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Child Welfare
News: Child Welfare

Blurred Lines Between Advocates and Adversaries

All parties in Family Court are supposed to be fighting for the welfare of the child. But chapter 3 of our Family Court investigation finds that in the adversarial format of a courtroom, players sometimes take on conflicting roles.

Juvenile Justice System Excludes Many Youthful Wrongdoers

New York's juvenile justice system is the target of reform efforts. But to some critics, it's the fact that New York State tries so many teens outside of juvenile court that most needs reform. Chapter 4 in our Family Court investigation.

React, Reform, Repeat: A Round of Change Faces Family Court

In chapter 5 of our investigation of New York City Family Court, we look at past reform efforts and survey judges, lawyers, advocates and parents on how they think the system could be improved.

A Separate System With Special Rules

A lower threshold for judgment, different standards of evidence, a shift in the burden of proof and no Fifth Amendment protection—these and other features of Family Court set it apart from the rest of the legal system.

'Kinship' Approach Shows Promise

New York recently began trying to get more children who were removed from their homes placed in guardianship relationships with other relatives. While there are potential pitfalls, the approach can save time and money.

Q&A with Family Court’s Top Judge

A conversation with Edwina Richardson-Mendelson a one-time lawyer and then a courtroom judge in Family Court who now oversees the city's system.

City Investigating Home for LGBT Youth

Current and former residents of a group home for LGBT youth say physical abuse, sexual misconduct and financial mismanagement were common.

Advocates: '12 Budget Dance Has Heavier Beat

Once again, they're rallying in Brooklyn (and elsewhere) against budget reductions from Washington and City Hall. But after years of austerity, advocates say the annual ritual of protests against proposed cuts has taken on a more urgent tone.

City Probe Uncovered Operator’s Power

After years of complaints about one Bronx real-estate figure, the city housing department issued an unprecedented subpoena. The records it turned up made for interesting reading.

Brooklyn Edges: LGBT Youth Relive Life's Drama On Stage

A theater organization has LGBT youth play the roles of people who spurned them, giving the actors a chance to write their own next act.

Driving? Fuhgeddabout it! Brooklyn Stats Say Transit Rules

A new report paints the most detailed statistical picture ever of Brooklyn and its 18 community districts, and suggests residents today are less poor, better educated, paying more for housing and more likely to ride mass transit than in 2000.

Privatization's Risks Involve More Than Money

Not only has city spending on outside contractors swelled in the past decade. The role of private firms in developing city policy has expanded. Have accountability and transparency kept pace?

Workers, Kids Suffer in Corruption Probe's Aftermath

One of northern Manhattan's largest non-profit organizations, only last year the focus of a city investigation into corruption allegations, now faces a fresh crisis – one that threatens to disrupt the lives of dozens of working parents and over 100 pre-school children.

New Child Welfare Head Faces Mountain of Challenges

Ronald Richter just got what the mayor calls a "thankless" job—running the Administration for Children's Services. We asked ACS's sometime allies and frequent critics in the advocacy world what Richter's chief challenges will be.

Concerns Persist Over Child Welfare Cases Involving Mental Health

As many as one in five child welfare cases involves a parent with a mental health diagnosis, creating challenges for parents, children and caseworkers. Advocates say efforts to address those challenges haven't gone far enough.

Budget Cut Avoided, But Children's Services Still Show Strain

There are reports that some parents are having trouble getting child welfare services because a botched contract award and budget threats last year led providers to scale back.

Human Factor Looms Large In ACS System

The recent indictment of two ACS workers in a little girl's death has focused new attention on the city's child protection regime. In this interview, City Limits' Helen Zelon explains how legal process and human nature interact in the child welfare system.

What Cuts Will Cost: Children's Learning, Parents' Work

As tabloids celebrate an on-time state budget, a look at what one budget cut at the city level will mean: fewer childcare slots, less school prep for kids and a tough choice for their working parents.

Grandparents Who Parent Are Facing Budget Cuts

Thousands of New York children are raised by relatives other than their parents. Many rely on state programs to support their unexpected second stint as guardians.

Credits As Collateral: Schools Withhold Records If Debts Unpaid

Some students transferring to public school arrive with no educational records because a private or parochial school has withheld them until tuition debts are paid.


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More than 70,000 children enter New York City’s child protective network or juvenile justice system in a typical year. From family court to foster care, secure detention facilities to adoption, child welfare policy is where compelling desires to protect children, respect families and ensure public safety meet—and sometimes clash.

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BLOG ENTRIES

CL Honored for Story on How Parents' Arrests Affect Kids - Jarrett Murphy

Rachel Blustain won first place in the category of best article on a social issue at the 2014 Ippies coordinated by the Center for Community and Ethnic Media at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

Report: Shift in Child Welfare Policy Undermined by Budget Moves - Helen Zelon

The IBO depicts a profound change at the Administration for Children's Services, with preventive offerings replacing foster care as the agency's go-to policy. But questionable budget decisions undercut the impact of the shift.

Human Factor Looms Large In ACS System - Helen Zelon

The recent indictment of two Administration for Children's Services workers in the death of a Brooklyn four-year-old has focused new attention on the city's system for detecting and stopping child abuse and neglect. In this interview, City Limits' Helen Zelon explains how legal process and human nature interact in the child welfare system.

Veteran Provider Takes Big ACS Job - Helen Zelon

The Administration of Children’s Services has announced the appointment of Charles Barrios, a licensed psychotherapist with decades of service at Good Shepherd Services in Brooklyn, as Deputy Commissioner for Family Support Services.

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CONVERSATIONS/OPINONS

Are We Overmedicating Kids in Foster Care?

By Dawn Post

Are We Overmedicating Kids in Foster Care?

A third of the kids in foster care diagnosed with ADHD have been treated with off-label antipsychotic drugs. That's too many children getting medicine we know too little about.

Does Poverty Cause Child Abuse?

By Dawn Post

Does Poverty Cause Child Abuse?

Poor parents are no more likely to hurt or neglect their kids, the author argues. They're just more likely to be punished for failings both real and imagined.

Custody Battle Delays Mean Kids Grow Up in Family Court

By Dawn Post

Custody Battle Delays Mean Kids Grow Up in Family Court

A shortage of judges means some children and their families spend years in the system, exacerbating whatever problems brought them there in the first place.

Racial Disparities Color Media Coverage of Child Abuse Victims

By Dawn Post

Racial Disparities Color Media Coverage of Child Abuse Victims

Whether they are victims of child abuse or lose a parent to murder, kids in some neighborhoods get treated differently when faced with tragedy. Readers and viewers must demand better.

Family Court's Need is Absent from the Ballot

By Ben Krull

Family Court's Need is Absent from the Ballot

Come Election Day, voters will decide whether to raise the retirement age of judges to deal with civil and criminal court backlogs. But nothing is being done for Family Court, which oversees New York's most vulnerable.

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MULTIMEDIA

Educational Attainment in the Bronx

This infographic chart, produced by the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness (www.icphusa.org) showcases educational attainment in the Bronx for adults (25 years and older).

Design Deficiencies and Lost Votes

In 2010, tens of thousands of votes in New York did not count due to overvotes — the invalid selection of more than one candidate. This report demonstrates how the lack of adequate overvote protections disproportionately affected the state's poorest communities, suggests commonsense reforms, and examines national implications.

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