Enacts the New York State Reuniting Families Act.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the social services law, in relation to enacting the New York State Reuniting Families Act
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
This bill seeks to address the problems encountered when federal immigration enforcement intersects with the child welfare system. The New York State Reuniting Families Act prioritizes keeping children with their families and out of the public welfare system whenever possible and ensures that separated families receive appropriate care and due process.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section 1 establishes the title of the legislation as the "New York State Reuniting Families Act".
Section 2 amends section 651 of the family court act by adding a new section (g) which permits the court to postpone for up to twenty four months its determination of a petition for custody except in certain circumstances, where a parent was detained or deported for immigration violations.
Section 3: Sets forward an effective date 90 days after enactment
Enforcement activities conducted by federal agencies too often result in unnecessary harm to children, families, and communities. When a parent has a child in the foster care system either prior to or because of immigration enforcement, it is very difficult for the parent to fulfill their court requirements to reunify with their child or in the alternative for child to be placed with relatives. Upon entering the detention system, parents frequently have tremendous difficulty navigating the system in order to visit their children, participate in family court proceedings, or fulfilling their required court mandated services.
When a child has been in foster care for 15 of the most recent 22 months, the local social services districts is required to file a petition to terminate parental rights unless certain exceptions exist. These exceptions are designed to recognize circumstances preventing a parent from reunification that may be outside his or her control, such as incarceration and participation in a drug rehabilitation program. Likewise, a parent involved in an immigration proceeding may be unable to resume custody despite efforts to do so. Upon conclusion of the proceeding, the parent may be fully able to care for his or her child with it being in the best interest of the child to return home. To terminate parental rights, in the midst of such proceeding, would prematurely and permanently separate the parent and child, resulting in trauma and hard- ship to the family. In such situations, the local social services district should have the flexibility to consider the circumstances and delay the filing of a petition to terminate parental rights.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2013-14: S.4185B/A6377B - Referred to Children and Families
This act shall take 90 days after enactment.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2516 2015-2016 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 26, 2015 ___________Introduced by Sens. PARKER, HASSELL-THOMPSON, MONTGOMERY, PERALTA, PERKINS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Children and Families AN ACT to amend the social services law, in relation to enacting the New York State Reuniting Families Act THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "New York State Reuniting Families Act." S 2. Clause (D) of subparagraph (i) of paragraph (l) of subdivision 3 of section 384-b of the social services law, as amended by chapter 113 of the laws of 2010, is amended to read as follows: (D) the parent or parents are incarcerated, INVOLVED IN IMMIGRATION REMOVAL PROCEEDINGS, INCLUDING DETENTION OR DEPORTATION, or participat- ing in a residential substance abuse treatment program, or the prior incarceration, INVOLVEMENT IN IMMIGRATION REMOVAL PROCEEDINGS, INCLUDING DETENTION OR DEPORTATION, or participation of a parent or parents in a residential substance abuse treatment program is a significant factor in why the child has been in foster care for fifteen of the last twenty-two months, provided that the parent maintains a meaningful role in the child's life based on the criteria set forth in subparagraph (v) of this paragraph and the agency has not documented a reason why it would other- wise be appropriate to file a petition pursuant to this section. S 3. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have become a law.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD00399-02-5