History of the Connecticut Judicial Seal Home Home BannerBanner
Case Look-up Courts Directories Educational Resources E-Services Juror Information Online Media Resource Center Opinions Opportunities Self-Help Frequently Asked Questions Home Attorneys menu


Print this page Print


The Juvenile Court hears cases that involve the care of a minor child or the behavior of a minor child. Court procedures protect the rights of children and families by handling the matters in a protected environment. All records pertaining to a court case are confidential and the public has only a limited right to attend court hearings.

The three principle types of cases handled by the court are child protection, delinquency, and status offenses.

In child protection cases, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) files a petition at the juvenile court containing allegations that a child has been abused, uncared for, or neglected by a parent or caregiver. The court hears the matter and determines what needs to happen in order to protect and safeguard the child from harm. See Child Protection Proceedings for more information.

In a delinquency case, a child is arrested for an alleged violation of a federal or state law, municipal or local ordinance, or order of the Superior Court. From the initial arrest, the juvenile justice system's mandate is to provide children in these cases with individualized supervision, care, accountability and treatment in a manner consistent with public safety. See Delinquency Proceedings for more information.

Status offenses involve a minor who has behavioral problems such as truancy or running away from home. The primary goal in these cases is to resolve the issues by referring the family to community-based programs and services and, in this way, to prevent the child from becoming involved in criminal conduct. These cases are more commonly known in Connecticut as Families with Service Needs (FWSN). See Status Offense Proceedings for more information.

In delinquency and FWSN cases, the juvenile court is assisted by the Court Support Services Division (CSSD) of the Judicial Branch. The juvenile probation officers of CSSD may, in some cases, resolve the case without formal court proceedings.

When a child is involved in a juvenile court case, the court receives information from numerous sources. This information concerns the child’s conduct, health, family situation, education and anything else that will assist in determining the appropriate resolution of the case. Before a case comes before a judge, many entities may have been involved, such as:

Police (arrest)
Schools (truancy)
DCF (investigation of abuse reports)
Juvenile Probation (investigation of criminal conduct and status offenses)
Detention (holding a minor after an arrest)
Various entities on contract with the Judicial Branch to provide services to juveniles and their families

They all generate records concerning the juvenile matter that will be used by the judge and other court personnel in resolving the case.

Access to the information concerning the case is governed by state statute, which says that records of cases of juvenile matters are "confidential and for the use of the court in juvenile matters."1 Disclosure is allowed to those who are involved with the case and to others who may have a legitimate need for the information. Redisclosure is strictly limited.

This section is a brief summary of the provisions of state law that protect information concerning juvenile court proceedings, discussing the following:

What information is protected?
Who can access the information?
Redisclosure of the information


For purposes of establishing confidentiality for court proceedings involving children, the legislature has broadly defined "court records" to include all information generated as a result of the court proceeding, whether it is physically maintained by the court clerk or some other entity. The primary categories of information are:
  1. The file held by the juvenile court clerk, which contains such things as records of what happened at each court date, memorandums of decision issued by the court, reports of examinations and evaluations ordered by the court, treatment plans, and dispositional orders.
  2. Records kept by the Court Support Services Division of the Judicial Branch pertaining to detention, investigations, evaluations, and probation.
  3. All records maintained by organizations and agencies contracted by the Judicial Branch to provide services to children and families pertaining to those services.
  4. Records of law enforcement agencies including fingerprints, photographs and physical descriptions.
  5. Medical, psychological, psychiatric and social welfare studies and reports by juvenile probation officers, public or private institutions, social agencies and clinics.
As this list shows, the protection granted to information pertaining to a juvenile case is extensive, and the statutory language does not limit it to only those items that could fit into one of these five categories, but encompasses anything that pertains to the case regardless of who generated it or has physical possession of it.


In all cases, the parents or guardians of the child who is the subject of the case have access to the information in the court record until the child is 18 or emancipated, after which he or she may access the records.

The attorney representing the child has access to the records "in any proceeding in which the records are relevant." Attorneys may also obtain copies, at his or her own expense, of the entire court record, including transcripts of all proceedings.2

Court records may be disclosed by court order to any person with a legitimate interest in the information. The court order will specify to whom the records may be disclosed and any permissible redisclosure.

Other exceptions apply depending on whether the case is a child protection matter, a delinquency matter, or a FWSN matter. The following summary includes the exceptions for access that are necessary for the resolution of the matter. Other exceptions may apply in certain circumstances.3

Child Protection and FWSN matters
  • Employees of the Division of Criminal Justice, the Judicial Branch, or the Division of Public Defender Services who in the performance of their duties require access to records.
  • Department of Children and Families.
  • Other courts who require the information for the resolution of the same or a related case.
Delinquency cases
  • All Judicial Branch employees who require access to the records in the performance of their duties.
  • Employees and authorized agents of municipal, state or federal agencies who are involved in the proceedings, provision of services, or design or delivery of treatment programs or court diversionary programs.
  • Law enforcement and prosecutorial officials conducting legitimate criminal investigations.
  • Victim of the delinquent act.


Any records of cases of juvenile matters provided to any persons, governmental and private agencies, and institutions may not be disclosed, directly or indirectly, to any third party except, where permitted, as provided by court order.



Attorneys | Case Look-up | Courts | Directories | Educational Resources | E-Services | Español | FAQ's | Juror Information | Media | Opinions | Opportunities | Self-Help | Home

Common Legal Words | Contact Us | Website Policies

Copyright © 2013, State of Connecticut Judicial Branch