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Expansion and Changes To Regional Children’s Probate Courts

Probate Court Administrator Beverly K. Streit-Kefalas announced a series of changes to the state’s Regional Children’s Probate Courts. Probate Courts assist annually in thousands of children’s matters which include temporary custody and guardianship, termination of parental rights, visitation, adoption, emancipation and paternity.

The state’s six Regional Children’s Probate Courts employ a collaborative model that emphasizes family engagement, ongoing support from highly experienced social workers and cooperative planning that involves all parties. They work closely with the Department of Children and Families to provide coordinated services.

Effective July 1, 2021:

  • The Waterbury Regional Children’s Probate Court expanded to serve the children and families of Shelton.
  • Judge Fred J. Anthony of the Shelton Probate Court was appointed to serve as the administrative judge of  ​the Waterbury Regional Children’s Probate Court.
  • The Central Connecticut Regional Children’s Probate Court, based in Meriden, expanded to serve the ​children and families of the Berlin Probate Court, which covers the communities of Berlin and New Britain.

“The children and families of Shelton, Berlin and New Britain now have access to a Probate Court dedicated to children’s matters,” said Judge Streit-Kefalas. “We continue to expand this model statewide as the children’s courts are so effective in helping families arrange the best care plans for children and receive ongoing support. By placing children with family members whenever possible, the Probate Court model better serves children and saves the state money by avoiding costly foster care.”

“I am honored to undertake new responsibilities as administrative judge and to ensure that Shelton’s children and families receive supportive services from staff with expertise in child development and family dynamics,” said Judge Anthony. “Most people aren’t aware of the tremendous burdens facing so many of our children and families who appear at our Probate Courts every day. I am hopeful that I and the other judges can continue to offer that help, with the assistance of clerks, family specialists and knowledgeable staff who work in the Waterbury Regional Children’s Probate Court.”

Judge Philip A. Wright Jr., the administrative judge for the Central Connecticut Regional Children’s Court, said the children’s courts are more than a legal forum. “When guardians and family members who are seeking to provide a stable, safe home for a child learn that a support network exists, their relief is palpable,” he said. “We are here to make it easier for the grandparents, relatives and neighbors who care for these children to succeed.”

“Far too many children who appear daily in our Probate Courts face tremendous burdens including extreme poverty, family drug use, parent incarcerations and significant mental health needs,” said Judge Walter A. Clebowicz of the Berlin Probate Court. “I am pleased that the children and families of Berlin and New Britain will receive these supportive services when they are most in need.”

The Probate Courts participating in the Central Connecticut Regional Children’s Probate Court are Berlin, Cheshire-Southington, Meriden, Middletown, Region #14, Saybrook and Wallingford. They serve the communities of Berlin, Cheshire, Chester, Clinton, Cromwell, Deep River, Durham, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Lyme, Marlborough, Meriden, Middlefield, Middletown, New Britain Old Saybrook, Portland, Southington, Wallingford and Westbrook.

The Probate Courts now participating in the Waterbury Regional Children’s Probate Court are Derby, Naugatuck, Region #22, Shelton and Waterbury. They serve 18 communities: Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethlehem, Derby, Middlebury, Naugatuck, Oxford, Prospect, Roxbury, Seymour, Shelton, Southbury, Waterbury, Watertown, Washington, Wolcott, Woodbridge and Woodbury.​