Policy & Advocacy

Policy Advocacy to Dismantle Family Policing

Fighting for Systemic Change

CFR is actively engaged in dismantling the family policing system through policy advocacy. Applying our expertise in interdisciplinary practice, CFR’s policy work is focused on reducing harm for families experiencing family policing and separation and ultimately dismantling systems of family policing, surveillance, and separation altogether. 

CFR staff meet with elected officials (City and State) and participate in coalitions with impacted parents, defenders, and advocates. CFR staff draft legislation and revise, 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.


Examples of CFR’s policy work include:

  • Advocacy that resulted in the passage of the State Central Register (SCR) Reform Bill that will eventually change the way the State keeps records on parents like CFR’s clients, so that their records of family policing involvement will not prevent them from securing work.

  • Advocacy with New York City Council that helped CFR and other defender offices expand their work to represent parents during family policing investigations and in SCR proceedings.

  • Collaboration with staff from our criminal and youth defense practices to write a Memo advocating for legislation to Repeal New York Civil Rights Law 50-a, which brought greater transparency and accountability to police officers, firefighters and corrections officers.

  • Testimony in September 2024 at the New York State Assembly hearing on Mandated Reporting, sharing the experiences of our clients whose lives have been harmed by over-surveillance and overreporting and the work of CFR’s staff to repair that harm.

  • Testimony in November 2024 at a Joint Hearing to Conduct Oversight of New York State’s Family Court. CFR shared how harmful the experience of court can be for families and how unnecessary delays, lack of language access, and disrespectful treatment by Court staff have eroded trust in our State’s Judicial system.

  • Publishing op-eds to change the narrative around our clients and to message about how the family policing system harms and undermines the families we serve. In February 2024, CFR and other leading public defender organizations wrote a joint op-ed for Black History Month about the vital need for Black parents to know their rights when ACS knocks. In 2023, CFR wrote a joint op-ed for National Family Preservation Month about the importance of keeping families together and investing in them and their communities.


Partners and Coalitions:
CFR partners with other organizations, advocates, and movements in this work, examples of which are included here: Justice Roadmap, Communities Not Cages, Right2RemainSilent, Solutions Not Suspensions, Parents’ Legislative Action Network, and the New York Mandated Reporting Working Group.