Senator James Skoufis (D-Orange County) gathered in the State Capitol with colleagues and advocates this past Monday to urge passage of Kyra’s Law (S.3170), a bill he sponsors that aims to address systemic weakness in the family court system to prevent children from being abused, or even murdered, at the hands of a parent.
The legislation would mandate domestic and child abuse training for state judges and court officials; require courts to make findings regarding child or domestic abuse before addressing custody and visitation; and make the health and safety of the child the top priority when determining custody in divorces and separations.
“As the Senate sponsor of Kyra's Law, I was honored to join Kyra's mom Jacqueline, my colleagues, and advocates to urge passage of this important legislation,” said Senator Skoufis. “Family court failed Kyra, a two-year-old who was put into harm's way and murdered by her father, all while a child custody case was proceeding and dangerous red flags were repeatedly raised to—and unthinkably ignored by—the court. Kyra's Law will make sure a child's safety is made paramount during a custody case. We must pass the bill this legislative session to save lives.”
“Every day, the school bus drives by my house and Kyra is not on it. Kyra should be in third grade. Instead of packing her lunch and sending her to school, I bring flowers to her grave,” said Jacqueline Franchetti, Kyra’s Mom and Founder of Kyra’s Champions. “It has been six and half years since Kyra was murdered, and our courts are still ordering children into homes where they are beaten, raped, and emotionally destroyed at epidemic rates. The child custody crisis is the epidemic that will outlast the current pandemic until legislative changes, like Kyra’s Law, are enacted.”
Kyra Franchetti was 28 months old when she was shot to death in her sleep by her father during an unsupervised, court-approved visit, despite warnings and eyewitness accounts of his threatening, abusive, and concerning behavior. Kyra is one of 23 children to be murdered by their parent while going through a divorce, separation, or child custody case in New York since 2016.