Piqui’s Law by Senator Rubio Passes Key Assembly Committee, Mandates Courts Put Child Safety First in Custody Disputes

June 28, 2022

SACRAMENTO, CA – The State Assembly Judiciary today passed Senate Bill 616, Piqui’s Law, by Senator Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park), which mandates judicial training to ensure a child’s safety in custody proceedings.

SB 616, Piqui’s Law: Keeping Children Safe from Family Violence is named for a 5-year-old murdered by his father. The boy’s mother, Ana Estevez, fought in family court to protect her son against her ex-husband before Piqui’s death. The bill will align with federal provisions within the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in order to receive funding.

“Protecting our children should always be a priority, but the legal system failed Piqui,” said Senator Rubio. “SB 616 will begin a systematic change in family court to prevent another family from suffering such pain. I want to thank the Assembly Judiciary Committee for its unanimous, bipartisan vote. I’m proud to work with Ana and the Center for Judicial Excellence on Piqui’s Law and to prevent one more child from dying."

“With an 11-0 vote in favor of SB 616 - Piqui’s Law, the Assembly Judiciary announced to California that they stand with us and support court reform,” said Ana Estevez. “This small victory is an incredible first step, and we will continue to persevere until all judges are informed and all children are safe.  My deepest thanks to Senators Susan Rubio, Anna Caballero, Dave Min, Lena Gonzalez, and Anthony Portantino as well as Assemblymembers Blanca Rubio, Mike Gibson, Tom Lackey, Tasha Boerner Horvath, Laura Davies, and Matt Haney for being the courageous champions and voice of the 84 innocent children murdered in California.”

“CJE co-led the two-year effort to bring child custody provisions into federal policy for the first time, and we are honored to serve as the sponsor on Senator Rubio's SB 616. Family court judges are on the front lines of our domestic violence and child abuse crisis, where kids are too often murdered, so mandatory training on these issues is vital. And California has needed for years now to ban the court’s use of these dangerous ‘threat therapy’ reunification camps that forcibly remove abused children from their safe parent’s home while attempting to brainwash them into recanting their abuse by a parent they are then forced to live with,” said Kathleen Russell, Executive Director of the Center for Judicial Excellence. “We urge the California Legislature and Governor Newsom to act quickly to enact Piqui’s Law this year. With the codification of SB 616, we will help put a stop to these horrific child homicides during divorce, ban dangerous reunification programs, and lead the nation in better protecting survivors of domestic violence and child abuse, who quite frankly, cannot wait another day for our protection.”

If SB 616 is enacted, otherwise known as “Piqui’s Law,” California will be eligible to receive a minimum of $25 million in federal funding over the next five years to protect victims of child abuse and domestics violence, starting in 2023.

Senator Susan Rubio represents Senate District 22. For more information, visit https://sd22.senate.ca.gov/


Media Contact: Edward Barrera, edward.barrera@sen.ca.gov