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NY Senate Clears Way for Relatives to Get Stronger Rights in Raising Kids

Beth Finkel headshot

Contacts: Erik Kriss,; David Irwin,

Bill Gives Aunts, Uncles, Siblings, Great-Grandparents Better Standing to Make Health, Education Decisions for Over 100,000 Kids

Statement from Beth Finkel, State Director for AARP in New York State, on today’s Senate passage of the “Relative Caregiver Bill” (S2094B):

“This bill would help provide a solid foundation for children who may not have been dealt the best hand. When parents voluntarily relinquish care of their own children, for whatever reason, relatives often step in – aunts, uncles, adult siblings, sometimes great-grandparents. But these relatives typically lack the legal authority to make critical medical, school and other decisions for the kids who live with them.

“This bill would simply provide these loving relatives the same standing grandparents already have to seek custody or guardianship of children who have lived in their home for at least two years straight – and allow them to create more stable homes for the kids they love.

“AARP thanks Senator Golden for once again guiding this common-sense legislation through the Senate. We call upon Speaker Silver and the Assembly to pass this bill and send it to the Governor this year so it can become a reality and help thousands of children.”

(Note: U.S. Census Data indicate about 300,000 New York children are raised by their grandparents, but more than 100,000 are being brought up by other relatives. Organizations representing children, families and the elderly all support the Relative Caregiver Bill. No opposition has been registered to the legislation, which is sponsored in the Assembly (A7189B) by Assemblywoman Nily Rozic).

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