The New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for
Children was established in 1988 to improve the lives and life chances
of children involved with New York courts. The Commission is chaired by former
Chief Judge Judith Kaye, and its members include judges, lawyers,
advocates, physicians, legislators, and state and local officials.
At its inception, the Commission predominantly targeted its efforts toward
the youngest children before the courts – securing early intervention,
establishing a statewide system of Children’s Centers in the Courts,
improving court proceedings, promoting the healthy development of children
in foster care and focusing on the needs of infants involved in child welfare
proceedings. In 1994, the New York State Court of Appeals designated the
Commission to implement the New York State Court Improvement Project
(CIP), a federally funded project to assess and improve foster care,
termination of parental rights and adoption proceedings.
In all of these endeavors, we have used a systemic methodology composed of
convening stakeholders, conducting research, developing pilot projects,
creating written materials and tools, presenting trainings and initiating efforts
to change policy and practice. Additionally, all of our efforts are premised on
the court’s authority under state and federal law and consistent with the legal
standards for services to children.
Since 2006, the Commission expanded its focus to include older
youth involved with the courts, focusing particularly on encouraging child
and youth participation in their court proceedings and examining juvenile
justice issues, including juvenile probation and issues affecting dually
adjudicated youth. In addition, the Commission continues to seek to improve
the educational outcomes of children in out of home care.