(ALBANY, N.Y.) Senator Dale M. Volker (R-C-I, Depew) today announced that the New York State Senate has passed a package of legislation to ensure the welfare and well-being of children by making improvements to child protection services and increasing penalties for crimes committed against children.
"Unfortunately, on a daily basis, violent cases of abuse and neglect against children are happening all too often," said Senator Dale M. Volker. "It goes without saying, that the need to provide life-saving social services to children who are in these destructive environments must be first and foremost. Simultaneously, we must give our prosecutors the legal resources to aggressively pursue justice for our children, who by no fault of their own, must endure the physical and mental scars perpetrated by those in a position of trust."
The Senate today passed legislation (S.5394-A), that would require a national criminal record, child abuse and maltreatment check of all persons with whom children are placed, and non-parents seeking guardianship of, or visitation with, children.
The Senate also passed a bill (S.7888), to ensure that children caught in limbo of foster care are given a permanent home, either by returning them to their families or through adoption or other alternatives, as quickly as possible with the "one judge, one family" concept. The legislation will allow the family court judge who presided over an initial proceeding to retain jurisdiction over any subsequent proceedings.
Additionally, the Senate passed a bill (S.6535), to establish a demonstration project and create two levels of child protection services, one to provide a service-based approach to minor cases and one for full-fledged investigations of abuse and neglect, in order to eliminate adversarial relations between case workers and families. Seven social services districts would be selected to participate in the demonstration project.
The Senate also passed legislation (S.6628), to establish a dual track demonstration project in Westchester County. In addition, the Senate passed legislation (S.6870) to require that whenever a telephone call to the statewide central register is received by the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), and the register finds that the person allegedly responsible for abuse or maltreatment of a child cannot be subject of a report, OCFS shall convey to the caller that they have the opportunity to discuss the reasons for the decision not to register the report with a supervisor .
The Senate also passed several bills pertaining to crimes against children that would:
assure that when an individual is convicted of a crime against a child including abandonment, non-support, endangering the welfare of a child and sexual performance by a child, the office of the District Attorney notifies the local child protective services agency (S.1626-A);
establish the class A-1 felony of aggravated murder of a child and the class B felony of aggravated manslaughter of a child (S.7661);
require level 3 sex offenders to be subject to lifetime probation and to submit to yearly polygraph examinations while on parole or probation (S.6548);
ensure that graphic written text transmitted over the Internet to a minor falls within the scope of the statute relating to indecent material (S.7133-B);
provide more protection to child witnesses (S.7313);
prohibit sex offenders from being licensed as a real estate broker or salesman (S.8037);
enhance penalties for assaulting employees of a local social services district (S.7928).
The bills were sent to the Assembly.