Law closes crucial gaps to ensure safety of children in foster care
On Sept. 12 a bill was signed into law that closes crucial gaps in the communication between and among agencies responsible for the safety of children in foster care.
The bill (S4172), sponsored by Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma), requires the notification of agencies placing foster children when there are reports of suspected abuse or maltreatment at homes where children have been placed. Officials say this would prevent the unwitting placement of additional children in situations that risk subjecting them to abuse or maltreatment.
“The state has a responsibility to ensure the safety and welfare of all of New York’s children, especially those in foster care,” Gallivan said. “By sharing critical information about suspected abuse or maltreatment, we can better protect these vulnerable children and avoid putting additional youth at risk.”
The measure requires that suspected abuse or maltreatment reports be provided to the responsible agency or social services entity in cases where children are placed in homes outside the jurisdiction of origin. For example, if a child is the responsibility of authorities in Warsaw, and the child is placed with a foster family in Java, then any suspected abuse or maltreatment reports would need to be filed with the responsible agency in Java, too, and vice versa. The intention is to eliminate bureaucratic loopholes and strengthen oversight.
The State Senate and Assembly passed the legislation earlier this year. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law on Sept. 12.