NY: Desperately Needed – Family Court Judges

Following the death of a neglected Brooklyn girl, the staff of New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services expanded in both numbers and skills training.

That was essential, because abuse reports climbed by 30% after people saw the consequences of silence and passing the buck.

But, according to a local editorialist, the biggest problem in the child welfare system persists, unimproved: the city’s family court system.

There are reportedly a mere 47 judges presiding over the city’s family courts.

This handful of judges is charged with overseeing the welfare of countless children, averaging 2,500 cases per judge per year. These judges have about 10 minutes per case to make life-altering decisions regarding children.

And the government and poverty lawyers typically appearing before them in such cases aren’t in much better positions.

The city’s public advocate has recommended that there be created the office of children’s public advocate. Given the monumental size of the city’s child welfare system, this sounds like a long overdue measure.

Read more in this New York Times editorial: Fix the Dysfunctional Family Court.