Statement On Governor Cuomo Signing Legislation To Provide Foster Children Right To Visit Their Siblings

Tamara Steckler, Attorney-In-Charge of the Juvenile Rights Practice at The Legal Aid Society, issued the following statement today responding to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signing A.7553/S.4835, legislation that amends the Family Court Act and the Social Services law to allow contact or visitation between siblings, including half siblings, that have been separated by foster care.

“A stay in foster care should never stand in the way of a relationship between a child and their sibling. It’s punitive and cruel to separate siblings without accounting for the emotional and psychological impact it will have on a child in foster care. Staying connected to their siblings is critical and this bill will ensure this contact occurs.

Codifying this access is the compassionate and right thing to do. The Legal Aid Society thanks Governor Cuomo for enacting this legislation, and Senator Tony Avella and Assembly Member David Buchwald for their sponsorship in the Legislature.”