Gov. Jerry Brown says no longer considering family members as guardians of children
Andrew Cuomo has said he will no longer consider relatives as guardians, despite an outcry from some parents over a ruling from the state Supreme Court that found family members had the right to decide whether a child was born to a single mother.
The decision from the California Supreme Court last month ruled that the state’s child protection agency can not use parents to decide the status of children born out of wedlock.
Cuomo’s office said Thursday that he is considering a change in how the agency will work.
He said in a statement that he “is committed to upholding the sanctity of human life and upholding California’s constitution and laws.
I am confident that the best interests of our state, its children, and its families will be the primary consideration when making this change.”
Cuomo said in the statement that the Legislature has the authority to pass a law that would clarify how family members would be considered as guardians.
He did not say if he would be considering such a law.
The Associated Press reported Thursday that some people have questioned whether Cuomo would still consider relatives to be guardians of a child born out the union.
A spokesman for the governor did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Families who want to file a court order to get custody of their child would have to pay an annual $2,500 fee.
A child welfare agency has been working with family members who want custody of a children in a long-running custody dispute to help them decide how to handle the situation, according to a court filing.
In the court filing, the agency noted that families can ask the court to remove the guardianship from the child and that it is up to the family to decide how they want to handle it.
The state’s Child Protective Services agency is tasked with providing protection and stability to families and children and is required by law to work closely with the family.
In recent years, the number of children in foster care has declined, with nearly 40 percent of all children in the state now being placed with relatives or family members.
Cuomo has defended his decision to leave family members out of the guardianships system, saying the state has made strides to make sure children born in wedlock have a fair shot at a stable home.
The court decision is a big step forward, he said.
“It’s a big relief for parents who want a child, who want the best for their child, but who also want to get that child out of foster care,” he said in March.
Cuomo said he would make a decision about the issue after considering a range of options, including the possibility of making the change on his own.
“We’re going to have to see what comes out of it,” he told reporters.
The governor said he did not believe it was a mistake to use the family members to determine whether the child was a single mom or single father.
“I’m not going to be in a position to say that’s a bad thing,” he added.