Careers & Internships

Thank you for your interest in CFR!

Summer 2022 Legal Internship

CFR plans to host law student interns in both our  Manhattan and Queens offices for Summer 2022. Please note that, at this point, we expect that much or all of the internship will take place in person.

About the Internships

Interns will work collaboratively with CFR  attorneys and social work staff in one or more of our practice areas.  Interns will participate in comprehensive training and receive individualized supervision and mentoring.  Interns will get direct, hands-on experience with  advocacy, client counseling, crisis intervention, negotiation and case management.  Interns will pursue  individual research and writing assignments, have the opportunity to work on projects related to the specific practice area to which they are assigned, appear on the record in court pursuant  to student practice orders if appropriate, and more. 

This year CFR is offering internships in several different practice areas.  

Family Defense Through the family defense practice CFR represents parents in abuse and neglect cases in family court, providing our clients with high quality legal defense and meeting objectives such as keeping children out of foster care, shortening lengths of stay for children in foster care, promoting quality visiting arrangements and insuring that families receive services that are well-tailored to expediting safe and lasting reunification.  

Criminal Defense:  About a third of CFR clients face a criminal case based on the same allegation that brought them to family court.  CFR is one of few organizations in New York City with a dedicated practice for people facing a child welfare investigation and a criminal case.  When a client is assigned to CFR in family court and the family defense team is told that the City is prosecuting the client for the same allegation in criminal court, the team makes an immediate referral to CFR’s criminal defense practice. Our criminal defense attorneys understand the impact a criminal case can have on our clients’ family court cases so they work closely with the family defense team to make sure their advocacy in criminal court supports the goals of the advocacy being offered in family court. 

Civil Legal Services: This team represents clients of our family defense practice in housing court and administrative proceedings to avoid eviction, secure repairs of heat, stoves and plumbing and access benefits to obtain stable housing, like ACS vouchers.  In addition the team helps our clients gain or maintain SNAP (food stamps), cash assistance, and Medicaid benefits, accompanying them to eligibility appointments and representing them in administrative proceedings when their benefits are cut off through City error. All these efforts help families maintain stability and the resources they need to keep their children home.

Immigration: A third of the clients CFR represents are immigrants and to defend them and their families, our Immigration team offers them specialized attorney, social work and paralegal assistance. When the City charges non-citizen parents with neglect, whether they are undocumented or have a “green card,” the charge can put their immigration status in jeopardy and can create a risk that they will be detected by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), separated from their children, taken into custody, held in detention, and even deported. That risk is even greater if they also have a criminal case.  The immigration team helps parents apply for legal status, and if they are at risk of deportation, defend them.

Youth Defense: CFR’s Youth Defense practice provides holistic, interdisciplinary defense to youth being prosecuted in family court in Delinquency proceedings and in Adolescent Offender removal cases that originate in Youth Parts in Supreme Court.  When low-income youth are incarcerated even briefly, the consequences can fuel the cycle of poverty and have serious long-term effects. Keeping young people out of the justice system is one of CFR’s priorities. Our interdisciplinary Youth Defense teams advocate for young people who have been arrested, to help keep them out of prison, at home and in school.

Policy: CFR is actively engaged in policy reform and advocacy to bring systemic change to the policies and laws that disproportionately impact families and youth, particularly the laws and policies that create racial harm to the mostly Black and Brown clients we serve.  CFR staff meet with elected officials (City and State), participate in coalitions with other parents, defenders and advocates, draft legislation, write and provide public testimony to City and State bodies, write op-eds and Letters to the Editor, and give Know Your Rights presentations to the community.

Qualifications  

CFR will consider law students with a demonstrated interest in our work.  

Application Instructions:  

To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, writing sample and at least 3 references to  Emily Wall ([email protected]) by February 25, 2022. Kindly put “CFR Summer Internship” in  the subject line and please specify which of the practice areas listed above you are interested in. You may indicate more than one practice area, if applicable.

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Investigator Internship

CFR seeks an undergraduate college student with a commitment to social justice issues for our Investigator Internship.

The Center for Family Representation, Inc., (CFR), is an award-winning, innovative law and policy organization that was founded in 2002 to dramatically change the trajectory of indigent families impacted by child welfare and to reduce the number of children entering foster care. CFR introduced a new model of legal services to parents charged with abuse or neglect: we assign every client an attorney and a social work staff member, and teams are additionally supported by Parent Advocates, who are parents with direct personal experience losing children to foster care and safely reunifying their families. CFR was the first agency in the country to integrate parents with lived experience into legal teams.  CFR has more than 120 staff serving more than 2400 parents annually in Manhattan and Queens. CFR has been the primary, county-wide provider of legal services to indigent parents in Manhattan Family Court since 2007 and in Queens Family Court since 2011.  In 2015, CFR expanded its practice to provide legal and social work services to parents in immigration, civil legal services and criminal matters. And in 2019, we launched two new initiatives: a Youth Defense Practice, to bring our model to youth being prosecuted in Family Court and in the Supreme Court Youth Parts; and a Community Advocacy Project, to represent parents during a child protective investigation (prior to court involvement) and to assist parents in clearing their names from state maltreatment records.

CFR seeks an undergraduate college student with a commitment to social justice issues for our Investigator Internship.  Investigator interns will, by the end of their internship, be exposed to Investigative Training centered on parent and youth representation in Family Court, adolescent offender cases in the Youth Part, and criminal defense cases in Criminal and Supreme Courts.  The internship program is structured around the following pillars: Understanding Elements of Crimes and Offenses; Interview Skills; Writing Investigative Reports; Photographing for Evidence; and Record Keeping.  While some of the intern’s work will take place in the office, much of it will be out in the field—in private homes, local businesses, on the streets and in the greater community. Ideal applicants should be comfortable working all over Manhattan and Queens and should possess characteristics necessary to approach and interact with strangers about sensitive subjects.  Candidates must be able to work in a collaborative setting and be able to produce high-quality written work.

Required qualifications and abilities:

– Excellent interpersonal and communication skills

– Interest in parent representation, youth or criminal defense and the rights of the accused

– Fluency in another language is highly desired, but not required

 

This internship is unpaid. We strongly encourage interns to apply to grants, fellowships or any other funding available through school or third-party organizations. 

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Communications Manager: Advocacy and Policy

The Center for Family Representation (CFR) has an immediate opening for a Communications Manager: Advocacy and Policy.

The Center for Family Representation, Inc., (CFR), is an award-winning, innovative law and policy organization that was founded in 2002 to dramatically change the trajectory of indigent families impacted by child welfare and to reduce the number of children entering foster care. CFR introduced a new model of legal services to parents charged with abuse or neglect: we assign every client an attorney and a social work staff member, and teams are additionally supported by Parent Advocates, who are parents with direct personal experience losing children to foster care and safely reunifying their families. CFR was the first agency in the country to integrate parents with lived experience into legal teams. Beginning with just a handful of staff, CFR now has more than 120 staff serving more than 2400 parents annually in Manhattan and Queens. CFR has been the primary, county-wide provider of legal services to indigent parents in Manhattan Family Court since 2007 and in Queens Family Court since 2011.  In 2015, CFR expanded its practice to provide legal and social work services to parents in immigration, civil legal services and criminal defense matters. In 2019, we launched two new initiatives: a Youth Defense Practice, to bring our model to youth being prosecuted in family court and in the criminal court Youth Parts; and a Community Advocacy Project, to represent parents during a child protective investigation (prior to court involvement) and to assist parents in clearing their names from state maltreatment records. We regularly train over 500 practitioners annually around the country on strategies to promote family preservation and on holistic, interdisciplinary representation and advocate at the city, state and national level for policies that promote parent engagement and justice for families.

Under the supervision and guidance of CFR’s Director of Development and Communications, this Communications Manager:  Advocacy and Policy will work closely with CFR’s Policy and Government Affairs team and will also work closely with CFR’s Executive Director on CFR’s communication strategy with all stakeholders. This person will manage our communications strategy for social media platforms, with the press and with government and private stakeholders in an effort to increase engagement with City and State elected officials through social media posts.  The Communications Manager will also assist in developing position statements, letters to the editor and opinion pieces and will need to be both proactive and reactive to communications needs, while working towards the ultimate goal of raising awareness and heightening the impact of CFR’s programs and initiatives with the broader public. CFR will also look to this person to serve as a Subject Matter Expert on communications-related efforts and staff development.

This position will be based out of our Manhattan Office but will work closely with staff in both offices and each practice area. This person will: manage and execute a comprehensive communications strategy that includes traditional media, digital media, web, and other creative content; oversee and track  content creation and brand development, covering organization-wide content needs (e.g., fact sheets, brochures, client stories for both public and private funders and supporters and elected officials,  data visualizations) as well as campaign- or program-specific content items (e.g., media plans, social media); manage social media platforms and posts (e.g. Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn), engage with online community, and grow overall follower base; monitor daily media and KPIs using technology platforms; modify communications activities, as needed, to optimize for effectiveness; create communication routines to maximize the efficient use of program content that can serve multiple purposes; identify and connect the appropriate CFR team members for any communications, public relations, or press requests; prepare and support CFR Subject Matter Experts for communications-related requests; liaise with communication managers from other public defender organizations to collaborate on  communication strategies; develop and track quantitative and qualitative metrics associated with CFR’s communications efforts; write, or review and edit external-facing printed materials (e.g., press releases, reports); manage the development, distribution, and maintenance of all print and electronic collateral materials including, but not limited to, newsletters, brochures, and CFR’s website and regular communication with elected officials and other CFR supporters; coordinate webpage maintenance–ensure that new and consistent information including article links, stories, and events, is posted regularly; and other communications support as needed.

Candidates for this position should have a minimum of 5 years of work experience in communications, including at least 3 years of advocacy and/or campaign experience.  Candidates should be able to demonstrate excellent writing skills and demonstrated capacity to write clearly, persuasively and concisely for a range of audiences, including those who are unfamiliar with the challenges faced by CFR clients, and in multiple contexts; have experience and commitment to working on racial and social justice issues; have experience working in and with racially, ethnically and socioeconomically marginalized communities; have experience working with policy coalitions and community-based partners; have experience working with State and City elected officials and their staff is highly preferred; have familiarity with the criminal, family, civil, and immigration legal systems; have an ability to effectively and respectfully communicate, collaborate and connect with people with various backgrounds, identities and lived experiences; have strong interpersonal skills and ability to manage relationships with colleagues as well as external partners and stakeholders; have an ability to adapt communication of organization’s vision in response to current events and a changing political climate; have an ability to consider multiple perspectives, think critically, provide an analysis of communication strategies and related risks; have an ability to problem solve and implement solutions to complex communication issues; have a commitment to raising one’s cultural consciousness and challenging oppressive practices on an interpersonal and institutional level; and be an experienced communications professional with expertise and interest in policy and advocacy for CFR’s work as public defenders and advocates for family defense and youth defense in New York City.  CFR strives to create an inclusive and antiracist environment for all of its staff, and candidates from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply; CFR is an EOE.

Candidates should send or e-mail a cover letter and resume (including phone and email contacts) to [email protected].  Please write “Communications Manager:  Advocacy and Policy” in the subject line.  No phone inquiries please.  Please note we are not able to respond directly to each Candidate to acknowledge receipt of materials.

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Family Advocate, Manhattan & Queens Family Defense Practice

CFR has an immediate opening for a Family Advocate in both our Manhattan and Queens offices.

Family Advocates are members of the social work staff.

Responsibilities:

• Working collaboratively with attorneys representing parents in Child Protective (Article 10) and Termination of Parental Rights proceedings in Family Court. Teams are comprised of attorneys, social work staff, paralegals and parent advocates (parents who have successfully reunified with their children). Objectives of the teams include shortening lengths of stay for children in foster care, promoting quality visiting arrangements and ensuring that families receive services that are well-tailored to expediting safe and lasting reunification.
• Providing direct social work support and advocacy to clients
• Conducting intake and client interviews, assess clients’ needs and goals, and ensure clients are engaged in appropriate and meaningful service plans
• Maintaining contact with service providers, and advocating for clients at ACS and foster care agency conferences.
• Advocating for clients at ACS and foster care agency conferences
• Participating in team meetings as well as administrative meetings within CFR

Family Advocates receive supervision from Social Work Supervisors and are expected to keep case data and client legal notes, and files up to date. Family Advocates joining CFR can expect intensive, interdisciplinary training on CFR’s Cornerstone Advocacy model, child welfare, family court, client interviewing and other critical skills. CFR is dedicated to providing ongoing professional development in all these areas in a variety of training forums for all staff.

Qualifications:

• Applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree, preferably with some prior experience with the NYC child welfare, education, housing or public benefits’ systems or other social justice experience.
• Applicants should be able to demonstrate a strong undergraduate academic record, strong interpersonal and communication skills, a commitment to supporting families, and a desire to share in both the exhilaration and challenges of a growing endeavor.
• Fluency in Spanish or other foreign language is highly desirable.

Salary:

Commensurate with experience; excellent benefits package.

How to Apply:

Applicants should send or email a cover letter and resume (including phone and email contacts) to [email protected] with “Family Advocate Applicant” in the subject line. Please indicate your preference for a position in Manhattan or Queens. No phone inquiries please. Please note we are not able to respond directly to each applicant to acknowledge receipt of materials.

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Paralegal Advocate - State Central Register Fair Hearings

CFR has an immediate opening for an Paralegal Advocate – State Central Register Fair Hearings.

The Center for Family Representation, Inc., (CFR), is an award-winning, innovative law and policy organization that was founded in 2002 to dramatically change the trajectory of indigent families impacted by child welfare and to reduce the number of children entering foster care. CFR introduced a new model of legal services to parents charged with abuse or neglect: we assign every client an attorney and a social work staff member, and teams are additionally supported by Parent Advocates, who are parents with direct personal experience losing children to foster care and safely reunifying their families. CFR was the first agency in the country to integrate parents with lived experience into legal teams. Beginning with just a handful of staff, CFR now has more than 120 staff serving more than 2400 parents annually in Manhattan and Queens. CFR has been the primary, county-wide provider of legal services to indigent parents in Manhattan Family Court since 2007 and in Queens Family Court since 2011. In 2015, CFR expanded its practice to provide legal and social work services to parents in immigration, civil legal services and criminal defense matters. In 2019, we launched two new initiatives: a Youth Defense Practice, to bring our model to youth being prosecuted in family court and in the criminal court Youth Parts; and a Community Advocacy Project, to represent parents during a child protective investigation (prior to court involvement) and to assist parents in clearing their names from state maltreatment records. We regularly train over 500 practitioners annually around the country on strategies to promote family preservation and on holistic, interdisciplinary representation and advocate at the city, state and national level for policies that promote parent engagement and justice for families.

The Community Advocacy Project expands representation by CFR in significant ways that will result in more families staying safely together, less unnecessary court involvement, and less economic hardship for child-welfare involved families. In particular, through CAP’s State Central Register advocacy we provide representation to parents to help clear their names off the register and remove barriers to the employment necessary to support their families. New Yorkers are routinely denied employment based on administrative findings of child abuse or neglect that remain accessible to employers and others for years on the state’s Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment (SCR). The majority of “indicated reports” that result in an entry on the SCR have never been reviewed by a judge to determine whether the allegations are supported by evidence, or whether they warrant drastically limiting a person’s employment opportunities. The vast majority of indicated reports bear no relationship to a parent’s ability to safely perform jobs in the fields of health care, education, security, and transportation, yet these are the jobs where employers routinely check the SCR, so parents are most likely precluded from obtaining them.
Under the supervision and guidance of an attorney supervisor and CAP’s social work supervisors, the Paralegal Advocate’s core responsibilities will be to work as part of CFR’s CAP to provide our clients with high quality legal defense during the SCR record challenge process; prepare and conduct legal defense at SCR hearings, which includes communicating with the hearing officer, opposing counsel, clients, and other related parties about appearances, discovery, and settlement; provide SCR-related information and education to clients and staff; assist in efforts to conduct community outreach, presentations, and develop training materials for parents, mandated reporters, external stakeholders/partners and CFR staff; participate in CFR’s policy initiatives; participate in citywide SCR Practice Group and on the community outreach team; work collaboratively with CFR’s Home for Good teams; track and record activities, outcomes and deliverables for the project, and potentially meet with other funders or elected officials who have supported the project; and work on developing new internal procedures at CFR to address the impact of changes in SCR law on our clients.
This position will work with clients in both Manhattan and Queens. This will involve meeting in person with clients, CFR family defense teams and CAP staff in both boroughs, in particular hearings are conducted virtually and in person at the Bureau of Special Hearings on 125th Street in Manhattan.

Candidates for this position should have a bachelor’s degree and at least one (1) year of related experience. Candidates must demonstrate strong interpersonal and communication skills, organizational skills, an ability to work as part of a team and a desire to share in both the exhilaration and challenges of a growing endeavor. Experience representing clients at fair hearings is preferred. Candidates who are bilingual in Spanish or other languages are strongly encouraged to apply. Salary is commensurate with experience; excellent benefits package. CFR strives to create an inclusive and antiracist environment for all of its staff, and candidates from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply; CFR is an EOE.

Candidates should send or e-mail a cover letter and resume (including phone and email contacts) to [email protected] Please write “Paralegal Advocate- State Central Register Fair Hearings” in the subject line. No phone inquiries please. Please note we are not able to respond directly to each Candidate to acknowledge receipt of materials.

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Senior Housing Attorney, Civil Defense Practice

CFR has an immediate opening for a Senior Housing Attorney in its Civil Defense Practice.

Under the supervision and guidance of CFR’s Family and Civil Defense Supervisor, this Senior Housing Attorney’s core responsibilities will be to help us further expand our interdisciplinary work and assist our clients in a wide variety of matters, including preventing eviction, securing repairs and otherwise maintaining safe housing, and obtaining and maintaining public benefits (including SSI and SSD). Senior Staff attorneys may supervise one or two staff attorneys, so prior supervisory experience, even if informal, is preferred. This is a unique opportunity for a competent and creative professional to assist CFR in expanding its civil practice and improving the stability of our clients and families.

This position will have a docket of housing cases in both Manhattan and Queens, including holdovers, nonpayment proceedings, HP actions, NYCHA and other administrative hearings.

Responsibilities:

• Monitor housing and other civil legal developments and create advisories, best practices and other resources for CFR staff;
• Assist clients in completing necessary paperwork and attending appointments if appropriate;
• Assist with supervision of less experienced civil legal services team members as needed; participate in Civil Practice team meetings as well as agency wide meetings;
• Along with a Social Work Supervisor and Litigation Supervisor, identify systemic housing and public benefits issues impacting CFR’s clients and explore advocacy to address those;
• Maintain data on their work and outcomes, including deliverables related to funding for civil legal services work; and assist with external legal education efforts, including the planning and provision of workshops, drafting and development of legal education materials, and outreach to social service and community based organizations

Qualifications:

• Candidates for this position should have a minimum of three (3) years of experience representing indigent clients in housing court and administrative fair hearings related to housing as well as public benefits.
• Experience with social security benefits, including administrative hearings, is a plus.
• Candidates who are bilingual in Spanish are strongly encouraged to apply.
• Candidates should be able to demonstrate strong interpersonal and communication skills, an ability to work as part of a team and a desire to share in both the exhilaration and challenges of a growing endeavor.

Salary:

Commensurate with experience; excellent benefits package.

How to Apply:

Candidates should send or e-mail a cover letter and resume (including phone and email contacts) to [email protected] Please write “Senior Housing Attorney – Civil Defense Practice” in the subject line. No phone inquiries please. Please note we are not able to respond directly to each Candidate to acknowledge receipt of materials.

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Social Worker, Manhattan & Queens Family Defense Practice

CFR has an immediate opening for a Social Worker in our Manhattan and Queens offices.

Responsibilities:

• Working collaboratively with attorneys, parent advocates and paralegals to represent parents in Child Protective (Article 10) and Termination of Parental Rights proceedings in Family Court
• Providing social work support and advocacy to clients
• Conducting intake and client interviews, assess clients’ needs and goals, and ensure clients are engaged in appropriate and meaningful service plans
• Referring clients for necessary services
• Maintaining contact with service providers to obtain letters for court
• Advocating for clients at ACS and foster care agency conferences
• Participating in team meetings as well as administrative meetings within CFR
• Keeping up to date client legal notes and entering data in CFR’s database

Social Workers at CFR can expect intensive, interdisciplinary training on CFR’s Cornerstone Advocacy model, child welfare, family court, client interviewing and other critical skills. Professional development opportunities for Social Workers may include building skills to eventually supervise MSW interns, conduct trainings and participate in CFR’s policy initiatives. Objectives of the teams include shortening lengths of stay for children in foster care, promoting quality visiting arrangements and ensuring families receive services that are well-tailored to expediting safe and lasting reunification.

Qualifications:

• Applicants must have an LMSW or have an MSW degree and be eligible and willing to become licensed within three months of hire.
• Prior experience working in or with the NYC child welfare system or family court is preferred.
• Fluency in Spanish or other languages and experience with public benefits, education, housing or immigration is all desirable.
• Individuals who apply should be able to demonstrate strong interpersonal and communication skills, a commitment to interdisciplinary representation of parents and a desire to share in both the exhilaration and challenges of a growing endeavor.

Salary:

Commensurate with experience; excellent benefits package.

How to Apply:

Applicants should send or email a cover letter and resume to HR at [email protected] with “Social Work Applicant” in the subject line. Please indicate your preference for a position in Manhattan or Queens. Please note we are not able to respond directly to each applicant to acknowledge receipt of materials.

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Staff Attorney, Queens Family Defense Practice

CFR has an immediate opening for a Staff Attorney in both our Manhattan and Queens offices.

Responsibilities:

• Work as part of CFR’s interdisciplinary legal teams (comprised of attorneys, social work staff, paralegals and parent advocates) to provide our clients with high quality legal defense and meet objectives such as keeping children out of foster care, shortening lengths of stay for children in foster care, promoting quality visiting arrangements and insuring that families receive services that are well-tailored to expediting safe and lasting reunification
• Represent parents in Family Court who are respondents in Article 10 and all related supplemental proceedings, including Termination of Parental Rights proceedings
• Pursue interim appeals on behalf of CFR’s clients
• Keep case data, client legal notes and files up to date
• Participate in CFR’s policy initiatives
• Work collaboratively with CFR’s Home for Good teams
• Where appropriate, supervise law school interns

Attorneys joining CFR can expect intensive, interdisciplinary training on CFR’s Cornerstone Advocacy model, family court, the child welfare/family regulation system, client interviewing, and other critical skills. CFR is dedicated to providing ongoing professional development in best practices in all these areas in a variety of training forums for all staff.

Qualifications:

• Applicants must be admitted to practice law in the State of New York and demonstrate strong interpersonal and communication skills, an ability to work as part of a team and a desire to share in both the exhilaration and challenges of a growing endeavor.
• Prior experience with public benefits, housing, criminal defense or immigration is preferred.
• Fluency in Spanish or other languages and experience with public benefits, education, housing or immigration is all desirable.
• Individuals who apply should be able to demonstrate strong interpersonal and communication skills, a commitment to interdisciplinary representation of parents and a desire to share in both the exhilaration and challenges of a growing endeavor.

Salary:

Commensurate with experience; excellent benefits package.

How to Apply:

Applicants should e-mail a cover letter and resume to [email protected]. Please write “Staff Attorney Applicant” in the subject line and indicate your preference for a position in Manhattan or Queens. No phone inquiries please. Please note we are not able to respond directly to each applicant to acknowledge receipt of materials.

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CFR strives to create an inclusive and antiracist environment for all of its staff, and candidates from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply; CFR is an EOE.