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Children's Rights Litigation

September 26, 2012

In Re. Emoni W. et. al., 305 Conn. 723, 48 A.3d 1 (2012)


In Re. Emoni W. et. al., 305 Conn. 723, 48 A.3d 1(2012), was decided by the Supreme Court of Connecticut on July 19, 2012. The court granted certiorari for the father, an out-of-state, non-custodial parent of two minor children, to appeal on the issues of:

1. whether the appellate court properly dismissed the appeals as moot, and

2. if not, whether section 17a-175, the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, (ICPC) applied to out-of-state, non-custodial parents.

The ICPC is an agreement between states to regulate the placement of children by the sending state into the receiving state. The compact applies to placements preliminary to adoption, placements into foster care, placement with parents or relatives, and placements of adjudicated delinquents.

The court decided that the appeal was moot, but fell within the exception of “capable of repetition, yet evading review,” and that the appellate court improperly dismissed the appeal and improperly determined that the ICPC applied in this case.

The Supreme Court of Connecticut concluded that the language of the ICPC did not encompass placement with a non-custodial parent. The court rejected the state child-protection agency’s arguments that the court’s interpretation of the statute was inconsistent with the statute’s purpose, finding that nothing in the express language of the statute indicated the drafters’ intent to apply the ICPC to either out-of-state parents or to all placements. The court found that their reading of the statute supported the constitutionally-based presumption of the fitness of parents and that because the state child-protection agency had the power to maintain jurisdiction over the child, it were able to ensure compliance with conditions of the placement and may establish the fitness of the parent in question.

The court held that section 17a-175 did not apply to out-of-state parents, sustained the father’s appeal, and remanded the case to trial court with the direction to reverse their judgment on the matter.

Keywords: litigation, children’s rights, Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, ICPC, section 17a-175

Jessalyn Schwartz, Northeastern University School of Law

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