• Measure To Reunite Children Of Murder Victims With Next Of Kin Passes Judiciary Committee

    Sen. Sampson offers 2024 measure known as “Ebony’s Law” for a constituent whose daughter was killed from intimate partner violence.

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    The Judiciary Committee approved my bill, S.B. 359, aimed at reuniting the children of murder victims from intimate partner violence with their relatives. Introduced this year for a constituent whose daughter, Ebony, was killed by her husband in 2016, the bill seeks to simplify the custody process for families faced with similar, difficult circumstances. It would require the Department of Children and Family Services to proactively seek out suitable relatives as potential alternatives to the perpetrator. Named "Ebony’s Law" in tribute, the bipartisan bill sailed through the Judiciary Committee, securing an overwhelming vote of 31-4. Curiously, four Democratic members opposed it without providing any explanation.

    Thank you to the Judiciary Committee for moving Ebony’s Law forward. Victims of intimate partner violence should not be burdened with fighting for custody of their relatives, hindered by the perpetrator and government bureaucracy. Committing such a crime should result in the automatic loss of custody rights, especially after taking the other parent from their child.

    Specifically, “Ebony’s Law”:

    • Requires DCF to immediately assign an intimate partner violence specialist in the case where intimate partner homicide involves the parents of a child/children.
    • Requires the intimate partner violence specialist to identify all adult grandparents and other adult relatives of the child who would potentially care for the child/children of the deceased parent.
    • Within seven days of being assigned, requires the intimate partner violence specialist to provide a list of all adult relatives who potentially could care for the child/children of the deceased to the DCF Commissioner.
    • Requires the DCF Commissioner to provide written materials to all such adult relatives that:
      • explain the options that any such relative has under federal, state, and local law to participating the care and placement of the child, including instructions on how to file for guardianship/custody in Probate Court;
      • describe the requirements (A) to obtain a foster care license, and (B) for additional services/supports for children placed in such a home; and
      • describe the subsidized guardianship program including (A) eligibility requirements, (B) the process for applying to the program, and (C) financial assistance available under the program.

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