Krya’s Law, a bill inspired by a tragedy suffered by lifelong Manhasset resident Jacqueline Franchetti, was approved by the state Senate Judiciary Committee last week and will be moved for a vote by the full Senate/
Franchetti has led a fight to reform the New York justice system that let her daughter slip through the cracks.
On July 27, 2016, 2-year-old Kyra’s father shot her twice in the back while she was sleeping at his Fairfax, Va., home on an unsupervised, court-sanctioned visit. He then set the house on fire and shot himself to death.
After Kyra was killed, Franchetti founded Kyra’s Champions and the Kyra Franchetti Foundation, whose mission is to protect children in custody cases from being ordered by a court into the home of an abusive parent.
Franchetti’s advocacy has led to multiple bills including Kyra’s Law, which passed the 12-person committee unanimously, being introduced to the state State Assembly. The bills make child safety the top priority in Family Court, increase judicial training on family violence and eliminate the use of forensic evaluators, among other things.
Franchetti said that the bills have garnered interest and led to over 15,000 emails sent to legislators in support of the five bills.
State Sen. Anna M. Kaplan (D-Great Neck), a sponsor of the bill that aims to require the court to consider a child’s health and safety when making child custody and visitation decisions, said Kyra’s Law will protect children.
“What happened to Kyra Franchetti should have never happened, and it should never happen to any child ever again,” Kaplan said in a statement. “Kyra’s law will ensure that children involved in custody cases are protected, and that their safety is centered and prioritized, and that’s why I’m proud to be its sponsor, and will continue to work diligently towards its successful enactment. I’m so grateful for the relentless activism and advocacy of Jacqueline Franchetti, whose efforts on behalf of child safety are an inspiration to us all, and I’m grateful for the support of my colleagues in the Senate Judiciary today who overwhelmingly supported advancing this critical legislation.”
A more recent part of Franchetti’s initiative is her student advocacy group, which involves North Shore students in the policy-making process and gives them a voice.
In December, Gov. Kathy Hochul released a report from the Blue-Ribbon Commission on Forensic Custody Evaluations, created by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo last year, of which Franchetti was one of 20 members.
The group was aimed at providing recommendations to the governor about updates to the evaluations for New York courts after negative experiences were reported by parents, attorneys and court officials.
Kyra’s eighth birthday would have been April 4, the beginning of National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Throughout the month, Kyra’s Champions is planting 745 pinwheels at Port Washington’s Blumenfeld Park and Mary Jane Davies Green Park in Manhasset, where Kyra loved to play.
The 745 pinwheels represent the 20 children murdered by their parent during a child custody case, divorce or separation in the last five years and the 725 deaths of New York children in the last decade reportedly kept hidden by Child Protective Services, according to the Times Union.
More information about Kyra’s Champions can be found at www.kyraschampions.org.