Gov. Hochul signs bill aiming to protect children from abuse parents in custody cases
Gov. Kathy Hochul recently signed a landmark bill protecting kids from abusive parents in custody cases.
The law, signed Dec. 23, requires domestic violence training for forensic mental health evaluators in child custody and visitation cases. It also requires evaluators are licensed and certified.
"The field of forensic child custody evaluators has run rampant for far too long, and this bill takes us a massive leap forward in terms of protecting children from abusive parents in custody cases. This is game changing legislation that not only will protect so many children moving forward, but also pave the way for much more reform," said activist Jacqueline Franchetti.
Franchetti pushed for the law after her toddler, Kyra, was murdered by her father, who then killed himself during a court approved visit.
"The one who did her final evaluation, he heard from eyewitnesses of the abuse, saw documented evidence of the abuse, knew that Kyra's father, her murderer, had purchased not one, but two, guns recently," said Franchetti. "In his report to the court, he recommended joint custody of Kyra with her murderer. He said that a father should always play a role in a child's life."
The training will be conducted by the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence.
Franchetti says she is hopeful this law will pave the way for other bills that seek to reform family court.
She is behind a package of bills pending in Albany, including Kyra's law in her daughter's name.