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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: February 21, 2019 10:53 AM
From: Representative Tina M. Davis and Rep. Tarah Toohil, Rep. Mark Rozzi, Rep. Perry S. Warren
To: All House members
Subject: Abuse in Child Custody Proceedings (Kayden’s Law)

In child custody proceedings, the court’s first priority must be to protect each party and ensure the safety of the child. Unfortunately, the court system failed to protect seven year-old Kayden Mancuso last year when she was killed at the hands of her father who had been granted custody despite his violent past. It is for this reason that we will be introducing “Kayden’s Law,” legislation that will establish an effective and well-informed procedure for handling custody proceedings that involve allegations of abuse.

Allegations of abuse in child custody proceedings require a thorough evaluation to determine both the validity of the allegations, as well as the risk of future, and more severe, abuse. Unfortunately, many of the approaches commonly used by the courts in these situations have failed to properly shield children, such as Kayden, from harm. In order to guarantee that a child’s best interests are truly represented, it is imperative that the courts rely on the most current scientific research to inform their decisions, and become far more educated on issues of domestic violence and child abuse. By requiring courts to utilize best practices and more informed decision making, tragedy can be averted in these cases of child abuse and domestic violence.

Please join us in supporting this vital legislation that will honor Kayden’s beautiful life and protect countless children and families throughout this Commonwealth from experiencing the same tragedy. Thank you for your consideration.