A02375 Summary:

BILL NOA02375B
 
SAME ASSAME AS S06385-A
 
SPONSORDinowitz
 
COSPNSRCook, Gunther, Sillitti, Galef, Montesano, McDonough, Jean-Pierre, Brown, Pheffer Amato, Rosenthal L, Griffin, Fernandez, Smith
 
MLTSPNSR
 
Amd §240, Dom Rel L; amd §575, Exec L
 
Requires that court ordered forensic evaluations involving child custody and visitation be a licensed psychologist, social worker or psychiatrist who has completed a training program developed by the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
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A02375 Actions:

BILL NOA02375B
 
01/19/2021referred to judiciary
04/15/2021amend (t) and recommit to judiciary
04/15/2021print number 2375a
05/20/2021amend and recommit to judiciary
05/20/2021print number 2375b
05/26/2021reported referred to codes
06/02/2021reported referred to ways and means
06/10/2021reported referred to rules
06/10/2021reported
06/10/2021rules report cal.752
06/10/2021ordered to third reading rules cal.752
06/10/2021passed assembly
06/10/2021delivered to senate
06/10/2021REFERRED TO RULES
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A02375 Floor Votes:

DATE:06/11/2021Assembly Vote  YEA/NAY: 149/0
AbbateYClarkYFrontusYLalorYPaulinYSillittiY
AbinantiYColtonYGalefYLavineYPeoples-StokesYSimonY
AndersonYConradYGallagherYLawlerYPerryYSimpsonY
AngelinoYCookYGallahanYLemondesYPheffer AmatoYSmithY
AshbyYCruzYGandolfoYLunsfordYPichardoYSmullenY
AubryYCusickYGiglio JAYLupardoYPretlowYSolagesY
BarclayYCymbrowitzYGiglio JMYMagnarelliYQuartYSteckY
BarnwellYDarlingYGlickYMamdaniYRaYSternY
BarrettYDavilaYGonzalez-RojasYManktelowYRajkumarYStirpeY
BarronYDe La RosaYGoodellYMcDonaldYRamosYTagueY
BenedettoYDeStefanoYGottfriedYMcDonoughYReillyYTannousisY
BichotteYDickensYGriffinYMcMahonYReyesYTaylorY
BlankenbushYDilanYGuntherYMeeksYRichardsonYThieleY
BrabenecYDinowitzYHawleyYMikulinYRivera J YVanelY
BraunsteinYDiPietroYHevesiYMiller B YRivera JDYWalczykY
BronsonYDursoYHunterYMiller MLYRodriguezYWalkerY
BrownYEichensteinYHyndmanYMitaynesYRosenthal D YWallaceY
BurdickYEnglebrightYJacksonYMontesanoYRosenthal L YWalshY
BurgosYEpsteinYJacobsonYMorinelloYRozicYWeinsteinY
BurkeYFahyYJean-PierreYNiouYSalkaYWeprinY
ButtenschonYFallYJensenYNolanERSantabarbaraYWilliamsY
ByrneYFernandezYJonesYNorrisYSayeghYWoernerY
ByrnesYFitzpatrickYJoynerYO'DonnellYSchmittYZebrowskiY
CahillYForrestYKellesYOtisYSeawrightYZinermanY
CarrollYFriendYKimYPalmesanoYSeptimoYMr. SpeakerY

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A02375 Memo:

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
 
BILL NUMBER: A2375B
 
SPONSOR: Dinowitz
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the domestic relations law and the executive law, in relation to court ordered forensic evaluations involving child custody and visitation   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: The purpose of this bill is to require child custody forensic evaluators that are appointed by the court to evaluate and investigate parties in a proceeding involving child custody and visitation to: (1) be a psychol- ogist, social worker or psychiatrist, and (2) undergo biennial domestic violence-related training, also established by this bill, in order qual- ify for such appointment.   SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1 amends subdivision 1 of section 240 of the domestic relations law to add a new paragraph (a-4) which states that a court may appoint a child custody forensic evaluator to evaluate and investigate the parties and a child or children in a proceeding, provided such individual is a psychologist, social worker or psychiatrist who is licensed in the state of New York and has undergone the required biennial domestic violence- related training. The new paragraph requires a child custody forensic evaluator to-notify the court in which such individual requests to be considered for such court ordered evaluations; requires such individuals to notify the court should they fall out of compliance(regarding the biennial training requirement); and includes training documentation requirements. Section 2 amends subdivision three of section five hundred seventy-five of the executive law to add a new paragraph (n) to require the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) to contract with the not-for-profit entity, the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NYSCADV) to develop a training program for psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers, so that such individuals may conduct court ordered forensic evaluations involving child custody and visita- tion pursuant to the above section. The new paragraph lists the topics that shall be comprise such training, including but not limited to: relevant statutes, case law and psychological definitions of domestic violence, coercive control and child abuse; the dynamics and effects-of domestic violence and child abuse; trauma, particularly as it relates to sexual abuse and the risks posed to children and the long-term dangers and impacts imposed by the presence of adverse childhood experiences; and the danger of basing child custody decisions on claims that a child's deficient or negative relationship with a parent is caused by the other parent. The new paragraph requires the issuance of a certif- ication of completion for such course and requires OPDV to consult with NYSCADV to determine a reasonable number of training-hours that shall be required for the first instance such training is provided, and a reason- able number of training hours that shall be required for subsequent refresher courses that are provided to individuals taking them on a biennial basis.   JUSTIFICATION: According to the Center for Judicial Excellence (CJE), a child advocacy not-for-profit organization that promotes judicial accountability and child safety, more than 700 children across the nation have been killed by a parent or parental-figure during circumstances involving divorce, separation, custody, visitation or child support since 2008. Addi- tionally, CJE has found that at least ninety-eight children in forty states have been killed by a parent or parental-figure after a family court allowed unsupervised contact with the child - after the court was informed beforehand about the parent's or parental-figure's violent history, mental illness, or risk of harming a child. In New York Family Court, custody of a child can be heavily influenced by court appointed Forensic Evaluators, though their training or educa- tional and professional experiences vary greatly across the state. Even though these court appointed evaluators typically conduct mental health evaluations, they are currently not required to be licensed mental health professionals. They produce forensic reports that are often foun- dational in informing the court's decision of a custody or visitation dispute. Currently no mandatory standards or trainings exist for court appointed evaluators, nor are they established for competence in the nuances of domestic violence involved child custody cases. Tragically, and despite the existence of an evaluative process, there have been many instances in New York where children have been killed after,the court granted unsupervised visitation to their murderer. In an effort to address this deficiency in the court system, this bill would require evaluators appointed on behalf of the court to be a psychologist, social worker or psychiatrist who has undergone the required biennial domestic violence-related training. The bill requires the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) to contract with the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NYSCADV) to develop a training program for such individuals that covers various aspects related to domestic violence. As an organization that is desig- nated by the federal Department of Health and Human Services to coordi- nate statewide improvements within local communities, social service systems, and programming regarding the prevention and intervention of domestic violence, NYSCADV has experience in providing domestic violence related training and has been included in recent chapters requiring such training in other sectors (see chapter 715 of 2019 and chapter 391 of 2019). With training and an awareness of the impact domestic violence has on victims (among other specific topics), custody evaluators will be better prepared to provide evaluations that are in the best interest of the child. Finally, this bill's requirements are an acknowledgement of a 2018 congressional resolution (H.Con.Res.72), which urged state courts to make child safety the first priority of court decisions involving custody and parenting.   LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2019-20 - A.9888 - referred to judiciary   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Undetermined.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect 180 days after it shall become law; provided, however, that effective immediately: the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implementation of this act by the chief administrator of the courts, with the approval of the administrative board of the courts, on its effective date are authorized to be made and completed on or before such effective date.
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A02375 Text:



 
                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
 
                                         2375--B
 
                               2021-2022 Regular Sessions
 
                   IN ASSEMBLY
 
                                    January 19, 2021
                                       ___________
 
        Introduced by M. of A. DINOWITZ, COOK, GUNTHER, SILLITTI, GALEF, MONTES-
          ANO,  McDONOUGH,  JEAN-PIERRE,  BROWN,  PHEFFER AMATO -- read once and
          referred to the Committee on Judiciary -- committee  discharged,  bill
          amended,  ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said commit-
          tee -- again reported from said  committee  with  amendments,  ordered
          reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee
 
        AN  ACT  to  amend  the domestic relations law and the executive law, in
          relation to court ordered forensic evaluations involving child custody
          and visitation
 
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
 
     1    Section  1. Subdivision 1 of section 240 of the domestic relations law
     2  is amended by adding a new paragraph (a-3) to read as follows:
     3    (a-3) Court ordered forensic evaluations involving child  custody  and
     4  visitation.  (1) The court may appoint a forensic evaluator on behalf of
     5  the court to evaluate and investigate the parties and a child  or  chil-
     6  dren  in  a  proceeding  involving child custody and visitation provided
     7  that the child custody forensic  evaluator  is  a  psychologist,  social
     8  worker  or psychiatrist who is licensed in the state of New York and has
     9  received within the last two years, a certification  of  completion  for
    10  completing the training program pursuant to paragraph (o) of subdivision
    11  three of section five hundred seventy-five of the executive law.
    12    (2)  Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, no individ-
    13  ual shall be appointed by a court to conduct a forensic evaluation in  a
    14  proceeding involving child custody and visitation pursuant to this para-
    15  graph  unless  such individual has received within the last two years, a
    16  certification of completion for completing the training program pursuant
    17  to paragraph (o) of subdivision three of section five  hundred  seventy-
    18  five of the executive law.
    19    (3)    A  psychologist,  social  worker  or psychiatrist authorized to
    20  conduct court ordered child custody  forensic  evaluations  pursuant  to
 
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD05749-04-1

        A. 2375--B                          2
 
     1  this section shall notify the court in which such individual requests to
     2  be  considered  for  such court ordered evaluations.   Any psychologist,
     3  social worker or psychiatrist who no longer meets  the  requirements  of
     4  this  section  in  regards  to  completing within the last two years the
     5  training program pursuant to  paragraph  (o)  of  subdivision  three  of
     6  section  five  hundred  seventy-five of the executive law shall be obli-
     7  gated to inform such courts within seventy-two hours of noncompliance so
     8  as to be removed from consideration for court ordered evaluations.
     9    (4) Upon appointment, the  court  shall  require  such  child  custody
    10  forensic  evaluator to show proof of certification for completing within
    11  the last two years the training program pursuant  to  paragraph  (o)  of
    12  subdivision  three of section five hundred seventy-five of the executive
    13  law.
    14    § 2. Paragraph (o) of subdivision 3 of section 575  of  the  executive
    15  law is relettered paragraph (p) and a new paragraph (o) is added to read
    16  as follows:
    17    (o)  (i)  Contracting,  within  amounts appropriated for such purpose,
    18  with the not-for-profit entity the  New  York  State  Coalition  Against
    19  Domestic  Violence,  to  develop a training program as described in this
    20  paragraph.  Such entity shall be responsible for providing such training
    21  to psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers who are  licensed  in
    22  the  state  of  New  York,  so  that  such individuals may conduct court
    23  ordered forensic evaluations  involving  child  custody  and  visitation
    24  pursuant  to  paragraph  (a-3) of subdivision one of section two hundred
    25  forty of the domestic relations law;  and  for  reviewing  and  updating
    26  training  topics  at  least  once  every  two years. Such training shall
    27  include, but not be limited to, a review of: relevant statutes; case law
    28  and psychological definitions of domestic violence; coercive control and
    29  child abuse; the dynamics and effects of  domestic  violence  and  child
    30  abuse,  including  but  not  limited to, emotional, financial, physical,
    31  technological and sexual abuse; the barriers and fears  associated  with
    32  reporting domestic violence and child abuse and why victims may not have
    33  documented  evidence  of  abuse;  tactics  commonly used by one party to
    34  induce fear in another party  or  child,  including  verbal,  emotional,
    35  psychological,  and/or  economic  abuse,  isolating techniques, coercive
    36  control, and monitoring of a partner's location  and  activities;  liti-
    37  gation  abuse and demands for custody or joint custody in order to pres-
    38  sure the partner to return or punish the partner  for  leaving;  trauma,
    39  particularly  as it relates to sexual abuse and the risks posed to chil-
    40  dren and the long-term dangers and impacts imposed by  the  presence  of
    41  adverse childhood experiences; the increased risk of escalating violence
    42  that  occurs  during child custody proceedings; and the danger of basing
    43  child custody decisions on claims that a child's deficient  or  negative
    44  relationship with a parent is caused by the other parent.
    45    (ii)  The  office,  in  consultation with the New York State Coalition
    46  Against Domestic Violence, shall determine a reasonable number of train-
    47  ing-hours that shall be required for the first instance such program  is
    48  provided  to  psychiatrists,  psychologists  and  social  workers  and a
    49  reasonable number of training-hours that shall be  required  for  subse-
    50  quent refresher courses provided to such individuals.
    51    (iii)  The New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence shall be
    52  responsible for providing a certification of completion to each psychia-
    53  trist, psychologist or social worker who satisfies the  requirements  of
    54  such  training  program,  so  that  such  individuals  may conduct court
    55  ordered forensic evaluations  involving  child  custody  and  visitation

        A. 2375--B                          3
 
     1  pursuant  to  paragraph  (a-3) of subdivision one of section two hundred
     2  forty of the domestic relations law.
     3    §  3.  Severability.  If any clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision,
     4  section or part of this title shall be adjudged by any court  of  compe-
     5  tent  jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair
     6  or invalidate the remainder thereof, but shall be confined in its opera-
     7  tion to the clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision,  section  or  part
     8  thereof  directly  involved  in  the  controversy in which such judgment
     9  shall have been rendered. It is hereby declared the intent of the legis-
    10  lature that this act would  have  been  enacted  even  if  such  invalid
    11  provisions had not been included herein.
    12    § 4. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after
    13  it  shall have become a law. Effective immediately, the addition, amend-
    14  ment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implemen-
    15  tation of this act by the chief administrator of the  courts,  with  the
    16  approval  of  the  administrative  board of the courts, on its effective
    17  date are authorized to be made and completed on or before such effective
    18  date.
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