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Redefining public defense.

The Bronx Defenders Family Defense

Joint Family Defense Providers’ Legislative Priorities for 2021

  Together with 17 other family defense organizations across New York, we wrote to Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Speaker Carl Heastie outlining legislative priorities for 2021 which seek to shrink the state’s foster systems while offering families and communities the support and resources they need to raise the next generation…

The City: After ‘Horrifying’ Rochester Arrest, City Advocates Call on Cuomo to Keep Kids Out of Cop Hands

“Following the release of body-camera footage that showed Rochester police pepper-spraying a handcuffed 9-year-old girl, New York City advocates are renewing a push to raise the minimum age of criminal prosecution statewide. In a letter sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo and Albany leaders on Wednesday, public defender groups from all five boroughs pushed for passage of legislation that would hike the…

Rise Magazine: Parental Designation: A Way of Planning for the Expected and Unexpected

“Parental designation is a legal option in New York that allows a parent to designate someone you trust to temporarily take care of your child, while maintaining your parental rights and without ACS becoming involved. Here, Jessica Prince, Policy Counsel for the Family Defense Practice at The Bronx Defenders explains how parental designation works and why you…

News12: Woman says joy of motherhood after giving birth was stolen due to miscommunication at Bronx hospital

“Those three hospitals are Montefiore, Mount Sinai, and New York-Presbyterian. This is a probe to see if these practices are discriminatory against Black and LatinX parents and their newborns. Policy Council to the Family Defense Practice at the Bronx Defenders has seen countless cases over the years of families needing legal representation–due to positive drug…

Mother Jones: Do We Need to Abolish Child Protective Services?

“There are, of course, instances of terrible child abuse, and it’s the mission of ACS and child welfare agencies across the country to intervene. But often the child is not in danger and the caseworker has made a judgment call based only on the way the family is living. “With the vast majority of parents who…

Heroes of New York: Orayne Williams, Bronx Defenders

“Orayne came to the U.S. from Jamaica as a young teenager, and struggled with homelessness while still in high school in Bed-Stuy. Despite living in a homeless shelter, he persevered and went on to become Valedictorian and to obtain his B.A. and M.S.W. degrees. Upon graduating, Orayne joined The Bronx Defenders who provide comprehensive legal…

Frank News: Systems Built on Good Intentions are the Most Dangerous: Part 2

“This interview with Emma Ketteringham, managing director of the family defense practice at the Bronx Defenders, was conducted and condensed by franknews. Part one of this conversation on the child welfare system can be found here. Emma | If you look at all of the systems that do harm, whether it’s to poor communities or Black and brown communities, they are…

Frank News: Systems Built on Good Intentions are the Most Dangerous: Pt. 1

“This interview with Emma Ketteringham, managing director of the family defense practice at the Bronx Defenders, was conducted and condensed by franknews. The second half of this conversation on the child welfare system can be found here. When I started, I began to talk to my clients about the impact contact with the criminal system had affected their families and I…

The Imprint: The Sad Omission of Child Welfare from Mainstream Discussion on Race

“As thousands of Black people and their allies are protesting the systemic racism and police brutality that have been part of the fabric of this society for centuries, some white Americans appear ready to discuss the damage that oppression has done to Black and brown people. Books about anti-racism are flying off the shelves. There are…

The Marshall Project: Is Child Abuse Really Rising During The Pandemic?

“We have a child welfare system that is particularly, extremely sensitive to the media, so we should be very sure of narratives before we put them out there,” said Emma Ketteringham, managing director of the family defense practice at the Bronx Defenders in New York City, an organization that provides free legal services for low-income…

Talk Poverty: Coronavirus Could Cost Parents Custody of Kids in Foster Care

“In some states, like New York and California, there have been no official statewide orders cutting off all in-person visitation; instead agencies have been directed to make decisions on a case-by-case basis. But those on the ground say this is still leaving many parents without a voice in the decision-making process. Despite state-level guidance that…

The Chronicle of Social Change: Parents’ Foster Care Placement Challenges Need Quick Resolutions, New York Appeals Court Rules

“During testimony in Albany in November, Emma Ketteringham, managing attorney of Bronx Defenders’ Family Defense Practice said the problems include too few judges and a lack of evening and weekend courtroom hours. “As a result, families are separated needlessly and kept separated for longer than necessary,” she told lawmakers. Pandemic-related court closures have exacerbated those delays for the foreseeable…

The Appeal: Justice In America Episode 23: Criminalizing Mothers

Josie Duffy Rice and guest co-host Zak Cheney-Rice talk with Emma Ketteringham, the managing director of the Bronx Defenders Family Defense Practice, about the relationship between the criminal justice system and family court, and how together they can wreak havoc on American families. Listen to the full podcast here

BRIC TV: The New Jane Crow

For wealthier white parents, the practice of smoking cannabis is becoming widely more accepted. But for poor families of color, a positive marijuana toxicology report can have life altering consequences. The New Jane Crow tells the story of two mothers who had neglect cases opened by the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) after their newborns…

New York Daily News: Poor and at risk of losing their kids: Moms and dads under ACS investigation deserve more legal help

“The City Council has proposed giving parents meaningful access to legal representation during an ACS investigation; like a suspect facing arrest, parents being investigated would have the chance to access legal help. Opponents of the bills claim access will make investigations more “adversarial,” even implying that children will be endangered. The first problem with this narrative is…

Rise Magazine: What Parents Need to Know: School Reports to CPS, Communicating with the School, and Advocating for Your Child

An interview with The Bronx Defenders Here, Asia Piña and Crystal Baker-Burr, a social worker and an education attorney at The Bronx Defenders, warn parents that some schools may call in reports far more quickly than others. They suggest ways parents can navigate challenges and improve their relationship with their child’s school to avoid unnecessary…

The Chronicle of Social Change: More Services Or Better Legal Support For Accused Parents? New York Officials and Advocates Divided on What’s Best

“Some advocates who spoke to lawmakers last week rejected the notion that prevention programs were a panacea, and argued that lawmakers should focus instead on improving legal representation for parents. “We have to stop talking about preventive services,” testified Emma Ketteringham, a managing attorney for the legal aid group Bronx Defenders. “I’m not saying that’s…