Lawmakers push for legislation to protect children during child custody proceedings
ALBANY, NY (WENY)-- On July 27, 2016 while sleeping in her bed, 2-year-old Kyra Franchetti was shot twice in the back by her father who then set his house on fire and died by suicide.
A few days prior to the unsupervised court-mandated visit with her father, Jacqueline Franchetti, Kyra's mother, said her fiercely independent toddler learned to roll down a hill for the first time.
"She took a couple of tumbles down, she got up and she said 'I did it mama, I did it' and she was so proud of her latest accomplishment," Franchetti said.
Franchetti said she did everything she could to protect Kyra, warning the Long Island court handling her case that her ex-boyfriend was unstable and violent and should not be allowed unsupervised time with their daughter.
But the family court system, she said, failed her.
“Everyday I see the school bus go by my house and I know Kyra’s not on it. And I read the headlines of other children who have been murdered and taken by an abusive parent who could have, who should have been protected. And who weren’t," she said.
This legislative session, lawmakers have re-introduced a bill in memory of Kyra nicknamed, Kyra's Law. The bill requires the court to consider a child's health and safety when making a decision regarding a child custody and visitation. It also requires officials to take part in training to handle cases involving domestic violence and child abuse.
Some lawmakers said the family court system is broken and the bill is necessary to repair it.
“No longer will we allow courts and judges the ability, the option, to make a child’s health and safety paramount. Right now, they could do that," said Sen. James Skoufis (D-42nd Senate District).
In an email to WENY News, the New York State Unified Court System decline to comment on this legislation.