Amend the Family Court Act to Limit the Liability of Parents to Reimburse Social Services Districts for the Cost of Foster Care

Amanda Agallipeau March 22, 2024

Funding for foster care is based on a complicated formula consisting of federal, state, and local dollars. Parents of children in foster care are routinely sued by social services districts in New York’s Family Courts to recover the cost of such care, whether the care be residential or institutional. Dutchess County v. Day, 96 NY 2d 149, 155 (2001). The recovery of foster care costs has also been seen as disruptive to efforts to maintain familial and economic stability, with particularly egregious effects on children of color.

On July 29, 2022, the Administration for Children and Families issued an administrative letter announcing a change in federal policy, encouraging states to limit this practice.

A.4027 (Kim)/S.7054 (Hoylman-Sigal) would amend Family Court Act which would adopt the recommendation in the federal guidance. In particular, the amendment provides that parental liability will not be imposed if it would “adversely affect the health, safety or welfare of the child on whose behalf” the payments are made, adversely affect the length of the child’s placement, or impair the ability of the child to return home.

The Empire Justice Center strongly supports this bill and encourages its passage.


A PDF of the Memo of Support is also available.