By Rachel Nielsen, The Chronicle of Social Change, 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 — “an adult with a positive relationship with the child,” such as a step-parent, godparent, neighbor or family friend.