Youth Defense Practice

Do you know a young person in Manhattan or Queens who has been arrested? We may be able to help. READ MORE

Young people involved with the police should not say or sign anything without first speaking to a lawyer.

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Defending Young People
Supporting Their Families

CFR’s Youth Defense Practice represents youth in Queens and Manhattan in Supreme Court Youth Parts, during Probation Adjustment and in Delinquency proceedings in Family 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. CFR’s Youth Defense Practice works directly with clients through teams that consist of a lawyer and a social worker.

Young people do better if they have supportive services in their communities and that legal and social work assistance should also involve their parents. For example, parents may need assistance with housing or public benefits, immigration, or finding community-based services like family counseling. Students may need advocacy so that they aren’t suspended from school because of an arrest. Our team strives to avoid prosecution altogether, though young clients may need legal representation during investigations or in court. In 2020, CFR was awarded to provide that representation in Queens and Manhattan.

Because of over-policing and other practices, young people in New York City who are Black, Brown, and poor are four times as likely to be involved in the juvenile justice system. By supporting young people through our holistic interdisciplinary model, CFR can help break cycles of involvement in the justice system. In this way the Youth Defense Practice assists young clients who live in poverty and can help strengthen their families and communities. Our teams also provide “Know Your Rights” presentations, which are usually conducted in schools, and provide youth with strategies to avoid or deescalate encounters with police.

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