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Monday, May 16, 2022 was a great day for Maryland's children as Governor Hogan signed into law SB17 - Child Custody – Cases Involving Child Abuse or Domestic Violence – Training for Judges, a bill that requires judges and magistrates to have relevant training that will give them the necessary tools to assist them when hearing child custody cases involving allegations of domestic violence or child abuse. Too many children have had their fate in the hands of judges who were not trained to hear cases that contain many complex issues that the courts weren't properly equipped to handle.
Paul Griffin, Legal Director for Child Justice says, “I am proud to have been named by Governor Hogan to the Work Group that made the recommendations that led to this legislation. The Work Group met for over 18 months and heard from numerous subject-matter experts from around the United States. The main takeaway for the Work Group was that judges were poorly trained in this area and I'm so delighted that Maryland is taking the first step to rectify that problem.” For Child Justice, this law honors the lives and memories of Maryland children who died at the hands of abusive parents, including Prince McLeod and Anthony, Austin and Athena Castillo. The next step will be implementing the legislation into actual training that will help prevent tragic outcomes such as these in very difficult custody cases. To read the text of SB17, click here. To learn more about the Custody Work Group, visit their website. We are grateful to the advocates, donors, pro bono partners, protective parents, and legislators who work tirelessly every day to protect our most vulnerable children. You are invited to join us as we work to create a future in which every child's right to safety, dignity and self-hood in a nurturing family is honored and protected. Become a Child Justice supporter by making a donation today by clicking here.