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 learned some pretty harrowing facts. Even if I was able to resolve someone’s criminal case favorably, without a criminal record or without jail time, I would learn that as a result of that arrest, the family had come to the attention of the so-called child protection system – and I say so-called because I think whether they actually protect children deserves interrogation, but just to use a more recognizable title. Every state has such an agency charged with investigating families for abuse or neglect of their children. In New York City it’s the Administration for Children’s Services or ACS. I began to learn that the arrest, although that had been resolved quickly, had ignited an absolute nightmare in family court with ACS. It had led to intrusive surveillance of their family and for many, the removal of their children from their care. So I started representing my clients in family court.”

Read the full interview here