Joint Defender Testimony Before New York City Council Committee on General Welfare regarding Screening Process and Eligibility Requirements for Foster Parents

This testimony is submitted jointly by Brooklyn Defender Services (BDS), the Bronx Defenders (BxD), Center for Family Representation (CFR), and Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem (NDS). Our offices are the primary providers of mandated legal representation to indigent parents in Article 10 cases filed in family court in each of our boroughs (collectively the “family defense providers”). Together, we have created a model of interdisciplinary representation for parents charged with abuse or neglect and at risk of losing their children to the foster system. Our model connects clients with attorneys, social workers, and parent advocates to provide comprehensive representation and advocacy both in and out of court. We thank the Committee on General Welfare for the opportunity to testify about the family regulation system and its impact on the families we serve.

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We see everyday how low income Black and Latine parents are unfairly treated by the child welfare and foster systems - which we more accurately describe as the family regulation system - and urge the City Council to consider ways to reduce the city’s reliance on foster placements and invest in strengthening families so that children can remain home, in their communities and schools.

View the full testimony here.

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