Provides for the establishment of kinship guardianships for kinship foster parent; establishes the guardianship after a hearing and determination upon a petition filed by the kinship foster parent; provides that establishment of such guardianship does not affect or impair the natural parents visitation rights.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the family court act, in relation to establishing kinship guardianship
PURPOSE: The purpose of this bill is to define and establish provisions within the state family court act bestowing kinship guardianship of a child to an approved kinship foster parent when the natural parent is unable to provide proper and adequate care for such child.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: This bill would amend the state family court act by adding a new Section 1059-A establishing kinship guardianship.
JUSTIFICATION: Situations exist in the lives of parents that sometimes impair their ability to adequately provide a safe and nurturing environment for their child. These children often end up in an already overcrowded foster care system or fall through the cracks of the Child Welfare Administration. At present, nothing in statute allows the family court to grant such alternative placement (kinship guardianship) for these children. This proposal seeks to increase the capacity of the state family court to place children requiring out of home placement by their natural parent with a family relative able to adequately care for such child. Placing a kinship foster child with a kinship guardian would allow families to remain intact while reducing further trauma for children placed in the foster care system.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 01/09/08 REFERRED TO SOCIAL SERVICES, CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on April 1, 2011.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 563 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 5, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. ROBACH -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Children and Families AN ACT to amend the family court act, in relation to establishing kinship guardianship THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The family court act is amended by adding a new section 1059-a to read as follows: S 1059-A. KINSHIP GUARDIANSHIP. 1. DEFINITIONS. WHEN USED IN THIS SECTION: A. "KINSHIP FOSTER CHILD" SHALL MEAN A CHILD PLACED WITH A SOCIAL SERVICES OFFICIAL PURSUANT TO SECTION ONE THOUSAND FIFTY-FIVE OF THIS ARTICLE WHO IS PLACED EITHER (I) AS A KINSHIP FOSTER CHILD PURSUANT TO REGULATIONS OF THE OFFICE OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES OR (II) AS A FOSTER CHILD AND WHO HAS BEEN PLACED BY THE SOCIAL SERVICES OFFICIAL OR OTHER AUTHORIZED AGENCY IN THE HOME OF A RELATIVE WITHIN THE THIRD DEGREE; B. "KINSHIP FOSTER PARENT" SHALL MEAN A FOSTER PARENT WHO IS APPROVED OR CERTIFIED PURSUANT TO SECTION THREE HUNDRED SEVENTY-EIGHT OF THE SOCIAL SERVICES LAW AND WHO IS CARING FOR A CHILD WHO IS RELATED WITHIN THE THIRD DEGREE. 2. PETITION. A KINSHIP FOSTER PARENT OR A SOCIAL SERVICES OFFICIAL MAY FILE A PETITION WITH THE FAMILY COURT WHICH PLACED THE CHILD PURSUANT TO SECTION ONE THOUSAND FIFTY-FIVE OF THIS ARTICLE TO HAVE THE KINSHIP FOSTER PARENT APPOINTED AS KINSHIP GUARDIAN FOR THE CHILD. THE PETITION SHALL ALLEGE THAT THE CHILD WAS PLACED, THAT MORE THAN FIFTEEN MONTHS HAVE PASSED SINCE THE DATE OF THE ORDER PLACING THE CHILD, THAT THE PARENTS OF THE CHILD ARE PRESENTLY AND FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE UNABLE TO PROVIDE PROPER AND ADEQUATE CARE FOR THE CHILD, NOTWITHSTANDING THE AUTHORIZED AGENCY'S DILIGENT EFFORTS TO ENCOURAGE AND STRENGTHEN THEEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD01988-01-1 S. 563 2
PARENTAL RELATIONSHIP, THAT THE PROSPECTIVE KINSHIP GUARDIANS CONSENT TO THE APPOINTMENT AND THAT THE CHILD HAS RESIDED WITH THEM FOR MORE THAN EIGHTEEN MONTHS, AND THAT IT WOULD BE IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE CHILD FOR THE PETITION TO BE GRANTED. 3. NOTICE. NOTICE OF THE PETITION AND A COPY OF THE PETITION SHALL BE SERVED UPON THE SOCIAL SERVICES OFFICIAL WITH WHOM THE CHILD IS PLACED, THE PARENTS OF THE CHILD, THE KINSHIP FOSTER PARENTS OF THE CHILD, AND THE LAW GUARDIAN OF THE CHILD, EACH OF WHOM SHALL BE PARTIES TO THE PROCEEDING. 4. HEARING AND DETERMINATION. IF THE COURT FINDS THAT THE ELEMENTS OF THE PETITION HAVE BEEN PROVEN BY A FAIR PREPONDERANCE OF THE EVIDENCE, OR UPON THE CONSENT OF ALL PARTIES, THE COURT SHALL GRANT THE PETITION. 5. ORDERS. AN ORDER APPOINTING A PERSON AS A KINSHIP GUARDIAN SHALL AWARD CUSTODY OF THE CHILD TO THE KINSHIP GUARDIAN. A KINSHIP GUARDIAN SHALL HAVE THE SAME AUTHORITY AS A PARENT TO CONSENT ON BEHALF OF A CHILD, EXCEPT THAT A KINSHIP GUARDIAN SHALL NOT CONSENT TO THE ADOPTION OR SURRENDER OF A CHILD. 6. MAINTENANCE SUBSIDY. THE SOCIAL SERVICES OFFICIAL WITH WHOM THE CHILD WAS PLACED SHALL MAKE MONTHLY PAYMENTS TO THE KINSHIP GUARDIAN AS IF THE CHILD HAD BEEN PLACED UNDER SECTIONS FOUR HUNDRED FIFTY-THREE AND FOUR HUNDRED FIFTY-FOUR OF THE SOCIAL SERVICES LAW, AND SUBJECT TO THE PROCEDURES, LIMITATIONS, AND MINIMUM PAYMENTS OF SUCH SECTIONS. 7. RIGHTS OF THE PARENTS. THE APPOINTMENT OF A KINSHIP GUARDIAN SHALL NOT AFFECT OR IMPAIR THE VISITATION RIGHTS OF A PARENT. 8. VACATING ORDERS. A PARENT MAY APPLY FOR AN ORDER VACATING THE APPOINTMENT OF THE KINSHIP GUARDIAN. THE COURT SHALL VACATE THE APPOINTMENT AND AWARD CUSTODY OF THE CHILD TO THE PARENT UPON A SHOWING THAT THE PARENT IS ABLE TO PROVIDE PROPER AND ADEQUATE CARE FOR THE CHILD AND ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS EXIST: A. THE KINSHIP GUARDIAN IS UNFIT; B. THE KINSHIP GUARDIAN HAS NEGLECTED HIS OR HER DUTIES; C. THE KINSHIP GUARDIAN IS UNWILLING OR UNABLE TO CONTINUE THE APPOINTMENT; OR D. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE KINSHIP GUARDIAN AND THE CHILD IS NO LONGER IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD. S 2. This act shall take effect April 1, 2012.