Krajewski kinship care legislation clears House committee

HARRISBURG, June 7 –  Today, the House Children and Youth Committee voted to report to the full House for a vote H.B.1058, introduced by Rep. Rick Krajewski D-Phila., which would make child custody proceedings more inclusive of potential kinship care providers.

Krajewski said that when a child is taken from their home and into the custody of a county youth agency it can be a deeply traumatic experience. Living with kin – such as relatives, grandparents, and close family friends – is better for children, minimizing childhood trauma and increasing well-being. Despite this, only 42% of Pennsylvania’s children receiving care are placed in a kinship home, and potential kin providers can be excluded from consideration because of implicit bias, family poverty and red tape.

This bill would require that in child custody proceedings, courts solicit and consider the opinions of those who engaged with family finding and kinship care programs. This would ensure that courts are fully aware of the strengths and qualifications of potential kinship providers before they place a child in a county youth agency.

“As advocates of Kinship Care for youth in Pennsylvania, we believe this bill would strengthen support systems for young people in the child welfare system,” wrote Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children and Community Legal Services of Philadelphia in a joint letter of support for H.B.1058.

It is vital that the courts make child custody decisions with the best information available to them,” Krajewski said. “By hearing from those who engage with family finding and kinship care, they will gain an important perspective. Seeing this bill pass out of committee is a good step, now I hope my colleagues in the House can help to move it along.”

H.B. 1058 will now head to the House floor for future consideration.­­­