Policy & Advocacy

Policy Reform & Advocacy with the City & State

CFR’s Policy Platform

For over two decades, the Center for Family Representation (CFR) has provided legal representation and social work supports to families at risk of separation through foster care or youth incarceration. 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 seek to eliminate or reduce the harm of the family regulation, adult and youth incarceration, immigration, and housing systems
  • Providing and increasing access to justice regardless of race, immigration status, ability or income
  • Amplifying the voices and choices of impacted parents, youth, and families, who are typically from communities of color
  • Maintaining family stability by ending the over-surveillance of our clients and their families, reducing adult and youth incarceration and involvement with the family regulation systems, and improving continuity of care and access to services
  • Supporting policies that expand – not limit – opportunities for youth, formerly incarcerated people, and low-income Black and Brown communities

2022 Priorities:

  • Support community access to services and resources to protect family integrity without surveillance, fear, or intrusion
    • Families should be able to access affordable childcare, housing, and services.
    • Education must be accessible to all – CFR supports Solutions not Suspensions and the use of developmentally appropriate, graduated interventions with students.
    • Reduce the reach, and work towards the abolishment of mandated reporters.
    • End anonymous, harassing reporting to the State Central Register.
    • Support family based immigration and oppose the federal government’s attacks on non-wealthy immigrants, who are more likely to be people of color.
    • Reform New York State’s Order of Protection registry to prevent information sharing with the federal government.
    • Ensure that all pregnant people and newborn babies are not drug tested by a medical provider without providing written and verbal informed consent.
    • Support parents of trans youth and equitable access to resources for trans youth.
  • Increase access to legal services
    • Ensure all New York families are informed of their rights at the start of a family regulation investigation.
    • Increase early defense funding.
    • Secure funding to meet caseload standards developed by the State’s Office of Indigent Legal Services.
    • Ensure all litigants have access to an attorney in housing court.
    • Require children to consult with an attorney prior to waiving Miranda rights.
    • Increase funding for immigration legal services.
  • Reform the adult and youth incarceration systems
    • Protect the human rights of incarcerated people and ensure they are housed in safe and habitable conditions, including access to appropriate medical care.
    • No rollbacks to reforms that protect Black and Brown communities from over-policing, while maintaining public safety, including bail reform, discovery reform, and Raise the Age.
    • Treatment and placement of incarcerated people based on gender identity.
    • End the over-policing of Black and Brown communities.
    • End overcrowding in jails and prisons by reducing the prison population.
    • Advocate for restorative justice practices in schools, the justice system and in youth placement facilities.
    • Ban rogue DNA databases and end the collection of DNA without court orders or consent.
    • Keep families connected and ensure in-person visits to incarcerated people.
    • Increase opportunities for formerly incarcerated adults and youth by passing the Youth Justice and Opportunity Act, the Clean Slate Act, and the Fair and Timely Parole Bill. 
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • Good Cause must be required for any eviction.
    • Improve conditions of NYCHA housing.
  • Support communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic
    • Ensure pandemic does not negatively impact our client’s legal rights.
    • Support moratorium on termination of parental rights proceedings (TPRs) during Covid time period.
    • Increase court capacity to address backlog and facilitate reunification efforts, without compromising due process.