Davis, Policy Committee examine child custody issues

LANGHORNE, Sept. 17 – State Rep. Tina Davis, D-Bucks, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on child custody issues at the Middletown Township Municipal Building in Langhorne.

Davis was joined by Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, and state legislators from across the commonwealth. Two bills for custody cases involving domestic violence and child abuse allegations were discussed: Davis’ H.B. 956 (updates court procedures) and H.B. 2058 (improves custody and visitation adjudications) that she is co-sponsoring. 

“Today’s hearing was an important discussion about the child custody crisis and what we legislators can do to improve how the courts handle cases of child and domestic abuse,” Davis said. “As a lawmaker, I am deeply concerned by how the courts fail to read the signs of domestic abuse and, as a result, award the custody of a child to their abuser. We must strengthen child custody laws to prevent this from happening again.”

Sturla added: “Our most vulnerable citizens and children need to have strong protection by the courts. I commend Representative Davis for requesting this hearing, so we could explore her important legislation.”

The committee heard testimony from Kathryn Sherlock, mother of Kayden Mancuso; Danielle Zarenkiewicz, mother; Danielle Pollack, ambassador, CHILD USA; Amy Tielemans, president, Pennsylvania Association of Marriage and Family Therapy; Diane Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW, Bucks County Commissioner; Jessica Pritchard, partner, Antheil, Maslow & MacMinn, LLP; Meg Groff, consulting attorney, A Woman’s Place; and Frank Cervone, executive director, Support Center for Child Advocates.

Testimony, photos and video from today’s hearing will be available at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee.

The meeting is one in a series being held across the state on the House Democrats’ Plan4PA, which includes putting people first with good jobs, affordable health care, quality schools and a fair economy. Those interested can visit www.plan4pa.com for additional information about the Plan4PA.