A bill named after a young Lower Makefield girl killed by her biological father is, again, one step closer to becoming law.
It’s Kayden’s Law. State Senator Steve Santarsiero says it aims to create legal protections for children in family court and thoroughly vet allegations of abuse.
This is the bill’s second time making it out of the Judiciary Committee. Santarsiero and co-sponsoring State Senator Lisa Baker had to re-introduce the bill with the new legislative session.
Kayden Mancuso, 7, was murdered in August 2018 during a court ordered visit after a tough custody battle.
Her mother, Kathryn Sherlock, testified to lawmakers in October 2019 that she went to family court nine times. She explained to judges, time after time, that her ex-husband had convictions for violent crimes and suicidal tendencies.
But they didn’t listen.
Sherlock explained that in the time since Kayden’s death, she had heard from other parents going through similar situations.
“They don’t want their kid to be the next Kayden,” said Sherlock. “Tough words to hear.”
It helped her to understand the issues she faced in family court were systemic.
Nearly a year later, Kayden’s Law moved out of the Judiciary Committee for the first time. It received unanimous support then as well.
“Kayden’s death was a senseless and avoidable tragedy that shook our community, and together, the legislature can prevent others from experiencing this type of grief and loss,” said Santarsiero. “We must ensure the safety of our children is the most important concern in contentious custody battles.”