As the state budget deadline approaches, the New York State Bar Association urges lawmakers to consider how the lives of thousands of children are affected by a shortage of Family Court judges, who hear cases about child abuse, adoption, foster care, paternity, financial support and custody.
“Sadly, children’s lives are put on hold while too few judges struggle with burgeoning caseloads,” said State Bar President David M. Schraver of Rochester (Nixon Peabody). "A six-month delay in resolving legal matters involving custody, foster care or adoption can put a vulnerable child at further risk, while also putting additional strain on the child welfare and court systems.“
“Increasing the number of Family Court judges is a top priority of the New York State Bar Association,” he added. “Our Task Force on Family Court documented the need for additional judges in its January 2013 report.”
In his budget request in December, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman called for the creation of 20 new Family Court judgeships.
The 35-member Task Force on Family Court was chaired by Susan B. Lindenauer, retired general counsel for The Legal Aid Society in New York City, and Broome County Family Court Judge Rita Connerton. The report of the task force, which was created by former State Bar President Stephen P. Younger, is available at www.nysba.org/substantivereports
The 75,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.
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