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Family Law

CHNY is actively lobbying for the following bills related to Family Law in New York State:

Broken Adoptions

A02477 (Hevesi)/S04055 (Persaud)

Relates to the subsidies that may be provided to a parent who adopts a disabled or hard to place child

Parents who adopt children out of the New York State child welfare system are entitled to receive a financial monthly subsidy until the adopted child reaches the age of 21. The amount of the subsidy ranges between $800-$1900 per month, depending on the needs of the child.  In most cases, the subsidy is an essential vehicle to allow loving parents, who could otherwise not afford to adopt, to provide a foster-care child with his or her forever home. However occasionally, the adoption breaks down and the adoptive parent is no longer willing to support the adopted child. At CHNY, we have estimated that between five and 13% of our young people have been kicked out of their adoptive parents’ homes and are no longer being supported by them financially, while their parents continue to receive the subsidy. The only way to currently address the situation is for the young person to sue their adoptive parent for child support, which can be an extremely stressful experience.  Even with a successful child support case, enforcement is frequently difficult.

We believe the law should be amended to allow the adoption subsidy to follow the child when an adoptive parent is no longer using the subsidy to support and care for the adopted child. CHNY has been working collaboratively with Lawyers for Children and the Children’s Law Center to draft legislation to address this issue, and the legislation has now been introduced in both the Assembly and Senate.

Return to Foster Care

A 7681 (Fernandez)/S7179 (Persaud) 

Relates to the reentry of certain foster children after they have left foster care

A significant number of the young people served by CHNY indicate past placement in foster care.  Fortunately, in New York State, young adults are able to remain in foster care through the age of 21. Yet, many youth leave care of their own accord at the age of 18, only to later find that they were not yet ready to live on their own and risk facing homelessness. For these reasons, under current Family Court Act law, youth who left care after they turned 18, who were originally placed in in foster care under Article 10 Abuse and Neglect proceedings, can petition to return to foster care at any time before their 21st birthday.  Due to an unfortunate loophole in the law, youth who were placed in foster care through mechanisms other than Article 10 proceedings do not have the same right to petition to return to care.

Even more shocking is that a return to care is only possible for youth who left care after their 18th birthday.  This means that if a child in care is returned to their parent before the age of 18 and the relationship with the parent breaks down after the age of 18 (or even on the day of the child’s 18th birthday) that child has no right to return to foster care.

For these reasons, CHNY wholeheartedly supports A7681/S7179 which would allow youth who have been in foster care through the age of 16, regardless of why they needed that protection in the first place, to re-enter foster care before their 21st birthday if they are at risk of homelessness. Passing such legislation would save vulnerable young adults across New York State the experience of homelessness. Read our Memorandum of Support – submitted to the NYS Assembly – by clicking here.