First Adoption Under New Law Takes Place in Willimantic
Attorney General George Jepsen and Commissioner Joette Katz, Department of Children and Families, said an adoption of a teenage boy finalized Monday in the Superior Court for Juvenile Matters in Willimantic was the first under a new law that took effect Oct. 1.
The new law gives the Superior Court for Juvenile Matters the authority to conduct adoption hearings and authorize the adoption of minor children whose biological parents’ rights were terminated by same court. Before the change, adoptions ordered by the Superior Court for Juvenile Matters were finalized in probate court.
“This change allows the parties involved in the proceedings, from the attorneys to the judges to witness the happy conclusion of new families being created,” said Attorney General George Jepsen.
Commissioner Katz said, "Juvenile Court Judges are already very familiar with the case and know about the care the child has received by the proposed adoptive parents."
"Because following the termination of parental rights adjudication in the Superior Court for Juvenile Matters, we do not have to initiate adoption proceedings in a separate court system, we believe that this law will decrease the length of time between termination of parental rights and adoption and permit permanency for the child and the adoptive family in an expeditious fashion,” Commissioner Katz said.
Superior Court Judge Francis Foley III presided over the hearing Monday, and approved the teen’s adoption by the family with whom he had been living as a foster child since 2010. The hearing concluded with celebratory balloons and cake.
“This was a very important day for every foster child in Connecticut who wants a permanent home. This process allowing adoption in the Superior Court should reduce the time children spend in temporary foster care,” Judge Foley said.
“This is a win-win situation. It is a win for children who are eager to be adopted and a win for the Department of Children and Families and Commissioner Katz, who have worked so hard to move children to permanent homes. Adoption in the Superior Court also will increase Connecticut’s compliance with the federal Adoption and Safe Families Act,” Judge Foley said.
The statutory change had been advocated by the Commissioner Katz and the Department of Children & Families, the Office of the Attorney General’s Child Protection department, headed by Assistant Attorneys General Susan Pearlman and Benjamin Zivyon and by the Connecticut Judicial Branch.
Three more adoptions are scheduled this week in the Superior Court for Juvenile Matters in New Haven, Waterbury and Hartford. November is National Adoption Month.