Measure Would Facilitate CPS Record Release to Law Enforcement When Needed

(Albany,  NY) On Monday, the New York State Senate gave final passage to legislation
that would expedite access to critical information in missing child cases.
The bill (S3520A), sponsored by Senator George A. Amedore, Jr. (R-C-I,
Rotterdam), is in response to a recent tragic child abuse case in Albany
County and would help provide child abuse and maltreatment records to law
enforcement agencies when that information is needed to find a missing

In December 2014, five-year-old Kenneth White was reported missing by
his older cousin, who was watching him at the time. She claimed two masked
men entered the house where Kenneth and his two siblings lived with their
custodial aunt and abducted the boy.

When the Albany County Sheriff’s office contacted CPS to request
access to Kenneth’s records, they were denied. Tragically, Kenneth White
was found dead later that night and his cousin, who had originally reported
him missing, has been charged with his murder. A review of the case
determined that the records should have been turned over when requested.

The new legislation would clarify existing law by specifying that CPS
records can be released to expedite an investigation when law enforcement
is investigating a missing child and there is reason to believe that a
parent, guardian, or other person legally responsible for the child is the
subject of a report of child abuse or maltreatment. If CPS denies the
request, law enforcement agencies can request an administrative review by
the state Office of Children and Family Services, which would have the
ability to overturn a decision by the county CPS.

“Unfortunately, this legislation would not have changed the outcome
of this horrible tragedy,” said Senator Amedore. “But it will fix a serious
flaw and ensure that law enforcement officials have access to the
information they need during cases involving missing children when every
second counts.”

The bill has passed the Assembly and will be sent to the Governor for

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