Joint Family Defense Providers’ Legislative Priorities for 2022

March 28, 2022

Hon. Kathy Hochul
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

Hon. Andrea Stewart-Cousins
Democratic Leader, New York State Senate
188 State Street LOB – Room 907
Albany, NY 12247

Hon. Carl Heastie
Speaker, New York State Assembly
New York State Capitol Room 349
Albany, NY 12247

RE: New York State Family Defender 2022 Legislative Priorities

Dear Governor Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, and Assembly Speaker Heastie:

As New York’s family defense organizations, we write to share our legislative priorities for 2022, which seek to shrink the pathways to the state’s foster system, minimize the long lasting and traumatic effects on those who have survived what is often referred to as the family regulation system, and shift power and autonomy back to the families and communities most impacted by this system, as they know best what support and resources they need to thrive and raise the next generation of New Yorkers. Together, our offices represent thousands of parents and caregivers in child neglect and abuse proceedings in New York family courts every year. Much like the criminal legal system, the  system in which children are removed from their parents has been and continues to be profoundly shaped by structural racism and operates by surveilling and punishing low-income families and communities of color, particularly Black and Latine communities. This system reinforces racial and economic inequality by treating poverty as child neglect, unnecessarily separating families and shifting resources to the family regulation system rather than directly providing support and resources needed by the families it is meant to serve.

Read the full letter here.