Public Policy & Special Litigation

The Challenge

The New York state and local child welfare systems continue to fail children in foster care. Despite changes in administration, improved policies and a decrease in the overall number of children in care, the needs of young people in foster care are not being met effectively. Children often fail to receive timely mental health assessments and services; older adolescents are not being prepared adequately for employment; LGBTQ youth are not placed in affirming homes; and young people are not being discharged to appropriate, stable housing. These are only some of the chronic, systemic failures that leave children in foster care vulnerable and unprepared for adulthood.

LFC's Response

LFC created a Public Policy and Special Litigation Project to initiate, monitor, and coordinate advocacy and educational strategies necessary to effectuate positive systemic reform on behalf of all children in foster care in the five boroughs of New York City and in New York State. The project includes: individual advocacy in family court proceedings; legislative analysis and reform; amicus curie filings; impact litigation in both the State and Federal Courts; community, institutional, and judicial education; and collaborative work with city and state agencies and with other advocacy organizations.

These reform efforts are informed by LFC’s direct services and reflect the needs, wishes and rights of individual children in foster care. The Public Policy and Special Litigation Project also works seamlessly with LFC’s other special projects, providing public policy and impact litigation expertise for LFC’s reform efforts on behalf of LGBTQ children in foster care; those without permanent legal immigration status; children who who have been sexually abused or have been exposed to domestic violence; youth in care who struggle with mental health issues; those who require educational advocacy; and those who are preparing to age out of the foster care system.