NYLJ: Custody, Violation Screening To Be Cut Back

By Joel Stashenko (entire article)
October 02, 2008


ALBANY – Even before it is to go into effect, a new requirement that courts perform background checks in the state’s registry of orders of protection and warrants before making child custody and visitation decisions will be scaled back. 

When signing legislation (A11657/S8569) into law establishing new screening requirements, including the mandated checking of people in custody and visitation cases against the state Sex Offender Registry, Governor David A. Paterson indicated that legislative sponsors have agreed to pass an amendment limiting warrant screening to those warrants issued by Family Courts.

The governor said questions have been raised about the feasibility, with current computer systems, of Supreme and Family courts making accurate and timely background checks through the state’s outstanding warrant and orders of protection database maintained by the Division of Criminal Justice Services.

“Such name-based checks will typically uncover multiple records of persons with similar names, none of whom may be the person seeking custody or visitation,” Mr. Paterson wrote in an approval message to the legislation. “Delaying a custody or visitation decision while these records are examined may not be in the best interests of the child.”