Committee on Children and the Law

Committee Chair: Betsy R. Ruslander 

The Committee on Children and the Law is renders information and guidance to the Executive Committee, the legal community and the public on the effect of existing laws and pending legislation impacting children, and the administration of juvenile justice and child welfare. 

In furthering its mission, the Committee examines, studies and provides comment and reports on legal issues related to the rights and interests of children, in particular those involved in court proceedings; formulates and, with the approval of the Executive Committee, publishes practice standards for attorneys representing children in New York and periodically revises these standards so as to keep them current with the development of the law; drafts and promotes original legislation which it believes is necessary or useful to the rights and interests of children; develops, coordinates and conducts continuing educational programs; and recognizes contributions to the areas of juvenile justice and child welfare.


HOWARD A. LEVINE AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN JUVENILE JUSTICE AND CHILD WELFARE AWARD

The New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Children and the Law each year presents the Howard A. Levine Award for Excellence in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare to recognize individuals who have done outstanding work to improve New York's child welfare and juvenile justice systems. The Committee on Children and the Law created the award in 1986. It is named for retired Court of Appeals Judge Howard A. Levine (Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP), who was the first chair of what was then called the Special Committee on Juvenile Justice. He has been and continues to be a strong proponent and leader in the effort to improve New York ’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

James J. LeCain and Kathleen R. DeCataldo, Esq. have been honored with the 2016 Howard A. Levine Award for Excellence in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare. The award, presented on May 4, 2016 at the State Bar Center in Albany, recognized the vital services of lawyers and non-lawyers who have done outstanding work to improve New York’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems. 

Mr. LeCain started the national program, We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution in the Brookwood Secure Center high school program in 2008. After two successful years at the high school level, We the People was introduced in the Brookwood College Program.  He has also served as a judge for regional and state level competitions for six years.  Ms. DeCataldo is the Executive Director of the New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children where she is responsible for developing and implementing the work of the Commission which aims to improve the lives and life chances of children involved in the court system. Responding to emerging child welfare, juvenile justice and related health, education and other wellbeing issues, Ms. DeCataldo is responsible for the development of materials, training aids, trainings and conferences to enhance judicial and other professionals’ knowledge and understanding of the issues as a means to better serve children involved with the court system.

Nominations are being accepted for the 2017 Howard A. Levine Award for Excellence in Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare sponsored by the New York State Bar Association Committee on Children and the Law. Awards will be presented at a ceremony at the State Bar Center in the spring in 2017. 

For more information about the Howard A. Levine Award and nomination information, click here.

DeCataldo_jpg
Award winner Kathleen DeCataldo 
LeCain_jpg
Award winner James J. LeCain 
  
Winners_jpg
Hon. Howard A. Levine, Kathleen DeCataldo, Children
and the Law Committee Chair Betsy R. Ruslander,
and James J. LeCain
  
You can find more pictures of the
2016 Levine Award Ceremony here



Standards for Attorneys Representing Children in NEW YORK

Standards for representing children were initially developed for a New York State Bar Association Law Guardian Study in 1984 (Law Guardians in New York State: A Study of the Legal Representation of Children). Subsequently, the Committee on Children and the Law (formerly known as the Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Committee) concluded that Bar Association adoption and distribution of the standards would prove beneficial to the bench and bar. The preparation of standards and commentaries represent an important aspect in improving representation, and in assisting the large number of attorneys who appear before the Family Court. 

Links to the revised and updated standards are listed below:
Standards for Attorneys Representing Children in New York Combined File (2015) (170 pages)
Standards for Attorneys Representing Children in Adoption Proceedings (2015) (29 pages)
Standards for Attorneys Representing Children in Child Protective, Foster Care, Destitute Child and Termination of Parental Rights Proceedings (2015) (35 pages)
Standards for Attorneys Representing Children in Custody, Visitation and Guardianship Proceedings  (2015) (31 pages)
Standards for Attorneys Representing Children in Juvenile Delinquency Proceedings (2015) (44 pages)
Standards for Attorneys Representing Children in Person in Need of Supervision Proceedings (2015) (23 pages)


NYSBA COMMITTEE ON CHILDREN AND THE LAW CHILD SUPPORT PAMPHLET

Download a free copy of the Child Support Pamphlet
To order copies of the NYSBA Child Support Pamphlet, click here.

For more information about the Committee on Children and the Law contact Katherine Suchocki, Staff Liaison to the Committee at ksuchocki@nysba.org or 518-487-5590.