ALBANY, N.Y. — A hearing was held in Albany County Family Court on Wednesday to determine who should gain custody of Kenneth White’s two sisters.
Authorities said Kenneth, 5, was killed in December at the hands of his cousin, 19-year-old Tiffany VanAlstyne, while he and his two sisters lived with their aunt Brenda VanAlstyne.
The girls were placed in foster care following Kenneth’s death.
During Wednesday’s court hearing, the judge denied White’s great aunt Michelle Sweet custody of the two girls. Kenneth’s father Jayson White withdrew his petition for custody on Wednesday as the judge stated concerns of his past child protective issues, including a prior conviction of Endangering the Welfare of a Child. The children’s mother, Christina VanAlstyne White, will not have custody due to health problems.
Brenda VanAlstyne has also been fighting for custody.
“Yes, I am,” she said as she left court. “And that’s all I can say is I’m going to do what I have to do.”
The judge ordered her to prove she has been seeking the appropriate mental health treatment, and she is also not allowed to have supervised visits with the children.
The judge also addressed concerns of allegations of abuse against Brenda and questioned the safety of her home.
“Well, I really can’t comment on what the judge said,” she said.
Outside the courtroom, a group calling itself Kenneth’s Army held signs saying ‘Justice for Kenneth’ and ‘Safety for his sisters.’ Heather Bier is a member of Kenneth’s Army.
“You know, we want to make sure that his is hear and things are done to start preventing some of this from happening,” she said.
The case will continue in family court on March 3.
After an outpouring of support from the community, the Albany County Sheriff’s Office established a memorial fund to create a trust for Kenneth White’s siblings.
Anyone wishing to make a monetary donation can do so directly at any M&T Bank branch by making a deposit to the “County of Albany Kenneth White Memorial Fund” or by dropping it off at any of the sheriff’s stations listed below:
- Headquarters, Albany County Courthouse, 16 Eagle Street – Room 79, Albany NY 12207
- Public Safety Building, 58 Verda Avenue, Clarksville NY 12041
- Airport, Albany County International Airport, 737 Albany Shaker Road Albany NY 12110
All checks should be made payable to the County of Albany Kenneth White Memorial Fund, and the sheriff cautions that other fundraising efforts being circulated on social media are not officially sanctioned or supported by the sheriff’s office.