NY Daily News: Black parents in N.Y. need to know their rights

In an op-ed for the New York Daily News, New York City's family defense providers advocated for the passage of the Family Miranda Rights Act which would require child protective services to provide, both orally and in writing, information to parents and caretakers who are subject to an investigation of their rights at the start of an inquiry. These rights, such as the right to refuse entry to a family home without a court order, already exist, yet families being investigated are often not made properly aware of the protections available to them.

In this op-ed, lawyers from Brooklyn Defender Services, The Center for Family Representation, The Bronx Defenders, and Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem detail the documented racist & classist injustices inherent in the current ACS investigatory system and illustrate the necessity of families being proactively informed of their rights:

"Every day, we work with parents who have experienced this coercion and manipulation. These tactics are rooted in systemic racism: a draft report commissioned by ACS showed that parents, advocates, and staff alike feel that the agency “actively destabilizes Black and Brown families and makes them feel unsafe.”

We are proud to be part of the movement of advocates, impacted parents, and legal and social work professionals advocating for the passage of the Family Miranda Rights Act, which would require ACS caseworkers to inform parents of their existing rights — both verbally and in writing — at the start of every investigation. This includes the right to know what parents are being accused of, the right to deny entry into their home without a warrant, and the right to speak with an attorney.


A powerful government agency like ACS may believe in its own benevolence. Knowledge of one’s rights should also not depend on the particular policies of one commissioner or one caseworker. While our approach to child well-being must be wholly reimagined to support families rather separate them, we urge the Legislature to take one step towards empowering parents by passing the Family Miranda Act, which will mandate ACS to do the right thing: inform every parent of all of their rights, verbally and in writing, at the start of an investigation."

Read the full op-ed here.

Resources about the rights available to families facing an ACS investigation can be found here.

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