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 that it is not attorneys, but rather social workers who are members of the attorney’s legal teams that primarily support parents during an ACS investigation. Four agencies now offer this support — our own Center for Family Representation (which provides free legal and social work services to low-income families whose children are at risk of foster care), Brooklyn Defender Services, Bronx Defenders and Neighborhood Defender Services — though not to the scale that is needed for the 55,000 parents ACS investigates each year.”

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