News Story (New York)
July 1, 2015
Tags: Children & Juvenile
Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Aid Society (New York City), Bronx Defenders
ACS does not have removal power, except in extreme cases, and must take all its cases before a judge in family court. In court, children and parents are separately represented; typically by lawyers from Legal Aid Society or by a pro-bono private attorney.
Family court is unique in the American legal apparatus. It is a civil court that falls outside American criminal law, thus the sixth amendment right to a speedy trial clause does not apply. This means that a case can languish for years with no resolution. The public advocate’s report highlighted that more than a quarter of the hotline’s respondents said they had lived in foster care for three to five years with an additional more than 20% reporting betweenfive to 10 years. In only 10% of cases was the child returned to their birth parent.