Committee on Children and the Law Homepage

  • Committee on Children and the Law-2
    Welcome to the Committee on Children and the Law
  • Committee on Children and the Law-1
    Welcome to the Committee on Children and the Law
  • Committee on Children and the Law-3
    Welcome to the Committee on Children and the Law
  • Annual Meeting Program
    • Annual Meeting Program

      2017 ROBERT J. SCHACK MEMORIAL PROGRAM:
      THE VOICE OF THE CHILDREN


      Friday, January 27, 2017

      9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
      New York Hilton Midtown 

      The voice of the child has been dramatically strengthened in the past ten years.  The law guardian has been reinvented as the attorney for the child in all cases, and involvement of children in their foster care cases has now been legislated.  Judges and lawyers alike have had to learn a radically new approach to the role of the child in Family Court and family law proceedings.  This program will go beyond the recognized right of children to be represented effectively, and to be heard, to consider what wisdom the children can bring to the proceedings, from their unique knowledge and understanding of their circumstances to the developmental limitations of their age, in both child custody and child welfare cases.  The means of input, from in camera interviews and forensic reports to presentation of their cases by their attorneys, will be critically examined.

      Program Agenda: Available Soon

  • About the Committee

    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.

    Ruslander Photo 2015
    Committee Chair:
     Betsy R. Ruslander  

    Committee Mission Statement

  • Howard A. Levine Award

    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 !   

  • Representing Children

    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)