Children Caught in Custody Battles are one Step Closer to Being Protected From Predators
Change for Justice is working to ensure the health and safety of California’s children through education and legislation. The nonprofit is focusing some of its efforts on requiring that professional visitation monitors have background checks and enhanced in-person training. In order to make the requirements apply to monitors across California, Change for Justice is sponsoring Assembly Bill 1165. The bill is part of author, Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan’s (D-Orinda) focus on making children’s safety a top priority. AB 1165 also has the strong support and leadership from coauthor Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego). The bill received unanimous “Yes” votes in both the California State Senate and the Assembly. The bill is now on Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk. He has until October 13, 2019 to sign the bill into law.
In child custody matters, family courts generally require supervised visitation when there are allegations or a history of domestic violence, child abuse and neglect or substance abuse. Supervised visitation is also generally required when there are parenting concerns such as mental illness or threats of abduction. In the event a mutually agreed upon family member is not an option to provide this supervision, or the judge otherwise deems it necessary, then paid, professional visitation monitors are frequently chosen.
Currently, while statutory training and qualification requirements exist, there is no way for a parent to verify whether the requisite training was actually done and the qualifications have been met. The only verification required is that the monitor must fill out a declaration under penalty of perjury that they have undergone training and, for example, have not been convicted of child molestation, child abuse or other crimes. If AB 1165 becomes law, it would allow parents to know if their professional monitor passed a background check and confirm that the monitor has the required basic training.