HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (WHTM) – The state Senate has passed bipartisan law to protect the children of Pennsylvania. The change is due to a tragedy: A seven-year-old was killed during a custody battle.
Kayden’s Law is a way to keep Kayden Mancuso’s legacy alive and reform Keystone State custody.
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“We are approaching the anniversary … August,” said Tom Giglio, Kayden’s maternal grandfather. “That’s where we found Kayden.”
Almost three years ago, Kayden was killed by her birth father during an unsupervised weekend visit ordered by the court.
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It came after Hayden’s mother brought evidence of abusive and violent behavior by Kayden’s father.
“You cannot overcome the pain,” said Giglio. “You can’t get over the loss, but maybe we can do something good.”
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That’s exactly what Kayden’s family does.
Her mother, Kathy Sherlock, has worked tirelessly for laws that protect other children from a similar fate.
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“The Hayden tragedy is so appalling, but it happens to other children too, and we hope to break that cycle,” said Senator Lisa Baker, a co-sponsor of the bill.
Kayden’s law would do this by adding visiting restrictions if there was a known risk or history of abuse.
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This includes making sure that a child is not left alone with an abuser.
It would also update the factors a judge must consider when deciding on short or long term care to focus on child health and safety.
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The bill recommends that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court provide better training for judges and court staff involved in custody cases.
“The best we can do is ask them to provide annual training on these issues of domestic violence and abuse,” said Senator Steve Santarsiero, who supported the law.
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“Kayden’s law could have saved my daughter if it had been in place in 2018,” Sherlock said in a statement. “Let’s hope it will help other children who are currently suffering and at risk.”
“Help other children, other families in these situations, to be able to navigate the system, protect their children, and keep their children safe and alive,” said Giglio.
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Kayden’s law is now under scrutiny by the House Judiciary Committee.
A Facebook group called Kaydens Korner obeys the law and keeps their memory alive.