New Abuse Screening Law Scaled Back; Gov Says NY Computers Can’t Cope


Even upon signing a bill requiring courts to review of “orders of protection, warrants of arrest and sex offender registries” before granting child custody and visitation rights, Governor Paterson announced the new law would be scaled back.

According to the New York Law Journal, Paterson said the bill’s sponsors had already agreed to submit an amendment limiting the background screening to warrants issued by Family Courts. The Governor argued that a more inclusive review procedure would be too difficult for the state to handle.

For example, “Chief Administrative Judge Ann Pfau said her office was able to demonstrate to legislators that the warrant information maintained by the Division of Criminal Justice Services is not yet usable by the courts,” says the Journal.

A similar bill had been vetoed by Governor Spitzer last year because the multiple sources it required to be checked — including the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment, and the Sex Offender Registry — would slow custody and visitation approvals considerably because the state’s computer system was inadequate to complete these reviews in a timely manner, if at all.

“Delaying a custody or visitation decision while these records are examined may not be in the best interests of the child,” the Governor said.