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Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children

 


Youth Participation in Court


 

Current Commission Products:

As a means to promote the safety, permanency and well-being for all New York State children in out-of-home care, the Commission is working to increase the participation of children in permanency hearings– special court hearings where the health, well-being and future steps for children in out-of-home care are reviewed and determined with the goal of achieving permanency for these children.

Meaningful participation in their hearings will empower children, help New York State comply with recent federal and New York State laws requiring Family Court judges to consult with children in an age-appropriate manner at all permanency hearings, and ultimately produce better fact-finding that will lead to better decisions and better outcomes for children and their families.

 


Older Youth in the Courts

Older youth who are no longer children but not quite adults have unique needs and require a unique and tailored response from the justice system. The New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children explored those dynamics through a series that drilled into issues of foster care emergence, race and trauma as it pertains to this particularly vulnerable population.

 


 

Transition-Aged Youth in Foster Care: Every Youth Needs Someone
Sharrica Miller, PhD, RN (Biography)

Youth in foster care experience a tremendous amount of instability as they are shuffled from home to home.  They have a constant fear and anxiety of the unknown, and a remarkable loss of security due to others making decisions about their life. Child welfare professionals and foster families often act with the best interest of the child in mind, but may be unaware of the emotional strain that foster care elicits.

There is strong evidence to suggest that foster youth who have at least one loving, stable adult in their lives experience better life outcomes in comparison to youth who do not. Thus, the overall goal of this presentation is highlight best practices for ensuring that youth are able to meet this goal as early in their foster care journey as possible. Part informative, part inspirational, this presentation highlights Dr. Miller’s 12-year journey through foster care and provide a concrete example of the importance that child welfare professionals and others that work in this arena can have on the lives of foster youth.

 

Older Youth in the CourtsTransition-Aged Youth in Foster Care (Video)

For closed captioning, click the CC button at the bottom right of the video player.

To contact Dr. Miller for information, future speaking engagements or to facilitate a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) workshop, please email Sharrica.Miller@ucla.edu.  Her dissertation, Transition Readiness, Perceived Health, and Health Services Utilization in Transitional Age Foster Youth Compared to Controls, can be viewed at: https://escholarship.org/uc/item/6jk4p6qd. Thank you to our co-sponsor, the Redlich Horwitz Foundation for its generous support of our programming.   

 


 

Aged and Confused: Documentary screening and discussion
Christina Shaman and Anakha Arikara, with Alex Jimenez

On December 10, 2021, the PJCJC held a screening event and facilitated panel discussion with the star and the creators of the film Aged and Confused. Aged and Confused is a 35-minute short documentary about one young man's journey aging out of foster care in New York City. Directed by Christina Shaman and Anakha Arikara, the film was recently selected to be presented at the National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC) Child Welfare Law Conference and the International Society of Family Law 17th World Conference.

Although the full documentary is not available, you can view the trailer here: https://vimeo.com/user105891722, and enjoy the discussion by clicking below.

For more information about the film, visit the Aged and Confused website or email agedandconfusedfilm@gmail.com. Thank you to our co-sponsor, the Redlich Horwitz Foundation for its generous support of our programming.    

Older Youth in the CourtsAged and Confused (Video)

For closed captioning, click the CC button at the bottom right of the video player.

 

 



Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and the Courts

The Third Judicial District Gender Fairness Committee, in conjunction with the NYS Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children, Justice For Orphans and the Redlich Horwitz Foundation (https://www.rhfdn.org/) sponsored a program to address an often undetected issue within the courts and the legal system: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). The virtual program covers the medical, psychological and legal aspects of FASD, and concludes with a panel discussion that includes parents of children diagnosed with prenatal alcohol-induced brain damage, a family court judge, advocates, and a nurse/ attorney who has seen this problem from both a clinical and legal perspective.

The original airing of this program was October 26, 2021. CLE credits are no longer available to viewers. Thank you to our co-sponsors: Albany Law School, Capital District Women's Bar Association, Center for Women in Government & Civil Society, National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and the New York Women's Bar Association.

FASDFetal Alchohol Spectrum Disorders & the Courts (Video)

For closed captioning, click the CC button at the bottom right of the video player.


Materials:

 


Advocacy, Representation, and Hearings in Virtual Family Court

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, in-person court appearances are currently limited and certain cases are proceeding with virtual court appearances. This requires people, including judges, attorneys and litigants, to utilize technology platforms that may be unfamiliar to them.

 


 

Hear MeParticipating in a Virtual Court Appearance via Skype for Business (Video)

Transcript

As the first in a series of programs created by the NYS Unified Court System addressing topics particular to the virtual Family Court setting, this presentation is intended for attorneys, parents, youth, and child welfare agencies/organizations. “Participating in a Virtual Court Appearance Via Skype for Business” answers basic questions about taking part in a court proceeding using Skype such as:

  • How do I know if I need to appear remotely?
  • What do I need to appear remotely?
  • What will I see when I join?
  • How should I present myself?
  • How do I connect when it’s time?

Subsequent programs will dive deeper into the technical details, legal ramifications and practical considerations. This series is being produced because of the generous support of the Redlich Horwitz Foundation.

 


 

Family Court Representation in the Virtual Age Family Court Representation in the Virtual Age (Video)

Transcript

The second program in the series is “Family Court Representation in the Virtual Age”. The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the way in which judges, advocates and litigants address the nuanced issues that arise daily in a Family Court setting. In this program, Albany County Family Court Judge Richard Rivera and Jaya L Connors, the Assistant Professor of Law and Director of Family Violence Litigation Clinic at the Justice Center at Albany Law School, discuss the dynamics, pitfalls and future of virtual representation in the Family Court.

 


 

Family Court in the Virtual Age Family Court in the Virtual Age (Video)

Transcript

The third program in the series is “Family Court in the Virtual Age”.  The vital work of New York’s Family Courts has continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, albeit in a different format.  The recording of a live virtual roundtable discussion addresses the Family Court’s reaction to the pandemic and analyze the implications, both now and in the future, for virtual representation. It features:
* Hon. Edwina Mendelson, Deputy Chief Administrative Judge, Office for Justice Initiatives
* Hon. Craig J. Doran, Administrative Judge, Seventh Judicial District
* Hon. Jeanette Ruiz, Administrative Judge, New York City Family Court
* Henry M. Greenberg, chairman of the Chief Judge’s Commission to Reimagine the Future of the New York Courts.

The program is made possible through the generous assistance of the Redlich Horwitz Foundation (https://www.rhfdn.org/), and implemented in partnership with the Office of Justice Initiatives, the Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children, and the Child Welfare Court Improvement Project.

 


 

Family Court in the Virtual Age Family Courts in the Virtual Age: The Legal, Sociological and Psychological Ramifications (Video)

Transcript

The fourth program in the series is “Family Courts in the Virtual Age: The Legal, Sociological and Psychological Ramifications”. The program examines the ramifications of conducting Family Court matters remotely – what the small body of case law is telling us so far, where the potential appellate issues lie as well as the psychological/ sociological and ultimately legal implications for children and families.

The panelists are:
* Hon. Richard A. Dollinger, Acting Justice, Supreme Court, Seventh Judicial District
* Timothy M. Tippins, Esq., an attorney who has engaged in family law practice since 1975
* Dr. Jeffrey Wittmann, a psychologist who specializes in custody cases

Please note that the CLE credit is not offered for viewing the recorded version of the program. The series is made possible through a generous grant from the Redlich Horwitz Foundation, and implemented in partnership with the Office of Justice Initiatives, the Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children, and the Child Welfare Court Improvement Project.

 


Tips & Tools for Attending Your Permanency Hearing

Produced by the young people in the videoViews from 5 Youth & 2 JudgesYour Permanency Hearing and You (Video)
Transcript

Starring youth who have been in foster care and family court judges, the video describes the permanency hearing court process and gives some tips for youth thinking about attending their permanency hearing.

 


Digital Stories

Hear MeTo ensure the youth voice – the youth perspective – is heard and included in discussions on engaging children and youth in their court proceedings, the Commission working the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, the New York State Court Improvement Project and Youth in Progress, developed digital stories in web-based and DVD formats.

Hear Their Voices

 


Handbook

The Tools for Engaging Children in Their Court ProceedingsThe Tools for Engaging Children in Their Court Proceedings handbook highlights the developmental stages of school-age children (ages 5 to 20 years), provides a series of age-appropriate questions and tips on how to engage children in their court proceedings.

Access the Handbook