Supervising Attorney for Law and Appeals, Family Defense Practice
Jessica Marcus has been representing indigent parents in Brooklyn who are trying to keep their children out of foster care for more than 15 years. She was a founding member of Brooklyn Family Defense Project (BFDP) which began in July 2007 as the first institutional provider of representation for parents in child protective proceedings in Brooklyn. In 2013, BFDP merged with Brooklyn Defender Services. Prior to the founding of BFDP, Ms. Marcus worked as a staff attorney in the Family Law Unit at South Brooklyn Legal Services, where she represented parents and relatives of children in foster care seeking to reunite their families, and conducted education and outreach regarding the rights of parents with children in the child welfare system.
She began in 2001 with a two-year fellowship from Equal Justice Works, focusing on the effects of the Adoption and Safe Families Act on families in the permanency hearing stage of child welfare cases. In addition to her work on individual cases, she developed a joint project with the Legal Aid Society and Lawyers for Children to advocate for the Administration for Children’s Services to expand access to housing assistance for families seeking to reunify with children in foster care, or whose children are at risk of foster care placement due to lack of adequate housing.
In March, 2006, Ms. Marcus published an article in the New York University (NYU) School of Law’s Review of Law and Social Change on the effects of the federal Welfare Reform Act of 1996 on families involved in the child welfare system. Ms. Marcus graduated in 2001 from NYU Law School, where she was a Sinsheimer Public Service Scholarship recipient and participated in the Family Defense Clinic, which represents parents and relatives of children involved in the child welfare system.