, (iv) the violation of a municipal or local ordinance, or (v) the violation of section 51-164r, 53a-172, 53a-173, 53a-222, 53a-222a, 53a-223 or 53a-223a, (C) the wilful failure of a child, including a child who has attained the age of eighteen, to appear in response to a summons under section 46b-133 or at any other court hearing in a delinquency proceeding of which the child has notice, (D) the violation of any order of the Superior Court in a delinquency proceeding by a child, including a child who has attained the age of eighteen, except as provided in section 46b-148, or (E) the violation of conditions of probation in a delinquency proceeding by a child, including a child who has attained the age of eighteen, as ordered by the court;

(10) “Serious juvenile offense” means (A) the violation of, including attempt or conspiracy to violate, section 21a-277, 21a-278, 29-33, 29-34, 29-35, subdivision (2) or (3) of subsection (a) of section 53-21, 53-80a, 53-202b, 53-202c, 53-390 to 53-392, inclusive, 53a-54a to 53a-57, inclusive, 53a-59 to 53a-60c, inclusive, 53a-64aa, 53a-64bb, 53a-70 to 53a-71, inclusive, 53a-72b, 53a-86, 53a-92 to 53a-94a, inclusive, 53a-95, 53a-100aa, 53a-101, 53a-102a, 53a-103a or 53a-111 to 53a-113, inclusive, subdivision (1) of subsection (a) of section 53a-122, subdivision (3) of subsection (a) of section 53a-123, section 53a-134, 53a-135, 53a-136a or 53a-167c, subsection (a) of section 53a-174, or section 53a-196a, 53a-211, 53a-212, 53a-216 or 53a-217b, or (B) running away, without just cause, from any secure placement other than home while referred as a delinquent child to the Court Support Services Division or committed as a delinquent child to the Commissioner of Children and Families for a serious juvenile offense;

(11) “Serious juvenile offender” means any child convicted as delinquent for the commission of a serious juvenile offense;

(12) “Serious juvenile repeat offender” means any child charged with the commission of any felony if such child has previously been convicted as delinquent or otherwise convicted at any age for two violations of any provision of title 21a, 29, 53 or 53a that is designated as a felony;

(13) “Alcohol-dependent” means a psychoactive substance dependence on alcohol as that condition is defined in the most recent edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders”; and

(14) “Drug-dependent” means a psychoactive substance dependence on drugs as that condition is defined in the most recent edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders”. No child shall be classified as drug-dependent who is dependent (A) upon a morphine-type substance as an incident to current medical treatment of a demonstrable physical disorder other than drug dependence, or (B) upon amphetamine-type, ataractic, barbiturate-type, hallucinogenic or other stimulant and depressant substances as an incident to current medical treatment of a demonstrable physical or psychological disorder, or both, other than drug dependence.

(1949 Rev., S. 2802; 1959, P.A. 28, S. 52; 1967, P.A. 630, S. 1; 1969, P.A. 794, S. 1; 1971, P.A. 72, S. 14; P.A. 75-602, S. 1, 13; P.A. 76-436, S. 668, 681; P.A. 77-577, S. 4; P.A. 79-567, S. 1, 7; 79-581, S. 1; P.A. 80-401, S. 4; P.A. 85-226, S. 1; P.A. 87-373, S. 13; P.A. 90-161, S. 1, 6; 90-240, S. 2, 6; 90-325, S. 19, 32; P.A. 91-303, S. 11, 22; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 92-1, S. 2; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 92-3; P.A. 93-91, S. 1, 2; 93-340, S. 16; P.A. 95-225, S. 9; P.A. 97-319, S. 18, 22; P.A. 98-256, S. 1; P.A. 00-177, S. 1, 5; P.A. 02-109, S. 1; 02-132, S. 18; P.A. 05-250, S. 1; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 07-4, S. 73; Sept. Sp. Sess. P.A. 09-7, S. 69, 82; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 10-1, S. 28; P.A. 11-71, S. 7–10; 11-157, S. 9–12; 11-240, S. 2, 3; June 12 Sp. Sess. P.A. 12-1, S. 266, 267.)

History: 1959 act amended definition of child and substituted circuit court for town, city, police or borough courts; 1967 act changed definition of dependent child’s home from “poverty” to “financial instability” for “specialized care” and redefined child; 1969 act redefined “delinquent” child, substituted “financial inability” for “financial instability” in definition of “dependent” child, substituted educational and emotional deprivation for mental neglect in definition of “neglected” child and deleted reference to living under evil associations of home conditions and redefined “uncared for” child to delete reference to child whose home is unsuitable or who cannot support himself legally or without subjecting himself to conditions prejudicial to normal development; 1971 act redefined “child” to omit those between 16 and 18 years old who have been transferred from circuit court to superior court jurisdiction; P.A. 75-602 defined “youth”, added reference to “neglected” youths and “uncared for” youths and redefined “uncared for” to include reference to home which cannot perform specialized care needed and to specify that treatment by Christian Science practitioner does not constitute neglect or maltreatment; P.A. 76-436 replaced reference to juvenile court with reference to superior court, effective July 1, 1978; P.A. 77-577 defined “abused” and added reference to abused child in definition of “neglected” child; P.A. 79-567 defined “family with service needs” and amended definition of “delinquent” child accordingly; P.A. 79-581 defined “serious juvenile offense” and “serious juvenile offender”; Sec. 17-53 temporarily renumbered as Sec. 51-301 and ultimately transferred to Sec. 46b-120 in 1979; P.A. 80-401 changed effective date of P.A. 79-567 from July 1, 1980 to July 1, 1981; P.A. 85-226 amended definition of “delinquent” by deleting exception for order entered in matter relating to a family with service needs; P.A. 87-373 redefined “serious juvenile offense” to include a violation of Sec. 21a-277 or 21a-278; P.A. 90-161 added definitions re “alcohol-dependent child” and “drug-dependent child”; P.A. 90-240 substituted “mentally deficient” for “defective”, deleted the phrase “defect of intelligence” and substituted “truant or habitual truant”, as defined, for “habitually truant”; P.A. 90-325 changed effective date of P.A. 90-240 from July 1, 1990, to July 1, 1991; P.A. 91-303 removed a cite to Sec. 10-198a for the definition of truant and habitual truant; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 92-1 amended definition of “serious juvenile offense” to include a violation of Sec. 53a-217b; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 92-3 amended definition of “serious juvenile offense” to include violations of Secs. 29-35, 53a-94a, 53a-102a, 53a-103a, 53a-212 and 53a-216; P.A. 93-91 substituted commissioner and department of children and families for commissioner and department of children and youth services, effective July 1, 1993; P.A. 93-340 amended definition of “family with service needs” to add Subpara. (E) re a child who is 13 years of age or older and has engaged in sexual intercourse with another person within a certain age range; P.A. 95-225 inserted Subdiv. indicators, revising Subpara. indicators accordingly for statutory consistency, added definition of “delinquent act”, amended the definition of “serious juvenile offense” to include violations of Secs. 29-33, 29-34, 53-21, 53-202b and 53-202c and include running away from any secure placement other than home while “referred as a delinquent child to the Office of Alternative Sanctions”, amended the definition of “serious juvenile offender” to replace “adjudicated a delinquent child” with “convicted as delinquent” and added definition of “serious juvenile repeat offender”; P.A. 97-319 redefined “abused” to include exploitation of a child or youth, effective July 1, 1997; P.A. 98-256 amended the definition of “child” in Subdiv. (1) to add definition of child for purposes of delinquency matters, amended the definition of a child found “delinquent” in Subdiv. (5) to replace “found” with “convicted as” and to include a child who has violated conditions of probation ordered by the court and amended the definition of “serious juvenile offense” in Subdiv. (11) to include a violation of Sec. 53a-136a; P.A. 00-177 added new Subdiv. (3) defining “youth in crisis”, renumbered Subdivs. (3) to (15), inclusive, as (4) to (16), and made changes throughout section for purposes of gender neutrality, effective July 1, 2001; P.A. 02-109 redefined “youth” in Subdiv. (2) by replacing “sixteen to eighteen” with “sixteen or seventeen” years of age, redefined “youth in crisis” in Subdiv. (3) by inserting “youth” in place of a specific age range and made technical changes, effective June 7, 2002; P.A. 02-132 made technical changes throughout and replaced “Office of Alternative Sanctions” with “Court Support Services Division” in Subdiv. (12); P.A. 05-250 added exception re provisions of Sec. 46b-148 in Subdiv. (6)(B) and made technical changes, effective October 1, 2007; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 07-4 redefined “child” for purposes of delinquency matters and proceedings to include children under “eighteen” years of age, instead of “sixteen”, and rewrote provisions, deleted definition of “youth in crisis” in former Subdiv. (3) and renumbered existing Subdivs. accordingly, redefined a child who may be convicted as “delinquent”, “delinquent act”, “serious juvenile offense”, and “serious juvenile repeat offender”, substituted “alcohol-dependent” for “alcohol-dependent child” and “drug-dependent” for “drug-dependent child”, and made technical changes, effective January 1, 2010; Sept. Sp. Sess. P.A. 09-7 redefined “child”, “youth”, “youth in crisis”, “convicted as delinquent”, “family with service needs” and “delinquent act” and made technical changes, effective January 1, 2010, and further amended said definitions to include children 17 years of age and deleted definition of “youth in crisis”, effective July 1, 2012 (Revisor’s note: In Subdiv. (2), the words “who has not been legally emancipated” were inadvertently dropped from the version effective July 1, 2012, and were restored editorially by the Revisors for accuracy); June Sp. Sess. P.A. 10-1 redefined “child” in Subdiv. (1), child who may be convicted as “delinquent” in Subdiv. (5), “family with service needs” in Subdiv. (7), “delinquent act” in Subdiv. (10), and “serious juvenile offense” in Subdiv. (11), effective June 22, 2010; P.A. 11-71 amended Subdiv. (5) re definition of child who may be convicted as “delinquent” to add exception in Subpara. (B)(i)(I) for infraction under Sec. 21a-267(d) and exception in Subpara. (B)(i)(II) for violation under Sec. 21a-279a(a), and amended Subdiv. (10) re definition of “delinquent act” to add exception in Subpara. (B)(i) for infraction under Sec. 21a-267(d) and exception in Subpara. (B)(ii) for violation under Sec. 21a-279a(a), effective July 1, 2011; P.A. 11-157 amended Subdivs. (5) and (10) to add reference to Secs. 53a-222, 53a-222a, 53a-223 and 53a-223a, amended Subdiv. (10)(C) to (E) to delete “or older” re age of 17, and amended Subdiv. (11) to add reference to Secs. 53a-64aa, 53a-64bb and 53a-100aa, effective October 1, 2011, and further amended section to redefine “child” in Subdiv. (1), child who may be convicted as “delinquent” in Subdiv. (5), “family with service needs” in Subdiv. (7), “delinquent act” in Subdiv. (10), and “serious juvenile offense” in Subdiv. (11), effective July 1, 2012; P.A. 11-240 deleted former Subdiv. (3) re definition of “abused” and renumbered existing Subdivs. (4) and (5) as Subdivs. (3) and (4), deleted former Subdiv. (6) re definition of “dependent” and renumbered existing Subdivs. (7) and (8) as Subdivs. (5) and (6), amended Subdiv. (6) by deleting former Subpara. (D) re abused child or youth and adding exception for impoverished child or youth, added new Subdiv. (7) restating definition of “abused”, and renumbered existing Subdivs. (9) to (15) as Subdivs. (8) to (14), effective July 1, 2011; June 12 Sp. Sess. P.A. 12-1 redefined “child” in Subdiv. (1) and “family with service needs” in Subdiv. (5).

Cited. 154 C. 644; 158 C. 439.

“Uncared for” is not limited to “uncared for by each living biological parent”, but can include being cared for by close relative with the consent of biological parent. 33 CS 100.

Annotations to present section:

Cited. 187 C. 431; 189 C. 276; 195 C. 303; Id., 344; 199 C. 693; 204 C. 630; 206 C. 323; Id., 346; 207 C. 270; Id., 725; 210 C. 435; 211 C. 151; Id., 289; 214 C. 454; 215 C. 277; Id., 739; 221 C. 903; 223 C. 492; 229 C. 691; 237 C. 364; 240 C. 727; Id., 743. In predictive neglect proceedings, trial court must find with respect to each parent who has entered a plea contesting the neglect petition and who has expressed a willingness to care for the child independently of the other parent, if the child were to remain in that parent’s independent care, the child would be denied proper care and attention, physically, educationally, emotionally or morally or would be permitted to live under conditions, circumstances or associations injurious to the well-being of the child; if the parents indicate they intend to care for the child jointly or if a court discredits a claim that a parent will care for the child independently, the court may treat the parents as a single unit. 305 C. 633.

Cited. 1 CA 378; 2 CA 705; 3 CA 158; Id., 194; 9 CA 98; 10 CA 428; 11 CA 507; 18 CA 806; 23 CA 410. Where statutory requirements are met, a mother’s prenatal conduct can be basis of a finding of neglect or termination of parental rights. 25 CA 586; judgment reversed, see 223 C. 492. Cited. 29 CA 600; 32 CA 759; 36 CA 146; 40 CA 216; 45 CA 606; 46 CA 545; 47 CA 64. It is not a constitutional right, but rather a statutory right, to be considered a juvenile. 51 CA 117. Adjudication of neglect may be based on potential risk of harm. 58 CA 119. In a substantiation of abuse hearing, if it is shown that child has sustained a nonaccidental injury as result of parent administered corporal punishment, hearing officer must determine whether the punishment was reasonable and whether parent believed the punishment was necessary to maintain discipline or to promote child’s welfare. 86 CA 290. Although no actual harm was done to child, child was neglected within definition of section because the father was not taking his medication as required to remedy his known mental health condition and neither he nor respondent understood, or attempted to learn, extent of the risk that father may have posed to the child in his unmedicated state. 98 CA 797. An adjudication of neglect relates to the status of the child and is not necessarily premised on parental fault, and a finding that a child is neglected is different from finding who is responsible for child’s condition of neglect. 121 CA 292, 123 CA 103. Plaintiff-teacher could not have been on notice that his cheek-pinching and name-calling behavior toward a student amounted to child abuse within the meaning of “abused” as interpreted by Department of Children and Families regulations, and as such, the definition of “abused” was unconstitutionally vague as to plaintiff’s conduct and placement of plaintiff’s name on child abuse and neglect registry based on such definition was unconstitutional. 134 CA 288.

Cited. 35 CS 241; 39 CS 490; Id., 514; 41 CS 23; Id., 505; 42 CS 562; 43 CS 108; Id., 211; Id., 367.

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