Protesters name for youngster custody modifications on Kayden Mancuso’s birthday

Anthony DiMattia

| Bucks County Courier Times

Thursday would have been Kayden Mancuso’s 10th birthday.

Instead of partying, members of her family and friends protested outside the Bucks County Justice Center in Doylestown Borough Thursday in honor of Kayden, who was killed by her father during an overnight court-ordered visit in 2018.

Kayden’s Korner nonprofit advocates stationed outside the courthouse on Kayden’s birthday each year, campaigning to change the laws of the Pennsylvania custody court.

Meanwhile, others gathered at the 2nd Kayden’s Korner Golf Outing in Makefield Highlands to help the foundation as the Lower Makefield and Yardley communities celebrated Kayden’s Day with banners in honor of the Edgewood Elementary student.

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Since her death on August 6, 2018, the group’s change efforts have been led by Kayden’s mother, Kathryn Sherlock. Sherlock and the group requested Judge Jeffrey Trauger’s recall after he transferred custody of Kayden’s father Jeffrey Mancuso.

Prior to the murder-suicide, Mancuso had a documented history of violent and unpredictable behavior, despite no allegations of abuse against Kayden. A psychological examination ordered by the court found him to have major depressive disorder, moderate anxiety, narcissistic and antisocial personality traits.

It recommended that the court make Mancuso “dependent” on his psychiatric treatment for unsupervised visits, but Trauger did not request or maneuver this in his final custody decision, issued three months before Kayden’s murder.

The group’s struggle took a step forward in September when the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed a Senate bill named after Kayden to make it clear to the courts that child health, welfare and safety is a priority when setting custody issues all other considerations.

More: Advocates fight for change on Kayden Mancuso’s birthday

Under Senate Bill 868 or Kayden Act, any custody decision would include safety conditions and restrictions necessary to protect a child if a court found a persistent risk or history of abuse.

Bill sponsor Senator Steve Santarseiro said he has worked with Kayden’s family and is advocating from across the state to “refine” the language of the bill after it was introduced in October 2019.

It will go to the Senate to vote. Although there is no schedule for a vote, Santasiero has started a petition on asking for the bill to be presented to the House.

In the House of Representatives, Tina Davis D-141 from Bristol Township and Perry Warren D-31 from Newtown introduced House Bill 1587.

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