New York Expands Eligibility for Kin Who Want to Foster Children

Originally published in the Chronicle of Social Change on November 14, 2019.

When caseworkers remove children from their homes and place them into foster care, it can be jarring and traumatic. A new law in New York aims to ease the transition by enabling a wider circle of family members and even non-relatives to become the kids’ foster parents.

That law, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed in late October, broadens the definition of relatives. Previously, only certain blood relatives of a parent of a child in foster care could petition courts to become the child’s foster parents.

Now, in addition to blood relatives, the courts will consider non-blood relatives, such as people related to the child by marriage or adoption, and even so-called fictive kin 

Senator Montgomery said,

They [foster children] are much more likely to be successful if they have an environment which meets their needs in many different ways, including having a culturally familiar upbringing,” 

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