Fighting for Our Rights: Parents’ Legal Rights and Legislation to Protect Families 

In the coming weeks, Rise will publish a new series about parents’ legal rights and representation, as well as related legislation. Our goal is to familiarize parents with legal processes that you can potentially seek out, such as early representation or a lawsuit against the child welfare system. The series will also highlight legal protections that you can advocate for through legislation. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Rise will continue to provide information and resources to parents and advocate for parents’ rights and needs with the child welfare system. At this time of crisis, it is particularly important to ensure that parents’ voices are heard and parents’ rights are protected. 

Parents across the country have shared that courts are closed, hearings are delayed and in-person visits and services are canceled. Many “virtual” hearings, visits and services that are available to some parents come with severe challenges and limitations. Additionally, processes are changing quickly and it can be hard for parents to access critical information. 

In New York City, family court is operating by phone, with most hearings cancelled, and parents must call to get a lawyer assigned. Parents who don’t have technology for virtual visits or services should have a burner phone or other technology provided by their foster care agency, which can be reimbursed for this cost by ACS. Call your attorney or the ACS Office of Advocacy if you do not have what you need.

As ACF Children’s Bureau leadership cautioned last week, “We cannot allow the coronavirus to serve a modern-day orphan train that leads to the redistribution of other people’s children.”

Read the Series:

How Early Legal Representation Can Protect Families

New Law Reforming NY State Central Registry Will Provide Justice and Relief to Families

Protecting Families from Poverty—and CPS: How Early Legal Representation is Working in New Jersey

A Parent’s Ally: Providing “A Bridge” for Parents in Early Legal Representation

‘The Challenges of the Virus Have Acted Only to Heighten an Already Urgent Need for Systemic Change’: What the federal Children’s Bureau wants parents to know about their rights during the pandemic.

How to Sue the System: Attorney David Lansner explains how children and parents can sue the child welfare system

Suing the System: ‘It was about fighting for my rights’

How Holistic Legal Representation Supports Reunification