Policy & Advocacy

Policy Reform & Advocacy with the City & State

CFR’s Policy Platform

The Center for Family Representation (CFR) advocates for policy changes in pursuit of a future free of racist systems that perpetuate harms against communities of color. CFR recognizes that the family regulation, adult and youth incarceration, and immigration systems police, surveil, and control the most vulnerable, who are primarily poor, Black and brown, and the housing and public benefits systems reinforce social inequalities rooted in slavery. These systems were designed as engines of white supremacy culture, working to bolster racism, inequity, and injustice. CFR strives for social change through direct representation, litigation, institutional advocacy, legislative reform, and by partnering with impacted communities, to achieve a more just and equitable society. 

CFR’s policy team works toward systemic change through legislative and policy reform in pursuit of social justice. The policy team is guided by the following core values and principles:

  • We will work to amplify the voices and choices of impacted parents, youth, and families, who are typically from communities of color
  • We support anti-racist policies that seek to eliminate or reduce the harm of the family regulation, adult and youth incarceration, immigration, housing and public benefits systems
  • We will increase access to justice regardless of race, immigration status, ability, income, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age
  • We strive to strengthen family stability by ending the over-surveillance of our clients and their families, reducing adult and youth incarceration and involvement with the family regulation system, and by improving continuity of care and access to quality, community-based services
  • We support policies that expand opportunities for youth, families, formerly incarcerated people, and low-income Black and brown communities
  • We support the right of all people to seek reproductive healthcare and to make decisions about their bodies and families without government interference 
  • We will not support any policies that strengthen the systems that police, surveil, coerce, and control low-income communities of color

Current Priorities:

  • Increase access to legal services and protect due process rights for litigants
    • Ensure all New York families are informed of their rights at the start of a family regulation investigation
    • All parents should have access to quality, timely defense at the start of every family regulation investigation
    • Secure funding to meet caseload standards for parent representation developed by the State’s Office of Indigent Legal Services
    • Provide all litigants with attorneys in housing court at the start of their case
    • Require children to consult with an attorney prior to waiving Miranda rights
    • Increase funding for immigration legal services
  • Ensure families have access to services and resources to protect family integrity without surveillance, fear, or intrusion
    • Reduce the reach, and work towards the abolishment of mandated reporters
    • End anonymous, harassing reporting to the State Central Register
    • Families should be able to access affordable and quality childcare, housing, and mental health services
    • All children must have access to quality education in schools that provide holistic support to their communities. Schools should use developmentally appropriate, graduated interventions with students
    • Ensure that all pregnant people and newborn babies are not drug tested by a medical provider without providing written and verbal informed consent 
    • Support family based immigration 
    • Reform New York State’s Order of Protection registry to prevent information sharing with the federal government, which can lead to immigration involvement
    • Support trans youth and their parents, including equitable access to resources for trans youth
  • Support the distribution of resources to address the underlying causes of poverty
    • The government should establish universal basic income and a universal child allowance
    • Public Assistance and SNAP programs should be expanded
    • Basic necessities should be available through community organizations and schools
  • Adult and Youth incarceration reforms
    • 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
    • End the over-policing of Black and Brown communities
    • End overcrowding in jails and prisons by reducing the prison population
    • Treatment and Placement of Incarcerated People based on Gender Identity
    • 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 access to housing subsidies to assist with rent arrears
    • Good Cause must be required for any eviction
    • Improve conditions of NYCHA housing