Return to CT.Gov Home
Department of Children and Families
DCF Logo

Policy Manual
COURTS
Superior Court For Juvenile Matters

46-3-19
Order of Temporary Custody with Neglect Petition

Definitions

 

An Order of Temporary Custody (OTC) with Neglect Petition is an ex parte order by a judge that is granted to the Department to safeguard the immediate safety of a child without a hearing. When granted by the judge, the OTC vests the care and custody of the child concerned in the person or agency (usually the Department) named in the OTC pending the adjudication on the merits of the neglect petition. The OTC does not transfer legal guardianship of the child or affect parental rights except as to physical custody. 

An ex parte order is an order that is granted immediately and for the benefit of one party only and without notice to, or an opportunity to contest by, any person adversely affected by the order.  

When a Motion for Order of Temporary Custody is filed with the neglect petition, then the filing of the OTC is also the beginning of the first phase of the neglect proceeding.
Legal Basis Connecticut General Statutes § 46b - 129.
When is an OTC Filed?

The Department shall request an Order of Temporary Custody using Form JD-JM-58 when there is reasonable cause to believe that 

·          the child is in immediate physical danger, or 

·          the child is suffering from serious physical illness or physical injury, and 

·          the conditions or circumstances surrounding the care of said child require that custody be immediately assumed to safeguard the child. 

The Commissioner, or designee, may authorize the investigator or any law enforcement officer to remove a child from his/her surroundings without the consent of the child’s parent(s) or guardian(s) when an investigation determines that there is probable cause to believe that the child is at imminent risk of physical harm and that immediate removal from such surroundings is necessary to ensure the child’s safety. This is done via a 96-hour hold, after which the OTC shall be filed as soon as possible, but not later than 96 hours after the removal. 

Cross-References:  34-10-4, Immediate Removal / 96-Hour Hold, and 34-10-5,  Order of Temporary Custody.
Emergency Medical Situation

When an emergency medical situation exists that requires the immediate assumption of temporary custody of a child in order to save the child’s life, two (2) physicians, under oath, must attest to the need for such medical treatment. 

A judge may give oral permission after considering the sworn oral testimony of the physicians that a specified surgical or medical intervention is absolutely necessary to preserve the child’s life. 

Legal Reference: Conn. Practice Book §32-9.
Documents to be Filed

The documents required for filing a Motion for an Order for Temporary Custody are identified on the Checklist For Filing An Order Of Temporary Custody With Neglect (DCF 2012) following this section. 

The Social Worker shall bring relevant DCF records to the first OTC hearing and make available for review by parents and appropriate counsel any documents that are pertinent to the case. 

Copies of affidavit(s) in DCF’s possession that would provide the court with relevant information about the case shall also be included in the OTC package presented to the court.
Specific Steps

Pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b– 129j, the court is required to provide both the Department and the parents with specific steps that the parents must take to facilitate the return of the child to the parents or to maintain the child in their home. 

The Department shall submit proposed Specific Steps (JD-JM 106 or 106S) with the OTC package.
Court of Jurisdiction

The Motion for Order of Temporary Custody and the neglect petition shall be filed in the juvenile court serving the town or city in which the child resides at the time of the filing, unless the child has been removed prior to the filing via a 96-Hour Hold.  If the removal occurred prior to filing, the proper juvenile court is that which serves the town or city where the custodial parent resides.  However, if the child is hospitalized, the address of the most recent caretaker shall be used. 

Legal reference:  Connecticut Practice Book, § 33a – 3 

Note:  If a judge is not available in the local juvenile court to review an OTC, any Superior Court judge may sign the order.  However, the documents must be filed subsequently with the appropriate juvenile court.
Hearings

If the judge grants the Department the ex parte Order of Temporary Custody, in accordance with statute, a preliminary hearing and case management conference on the Order of Temporary Custody shall be held within ten (10) days. If no agreement is reached, an evidentiary hearing or trial shall be held on the motion within the next ten (10) days. 

The court may schedule a separate hearing for a plea on the neglect petition, or may combine the plea hearing with an OTC hearing.
Notify Legal Staff

A Principal Attorney or Staff Attorney shall

·  be notified as soon as the Department knows that a Motion for Order of Temporary Custody will be filed with the court, and  

·  review the motion and supporting documents for legal sufficiency.
Medical Concerns

If the judge grants the Department an Order of Temporary Custody, the Social Worker, when placing the child in out-of-home care, shall ensure that health information and documentation, including medications and permission to treat forms are given to the foster parent or other caregiver. 

The Order of Temporary Custody authorizes the Department to arrange for necessary medical and dental care for the child. However, every effort shall be made to secure a parent’s consent prior to the treatment. If both parents refuse to consent, the Social Worker shall: 

·          document the refusal in LINK 

·          continue to notify the parents regarding the child’s medical and dental condition, and 

·          provide the foster parent or other caregiver with permission to treat forms.  

The Department can authorize necessary medical care in the absence of consent from a parent or legal guardian.  However, the Department cannot authorize medical procedures such as evaluations for investigation purposes without a parent’s or legal guardian’s permission or an order of the court. 

Legal Reference:  Tennenbaum v. Williams, 193 F.3d 581 (2nd Cir.1999)
Service of Process The Social Worker shall immediately contact the area office person assigned to arrange for service of process on the respondent parents after the Order of Temporary Custody has been signed.
Parties Who Shall Be Served Each parent and/or legal guardian named on the petition shall be served, including legal, acknowledged, or putative fathers, and the Department (if not the petitioner.)
Witnesses

The Social Worker shall contact the assigned Assistant Attorney General (AAG) to notify him/her of the OTC and to discuss who the witnesses are and what documentary evidence will be presented to the court. 

Cross-Reference:  46-3-5, Staff Roles and Responsibilities for Court Activities. 

After consulting with the AAG, the Social Worker shall notify the witnesses of the date for the hearing. If requested by the AAG, the Social Worker shall schedule a meeting between witnesses and the AAG before the hearing. 

A witness can testify regarding any facts about which he or she has personal knowledge, or, if qualified in court as an expert, about his or her area of professional expertise. 
Rules of Evidence As the rules of evidence are complex,  the AAG shall be responsible for adequately  preparing the Social Worker, as well as other witnesses, for the hearing.  The preparation shall include a briefing on what is admissible in court.
Type of Service Required and Time Frames

If the whereabouts of the parent(s) or guardian(s) are known and he or she resides in the state, he or she may be served in person or at his or her place of residence.   

If the parent(s) or guardian(s) reside at a known address out of the state or in another country, he or she will be served via certified mail, return receipt requested. 

If the whereabouts of the parent(s) or guardian(s) are unknown, the notice of the OTC hearing date and the neglect hearing date shall be published in a newspaper with general circulation in the town or city where the parent(s) or guardian(s) were last known to be residing. 

If the court dates permit, the OTC shall be served at least five (5) days prior to the  hearing.  If time does not permit, the OTC shall be served as soon as possible to give all parties the maximum amount of time to appear in court and respond to the allegations. 

Every effort shall be made to serve the OTC within twenty-four (24) hours of being signed by the judge.  

Cross-Reference:   See policies 46-3-30.3, General Procedures; 46-3-30.4,  Neglect Petitions Without an OTC;  and 46-3-30.5, For a Neglect Petition with an OTC or an Order to Appear.

Connecticut Department of Children and Families Effective Date: November 1, 2005 (Revised)