Two new bills related to child welfare have been proposed in the NY State Senate, sponsored by Senator Velmanette Montgomery (now retired). The passage of these bills would help to reduce some of the harm of the child welfare system in New York.
S5572 — Moving from Anonymous to Confidential Reporting to Deter False and Malicious Reporting
NY State Senate Bill S5572: This bill would require anyone making a report to the state child abuse and neglect “hotline” to provide their contact information. This would replace anonymous reporting with confidential reporting. This could reduce false and malicious reporting — and the use of anonymous CPS reports as a weapon of abuse.
“This bill amends the Social Services Law to replace anonymous reporting to New York’s Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment (SCR) with confidential reporting whereby reporters provide their name and contact information when lodging a report of child abuse or maltreatment. Reporters’ safety would still be assured because child welfare agencies would retain the authority to withhold from the accessed information that identifies a caller. Replacing anonymous reporting with confidential reporting will deter a significant amount of malicious reporting, allow child welfare agencies to conduct more effective investigations and focus resources on the cases that merit them.”
“Right now, false reports are simply tools for perpetrators to continue controlling their victims even when those victims have succeeded in going on with their lives. ACS becomes puppets of our abusers and our children suffer.”— Anonymous parent impacted by child welfare, Silenced: My ex-husband has used CPS to abuse me for more than a decade
More Rise stories and interviews:
S7553A — Informing Parents of Their Rights at the Start of a CPS Investigation
NY State Senate Bill S7553A: This bill has been likened to “Miranda rights” for child welfare — requiring that CPS inform parents of their rights from the beginning of an investigation.
This bill “requires child protective services to orally and in writing disclose certain information to parents and caretakers who are the subject of a child protective services investigation. The purpose of this bill is to provide parents who are the subject of a child protective service investigation with the ability to have their rights communicated to them at the inception of said investigation.”
“Many parents are coming in blindsided with no real guidance and no clear information from the start. Parents have rights and that should be addressed at the beginning of the investigation.”— Nancy Fortunato, Rise, testimony to NY City Council
“Parents aren’t aware that their rights are being violated, which is causing unnecessary removal of children.”— Careena Farmer, Rise contributor, testimony to NY City Council
Contact your senators and ask them to support this legislation!
Learn more: NY Public Defenders Ask Leaders to Protect Parental Rights, Law360
Related: The Harms of Mandated Reporting
“Being scared of the child welfare system has an impact on almost everything I do. Every move I make has to be given careful thought — what doctors I go to and what I tell a doctor or therapist.”— Anonymous parent impacted by child welfare
“As a therapist, one of the greatest traumas I treat is family separation, whether a parent losing their kids or a child losing their parents. We need to stop the harm of unnecessary removals.”— Elizabeth Burrows, Social Worker
“Mandated reporting is an antiquated tool that relies on tearing families apart rather than ensuring they have the resources to support their children. As social workers, if we’re truly dedicated to relationships and the human experience, we must also dedicate ourselves to dismantling this harmful practice.”— Emily Zanoli, Social Worker
“Social workers are ethically bound to confront and dismantle systems that cause harm, like the family regulation system. But what happens when social workers are the ones perpetuating the harm? The foundation, history and current function of social work – especially mandated reporting — proves that much of our professional duty is to maintain the structures of surveillance, separation, punishment and harm we inflict on communities, especially Black and Indigenous communities. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The two bills proposed by Joyce McMillian and PLAN are an important step in lessening the violence of the family regulation system, empowering families and holding social workers accountable. Families deserve dignity and self-determination and these two bills take us a little closer to a community of collective, liberatory care.”— Leah Plasse, Social Worker
Rise stories and interviews:
- New Research: How Fear of CPS Harms Families, Rise interview with Kelley Fong