Reps. Davis, Warren urge passage of Kayden’s Law

Passage and reauthorization of VAWA would clear $25 million in federal funding

HARRISBURG, March 16 – Continuing their push to modernize training and safety requirements in child custody cases, state Reps. Tina Davis and Perry Warren are calling on the state House to pass Kayden’s Law. The issue takes on added importance following the reauthorization and passage in Congress of the Violence Against Women Act, which would release $25 million in additional federal funds for states that reform child custody laws.

“By its action, the U.S. Congress both recognized the critical need to reform child custody law and provided funding to support reform,” said Warren. “Kayden’s Law would protect children and ensure that the best interest of the child is the top priority in custody proceedings. This funding would help Pennsylvania courts implement Kayden’s Law and protect Pennsylvania children.”

Kayden’s Law is named for Kayden Mancuso, a 7-year-old Bucks County student murdered by her father in 2018 during an unsupervised visit.

“Warning signs existed of an adult’s violent behavior, communication with the courts occurred and a horrendous crime still took place – robbing this world of a beautiful daughter and loving sister,” Davis said. “Although we can never right that wrong, we are advocating for reforms – placing more emphasis on the protection of children in order to save lives.”

If Kayden’s Law is signed into law, it would reform Pennsylvania’s child custody statute, and it would ensure Pennsylvania is eligible for $25 million in federal funding. Senate Bill 78 passed the Senate in June but has yet to come up for a vote in the House Judiciary Committee. Davis and Warren are the sponsors of the House version of Kayden’s Law and have been working with Kayden’s family, the Kayden’s Korner organization, and child advocacy groups since 2018 to reform child custody law in Pennsylvania.

“Kathy Sherlock and her family have been tireless advocates in supporting awareness and legal reform to protect children and save children’s lives,” Warren said. “The federal legislation creates a funding mechanism. Now, the Pennsylvania General Assembly needs to get on board with the Violence Against Women Act and pass Kayden’s Law to become eligible for the funding.”

Davis added: “The passage of the Violence Against Women Act reinforces what lawmakers from Bucks County have been saying for years, Pennsylvania needs to modernize child custody cases. The most important aspect about Kayden’s Law is its ability to protect the lives of children through increased safety protections and enhanced training. The time has come for Pennsylvania to act and pass Kayden’s Law. It’s time to pass legislation that would protect our children and families.”