Hochul Veto Protects Authority of Adoptive Parents

While New Yorker’s Family Research Foundation (NYFRF) frequently disagrees with Gov. Kathy Hochul, the Governor did the right thing by issuing a recent veto of an ill-advised family law bill.

If passed, Bill S.6720-Brisport/A.5394-Joyner would have allowed courts to direct that biological children be made available for continued contact with their birth parents even if their birth parents’ parental rights had been terminated. (The legislation would have made children unavailable for continued contact with birth parents in cases of severe or ongoing abuse by the birth parent and in situations where a child over 14 did not desire continued contact with the birth parent.) According to The Imprint, similar legislation was vetoed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2019 and by Gov. Hochul in 2021.

In her veto message, Gov. Hochul wrote that “‘the decision to terminate parental rights is not undertaken lightly by the family court,’ and in most cases, follows ‘prolonged efforts to reunite the child with the birth parent(s).’ But when those efforts are ultimately unsuccessful, she added, ‘it is imperative that the child integrate into the adoptive home without continued interference by the court. Adoptive parents are in the best position to determine if and to what extent their child should continue to have contact with their birth parents.’”

NYFRF appreciates Gov. Hochul’s veto of this well-meaning but problematic legislation. Laws that weaken the authority of adoptive parents are harmful to their children and make it less likely that married couples will open their homes to adoptees.

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