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.