Policy & Advocacy

Policy Reform & Advocacy with the City & State

CFR’s Policy Platform

The Center for Family Representation (CFR) is New York City’s county-wide assigned indigent family defense provider for parents who are respondents in Family Court Act (FCA) Article 10 and related proceedings in Queens and New York counties.  In March 2020, we also began representing youth in Adolescent Offender proceedings in criminal Youth Parts and in juvenile delinquency proceedings in family court.  Our Home for Good Practice (HFG), which we launched in 2015, allows us to offer a one-stop solution for clients facing multiple legal matters.  We offer interdisciplinary representation in immigration, criminal, housing and public benefits matters.  We also provide ‘early defense’ to parents facing ACS investigations (with the goal of preventing court prosecution and family separation) and advocacy to help parents modify their state records of investigations, to increase their employment opportunities.  Our interdisciplinary approach to representation provides attorneys, social work staff, and parent advocates (parents who have been impacted by the family regulation system) to our clients to support them through their legal cases.

CFR has identified the following core values and principles to guide CFR’s policy team in making future decisions and determining its legislative priorities. CFR is committed to:

  • Supporting anti-racist policies that reduce and seek to eliminate the harm of the family regulation, criminal, delinquency, immigration, and housing systems
  • Providing and increasing access to justice regardless of race, immigration status, or income
  • Amplifying the voices and choices of BIPOC parents, youth, families, and communities
  • Maintaining family stability by reducing incarceration and involvement with the family regulation and juvenile justice systems, and improving continuity of care and access to services

2021 Priorities:

  • Supporting communities to access services and protect family integrity without surveillance, fear, or intrusion
    • Reducing the reach, and working towards the abolishment of mandated reporters
    • Ending anonymous reporting
    • Keep ICE out of courts
    • Support family based immigration and oppose federal government’s attacks on non-wealthy immigrants
    • Reform New York State’s OP registry to prevent information sharing with federal government
    • Ensuring that all pregnant people and newborn babies are not drug tested by a medical provider without providing written and verbal informed consent
  • Increasing access to legal services
    • Increased early defense funding
    • Family Miranda legislation at state and city level
    • Legislative case cap for family defense attorneys
    • Require children to consult with an attorney prior to waiving Miranda rights
    • More funding for immigration legal services
  • Criminal and delinquency reforms
    • Raise the minimum age for delinquency
    • End shackling of children
    • End overcrowding in jails and prisons by reducing the prison population
    • Advocate for restorative justice
  • Increase housing security
    • Prioritize housing security and provide support through cash assistance and relief for rent arrears, or canceling of rent owed during the pandemic
    • Continue moratorium covering all types of evictions while the pandemic continues
    • Increase ACS housing subsidy commensurate with the change in the cost of housing since its enactment in 1988
    • Increase access to housing subsidies to assist with rent arrears
  • Ensure pandemic does not negatively impact our client’s legal rights
    • Support moratorium on TPRs during covid time period
    • Increasing court capacity to address backlog and facilitate reunification efforts