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Redefining public defense.

The Bronx Defenders Family Defense

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…

Emma Ketteringham Presented Testimony at Hearing on Family Involvement in the Child Welfare and Family Court Systems

Assembly Standing Committee on Children and Families Assembly Task Force on Women’s Issues November 21, 2019  Hearing on Family Involvement in the Child Welfare and Family Court Systems Written Testimony of The Bronx Defenders By Emma S. Ketteringham, Managing Director, Family Defense Practice Muriel Bell, Policy Advocate, Family Defense Practice Miriam Mack, Policy Counsel, Family…

Filter Magazine: What Harm Reductionists Think About Sesame Street’s Addiction Representation

“Dinah Ortiz, a parent advocate supervisor at The Bronx Defenders and a Filter contributor, is concerned that Sesame Street’s focus on the disease model of addiction, and not drug use more generally—which ranges from from abstinence to chaotic and out of control—could add fuel to the fire of child-parent separations that target parents of color. “Sesame Street…

The Appeal Podcast: The War On Drugs Continues In Family Court

“As cannabis use is legalized in more and more jurisdictions across the country, child welfare systems aren’t always keeping pace. Allegations of drug use are still raised in family court, particularly against parents of color, and those who admit using cannabis are often subject to heightened surveillance. We are joined today by Miriam Mack and…

Cuny Law Review: Accidents Happen: Exposing Fallacies in Child Protection Abuse Cases and Reuniting Families Through Aggressive Litigation

“In New York City, much needed-critical attention has been paid to the racial disproportionality and overreach of the city’s child welfare system, the Administration for Children’s Services (“ACS”), and its conflation of poverty with neglect. The vast majority of child protection cases brought in New York City allege child neglect rather than abuse. This article…

The Appeal: Parents Threatened With Losing Children Over Cannabis Use

“Ms. D, a mother of two living in the Bronx, smoked cannabis occasionally. She never smoked in front of her children, and her casual use never affected her ability to parent. So when a child protective investigator asked her if she smoked, Ms. D was forthcoming. After all, her children were healthy, happy, and well…

New York Times: A Child Bumps Her Head. What Happens Next Depends on Race

“When a child experiences a mild head injury and a parent seeks medical attention, what happens next in New York City seems to depend on the ZIP code and the color of the parent’s skin. In April, the actress Jenny Mollen, wife of the actor Jason Biggs and resident of Manhattan’s affluent West Village, announced on…

Open Minds: Interdisciplinary Legal Representation For Parents Involved In Abuse or Neglect Cases Resulted In 118 Fewer Days In Foster Care

“Interdisciplinary legal representation of parents facing child abuse or neglect child welfare cases, whose children entered foster care in New York City, resulted in 118 fewer days in foster care for the children affected. On average, a child who enters out-of-home care will spend 658 days in foster care through 48 months of petition filing…