Preserving Family Bonds Act Passes the New York State Legislature

A coalition of families impacted by the foster system and advocates for parents and young people hail the passage of the Preserving Family Bonds Act (A5394 - Joyner / S6720 - Brisport) in the New York State Legislature. The bill passed in the NYS Assembly on June 21st and in the NYS Senate on May 22nd. The Preserving Family Bonds Coalition urges Governor Hochul to immediately sign the act into law.

For children in the foster system, the right to regular visits with their parents can be a vital source of love, stability, and healing. Studies show that children in the system fare much better when they are able to maintain these familial bonds. After a child is in the foster system for 12 months, the system can move to terminate a parent’s rights. The termination of parental rights ends the legal relationship between a parent and child, allowing a child to be adopted without the consent of their parents.

Parents who choose to fight the termination at trial and lose will have their parental rights involuntarily terminated. When rights are terminated, a child may immediately lose their right to contact their parent - and under current law, New York judges are not allowed to order contact between a child and their parent after the termination of parental rights - even if this is in the child's best interests. Despite the life-altering impact of these outcomes, a child has no say in these decisions.

The Preserving Family Bonds Act recognizes the importance of openness in adoption and continuing family ties for children who are adopted from the foster system by allowing a judge to order contact between a child and their parent after the termination of parental rights when this is in the best interests of the child.

Read the full press release here.

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