A coalition of NYC lawyers and advocates has proposed a new bill, Preserving Family Bonds, which would give New York City family court judges the power to order contact between adopted children and their biological families after the termination of parental rights (TPR). Right now, biological parents and children have no legal rights to see each other after a TPR if the adoptive parent doesn’t want it, even if a judge believes it’s in the best interest of the child.
Stevie Glaberson, an attorney with Brooklyn Defender Services Family Defense Practice, explains: “A termination of rights doesn’t mean there isn’t a meaningful connection between a parent and their children. Research also suggests that the adoption itself can be strengthened by ongoing contact between the child and birth family.”
If the bill becomes law, a judge would have the power to order visits, explains Glaberson, “anything from in-person unsupervised visits to letters and emails and periodic updates, and anything in between.”
The bill is still in its early stages, but advocates are hopeful they can pass it. It is sponsored by Assembly Member Latoya Joyner and State Senator Diane Savino.
Learn more about parents’ experiences with termination of parental rights and when their children are adopted from foster care: