NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A3496
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the social services law, in relation to defining a
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
To provide a statutory definition of the term "kinship caregiver."
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1 amends section 371 of the social services law adding a new
subdivision 22 to provide a definition of the term "kinship caregiver."
Section 2 is the effective date.
Since the early 2000's, New York has provided funding for kinship
programs and enacted numerous laws supportive of kinship families. The
annual budget funds a Kinship Navigator tasked with operating an infor-
mation, referral, and education program for "kinship caregivers" and
also funds local kinship services, as well as "Kinship Guardianship
Assistance Program," in Social Services Law Title 10, social services
law section 458-a ff.
Similar kinship navigator programs, kinship guardianship subsidies, and
local kinship services programs are available in every state. Kinship
care is a critical part of the federal child welfare response. The term
is used in federal legislation, including the Fostering Connections to
Success and Increasing Adoption Act of 2008 and the Families First
Prevention Services Act of 2018.
Unlike many other states, New York has yet to define the term "kinship
caregiver." New York's abundant use of kinship care and its provision of
service for kinship care families warrants defining the term in order to
avoid confusion and facilitate common usage of the term in determining
eligibility for supports across many systems. New York should codify the
term and define who kinship caregivers are by amending Social Services
Law section 371 to include a definition.
The bill's definition of "kinship caregiver" is consistent with the
provisions of section 458-a of the Social Services law, as well as
current practice and interpretation. Adopting this definition provides
statutory clarity, not an expansion of the program.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS:
STATE OF NEW YORK
2021-2022 Regular Sessions
January 27, 2021
Introduced by M. of A. HEVESI, LUPARDO -- read once and referred to the
Committee on Children and Families
AN ACT to amend the social services law, in relation to defining a
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. Section 371 of the social services law is amended by adding
2 a new subdivision 22 to read as follows:
3 22. "Kinship caregiver" means a relative or non-relative who is acting
4 as a parent and who:
5 (a) is related to the child through blood, marriage or adoption;
6 (b) is related to a half-sibling of the child through blood, marriage
7 or adoption; or
8 (c) is an adult with a positive prior relationship with the child, a
9 half-sibling of the child or the child's parent, including, but not
10 limited to, a step-parent, godparent, neighbor or family friend.
11 § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.