Professor Cynthia Godsoe recently published an op-ed about family-focused legislation in New York State in the National Law Journal. The article discussed a newly passed amendment to the Family Court Act which would restore the rights of certain parents whose parental rights have been terminated, but who have been deemed “rehabilitated.”
Godsoe argued that, while the bill is a good first step and would place New York among the champions of family-friendly policy, more must be done by states to support struggling families. “Although efforts to reform current policy are admirable, they do not get to the root of the problem. The tragic thing is that in many cases the parents’ rights shouldn’t have to be terminated in the first place,” wrote Godsoe.
More than 8,000 children in New York State were languishing in foster care in 2006 (the most recent year for which the state has data), and New York has the third highest number of children in foster care nationwide. Many of these children come from low-income families, while 85 percent of states cite poverty as one of the top challenges facing families involved with child protective services.
Godsoe argued that these families should receive more supports to avoid involvement with the child welfare system. “The New York State legislature should follow the example of other family-friendly states and pass legislation restoring families,” said Godsoe. “But why not set a better example still, by helping to keep them together in the first place?”
To read the full article, visit The National Law Journal.