S-4185

Link to S-4185 on the New York State Government Website

S04185 Summary:

Enacts the New York State Reuniting Families Act.
Sponsor: KEVIN PARKER / Committee: CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

Law Section: Family Court Act / Law: Amd SS1054, 651 & 1016, Fam Ct Act; amd S17, add S383-a, Soc Serv L; add S501-i,

S4185-2013 Actions

Apr 23, 2013: PRINT NUMBER 4185A
Apr 23, 2013: AMEND (T) AND RECOMMIT TO CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
Mar 13, 2013: REFERRED TO CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

S4185-2013 Memo

BILL NUMBER:S4185

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the family court act, the social
services law and the executive law, in relation to enacting the New
York State Reuniting Family 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 PROVISIONS:

Section 1 establishes the title of the legislation as the “New York
State Reuniting Families Act.

Section 2 amends section 1054 of the family court act by adding a new
subdivision (c) that prohibits immigration status of the parent or
responsible caregiver from being a disqualifying factor for custody
purposes.

Section 3 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 4 amends subdivision (i) of the section 17 of the social
services law by requiring employees of child protective services to be
trained on the usage of the U-visa.

Section 5 amends section 1016 of the family court act to require court
appointed attorneys to receive training regarding the U-visa.

Section 6 amends the social services law by creating a new section
383-a that requires the commissioner to create foster youth
identification card.

Section 7 amends the executive law by adding a new section 501-i that
establishes a website to provide information to local governments and
the court system to provide legal, social services, and advocacy
organizations with expertise in working with courts and child
protection agencies.

JUSTIFICATION: 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.

While many detained parents will not have their children entered the
foster care system, there is an increased risk of unnecessary and
expensive foster care involvement due to the lack of attention to this
issue. Child welfare is a costly, public system, with immediate court
and child welfare costs, as well longer-term costs with the increased
likelihood of children in foster care accessing special. education,
juvenile justice, and mental health services. Given New York’s budget
shortfalls, where counties are struggling to preserve core services
like education, fire protection and park services, separating
families, and unnecessarily placing children into a costly public
child welfare system is not a wise way to allocate scarce resources.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: This is a new bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Minimal.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This shall take effect ninety days after becoming
law.

S4185-2013 Text

S T A T E O F N E W Y O R K

4185
2013-2014 Regular Sessions
I N SENATE
March 13, 2013

Introduced by Sen. PARKER — 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, the social services law and the
executive law, in relation to enacting the New York State Reuniting
Family 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 Family Act.”

S 2.

Section 1054 of the family court act is amended by adding a new
subdivision (c) to read as follows:

(C) THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF A PARENT OR OTHER PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR
CARE SHALL NOT DISQUALIFY SUCH PERSON FROM BEING GRANTED CUSTODY UNDER
THIS SECTION.

S 3.

Section 651 of the family court act is amended by adding a new
subdivision (g) to read as follows:

(G) DETAINMENT FOR IMMIGRATION VIOLATIONS; EFFECT ON CHILD CUSTODY
ORDERS. UNLESS WHERE THE CHILD HAS BEEN DETERMINED AN ABANDONED INFANT
OR THE PARENT HAS BEEN CONVICTED OF COMMITTING A VIOLENT FELONY AGAINST
HIS OR HER CHILD, THE FAMILY COURT MAY POSTPONE FOR A MAXIMUM OF TWEN
TY-FOUR MONTHS ITS DETERMINATION OF A PETITION FOR CUSTODY PENDING
CONSIDERATION OF A PARENT’S CIRCUMSTANCES IF A PARENT HAS BEEN ARRESTED
AND ISSUED AN IMMIGRATION HOLD; HAS BEEN DETAINED BY THE UNITED STATES
IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT; OR HAS BEEN DEPORTED TO HIS OR HER
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN.

S 4. Subdivision (i) of section 17 of the social services law, as
relettered by section 1 of part K-3 of chapter 57 of the laws of 2007,
is relettered subdivision (j) and a new subdivision (i) is added to read
as follows:

(I) PROVIDE INFORMATION AND TRAINING TO ALL EMPLOYEES OF A CHILD
PROTECTIVE SERVICE AND ALL OTHER EMPLOYEES ASSIGNED WITH THE DUTY OF
EXPLANATION–Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
[ ] is old law to be omitted.
LBD09379-02-3

S. 4185 2
PLACING CHILDREN IN THE FOSTER CARE SYSTEM, ON U-VISAS AND THE EMPLOY
EE’S ABILITY TO CREATE A U-VISA TO PROVIDE IMMIGRATION RELIEF FOR
CERTAIN UNDOCUMENTED INDIVIDUALS.

S 5.

Section 1016 of the family court act, as amended by chapter 41 of
the laws of 2010, is amended to read as follows:

S 1016. Appointment of attorney for the child. 1. The court shall
appoint an attorney to represent a child who has been allegedly abused
or neglected upon the earliest occurrence of any of the following: (i)
the court receiving notice, pursuant to paragraph (iv) of subdivision
(b) of section one thousand twenty-four of this [act] ARTICLE, of the
emergency removal of the child; (ii) an application for an order for
removal of the child prior to the filing of a petition, pursuant to
section one thousand twenty-two of this [act] ARTICLE; or (iii) the
filing of a petition alleging abuse or neglect pursuant to this article.
THE COURT SHALL REQUIRE THAT APPOINTED ATTORNEYS HAVE RECEIVED INFORMA
TION AND TRAINING ON U-VISAS AND AN ATTORNEY’S ABILITY TO CERTIFY A
U-VISA TO PROVIDE IMMIGRATION RELIEF FOR CERTAIN UNDOCUMENTED INDIVID
UALS.
2. Whenever an attorney has been appointed by the family court pursu
ant to section two hundred forty-nine of this act to represent a child
in a proceeding under this article, such appointment shall continue
without further court order or appointment during (i) an order of dispo
sition issued by the court pursuant to section one thousand fifty-two of
this article directing supervision, protection or suspending judgment,
or any extension thereof; (ii) an adjournment in contemplation of
dismissal as provided for in section one thousand thirty-nine of this
article or any extension thereof; or (iii) the pendency of the foster
care placement ordered pursuant to section one thousand fifty-two of
this article. All notices and reports required by law shall be provided
to such attorney for the child. Such appointment shall terminate upon
the expiration of such order, unless another appointment of an attorney
for the child has been made by the court or unless such attorney makes
application to the court to be relieved of his or her appointment. Upon
approval of such application to be relieved, the court shall immediately
appoint another attorney for the child to whom all notices and reports
required by law shall be provided.
3. The attorney for the child shall be entitled to compensation pursu
ant to applicable provisions of law for services rendered up to and
including disposition of the petition. The attorney for the child shall,
by separate application, be entitled to compensation for services
rendered subsequent to the disposition of the petition.
4. Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the authority
of the court to remove the attorney for the child from his or her
assignment.

S 6. The social services law is amended by adding a new section 383-a
to read as follows:

S 383-A. FOSTER YOUTH IDENTIFICATION. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL PROVIDE A
FOSTER YOUTH IDENTIFICATION CARD TO THE FOSTER PARENT OR FOSTER PARENTS
OF ANY CHILD UPON THE REQUEST OF SUCH PARENT OR PARENTS. SUCH IDENTIFI
CATION CARD SHALL INCLUDE A RECENT PHOTOGRAPH, THE PHONE NUMBER OF THE
LOCAL CITY OR COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES AND THE DOCKET OR
FILE NUMBER OF THE CASE PLACING SUCH CHILD IN FOSTER CARE.

S 7. The executive law is amended by adding a new section 501-i to
read as follows:

S 501-I. VIRTUAL STATEWIDE INFORMATION SYSTEM. THE OFFICE SHALL ESTAB
LISH AND MAINTAIN A WEBSITE TO PROVIDE A VIRTUAL STATEWIDE INFORMATION

S. 4185 3
SYSTEM DESIGNED TO ASSIST THE LOCAL CITY OR COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL
SERVICES AND THE COURT SYSTEM WITH ASSISTANCE ON IMMIGRATION LAW RELATED
ISSUES AFFECTING CHILDREN AND RELATIVES OF CHILDREN IN THE FOSTER CARE
SYSTEM. THE WEBSITE SHALL INCLUDE:

1. EXISTING LINKS TO SOCIAL SERVICES, LEGAL SERVICES AND ADVOCACY
ORGANIZATIONS AND OTHER GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATIONS WITH EXPERTISE IN WORK
ING WITH COURTS OR CHILD PROTECTION AGENCIES; AND
2. LIVE HELP CASE CONSULTATION.

S 8. The department of family assistance is hereby directed to provide
guidance, no later than July 1, 2014, to counties and municipalities in
contacting the home governments of detained parents and assisting with
family reunification.

S 9. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall
have become a law.