Second Chance Project
BFDP’s clients often have neglect cases filed against them for issues related to their poverty, disability, or addiction. In some cases, the petition involves a one time incident of alleged neglect. During the court proceeding, families engage in supportive and rehabilitative services to help them address the challenges they face, such as parenting classes, individual or family therapy, or drug treatment. In many cases, parents consent to a finding of neglect because the court process is so long and difficult and they want their cases to be resolved quickly. Especially for clients who work, or for our many young clients who hope to get a GED or go to college, findings of neglect can interfere with their work opportunities now or in the future. Indicated reports of child neglect are entered in New York’s State Central Registry which is searchable by employers in fields such as child care, teaching, social work and nursing.
After a finding of neglect is entered in family court, the case goes to disposition at which time the court considers what is best for the children. Where children are released to their parents, they can request a “suspended judgment” which means the case will ultimately be dismissed if the parents continue to comply with certain conditions mandated by the Family Court, giving parents the opportunity to have the indicated report removed from their record and improve their future employment prospects. The Second Chance Project helps clients who have completed all their services and have their children home with them to file motions for suspended judgments which will be heard at dispositional hearings. BFDP will refer cases to the law firm generally between 6 to 8 weeks before the motion is needed in court. Associates will have the opportunity to meet with clients and prepare affidavits and affirmations in support of the motion. Associates can also argue the motion in court. BFDP will remain the attorney of record and the assigned attorney will be available and will review all motions before they are filed.