Weekly Round-Up October 13th, 2014

Same-Sex Marriage Legal in 5 More States:

  • The Supreme Court denied certiorari in seven cases from five states in the Fourth, Seventh and Tenth Circuits in which courts had struck down state bans on same-sex marriage, meaning that same sex marriages will be recognized in those states and soon in others. As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision, Indiana, Wisconsin, Utah, Oklahoma, and Virginia will allow same-sex marriage. It is likely that this will affect the courts’ decisions in several other pending lawsuits in the Fourth and Tenth Circuits, which may pave the way for same-sex marriage in: West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Wyoming, Colorado, and Kansas.  As of the date of the Supreme Court’s most recent decision, 19 of the 50 states and the District of Columbia allowed same-sex marriage. To read more about this decision, please read the article written by NYLS professor Arthur S. Leonard, by clicking here.  For more information, click here.


New Traffic Law: Civil Penalties For Hit and Run Drivers

  • New York State law requires an individual who knows or should know that they have been involved in a car accident involving property damage or injury to remain on the scene so that they may give their contact and insurance information to the injured party or police officer. The information that must be provided to the victim or the police officer includes the individual’s name, residence, license number, and insurance information.
  • Currently, if an individual flees the scene of an accident, there is a maximum fine of $5,000 under State law, but imposing this fine is difficult, due to the nature of a hit-and-run.
<Read More>

From Poverty To Opportunity Symposium: Retaining and Engaging High School-Aged Youth in Afterschool Programs

By: Catherine Barreda

From Poverty to Opportunity Symposium Series box Part 2Panelists:

Moderator: Deborah N. Archer, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law, New York Law School

NYLS Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Impact Center for Public Interest Law Co-Director Deborah N. Archer moderated a panel at the “From Poverty to Opportunity” Symposium titled “Retaining and Engaging High School-Aged Youth In Afterschool Programs.” Dean Archer introduced the panel, and the importance of afterschool programs serving as an intervening tool to keep youth engaged in school and to prevent young people from engaging in risky behavior especially during the hours of 3pm-6pm. The objective of this panel was to discuss how the different techniques used by various organizations throughout New York City have proved to be successful at engaging high school-aged young people through fun and innovative afterschool programs. The panel included staff members from several New York City organizations that provide afterschool programs. Each panelist discussed the services provided at his or her organization, and how those services benefit and motivate young people. Please see the summaries below for a description of the key ideas that were shared by each of the panelists.


Lea KixMiller, Program Supervisor, Center for Family Life in Sunset Park (“CFL”), SCO Family Services

Lea KixMiller attributed CFL’s success with teens to both a “diverse and committed staff,” and to the “ladder to leadership” approach taken by the organization.… <Read More>

From Poverty to Opportunity Symposium: Helping Families Advocate for Safe and Adequate Housing

By: Pekhna Singh

From Poverty to Opportunity Symposium Series Part 1

Joanna Sorocki, Program Director at Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council
Michael McGhee, Program Coordinator at the Harlem Community Justice Center, Center for Court Innovation
Kathryn Neilson, Program Director at Legal Services NYC-Bronx
Stephanie Rudolph, Attorney with the Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center

Moderator: Andrew Scherer, Professor at New York Law School

On August 12, 2014, New York Law School hosted a symposium entitled “From Poverty to Opportunity.” This symposium explored a variety of different issues that those plagued by poverty in an urban environment such as New York City face each day, and how non-profit service providers, experts in the legal field, community advocate groups, and other professionals can help.

In the panel entitled “Helping Families Advocate for Safe and Adequate Housing” the panelists briefly described the organizations they work for, cases and issues they deal with often, and the current state of the housing market for those seeking affordable housing.


Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council

Ms. Joanna Sorocki and the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council (RBSCC) primarily represent low-income families, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities in rent stabilized housing in the Ridgewood/Bushwick area of Brooklyn and Queens, New York. She manages a team that canvasses the neighborhood and reports its findings and current housing trends back to her and the organization.

Currently, she and her team have seen that the Bushwick/Ridgewood neighborhoods have been subject to extreme gentrification, and as a result, many low-income families and disabled and elderly people have been forced to leave their homes and relocate because of landlord interference and harassment.… <Read More>

“From Poverty to Opportunity” Symposium Series

From Poverty to Opportunity Symposium Series Intro boxFrom Poverty To Opportunity, a symposium organized by the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) to mark the 50th anniversary of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, took place at New York Law School on August 12, 2014.  DYCD partnered with the New York State Department of State, the New York State Community Action Association (NYSCAA), New York Law School, Modell’s Sporting Goods, and Healthfirst, to discuss ways to overcome and combat poverty.

The program featured experts from a number of non-profit agencies that receive federal Community Services Block Grant funding through DYCD, as well as local, state, and federal government officials.  Panel discussions were grouped thematically into three “tracks’ – Youth Services, Adult Services, and Immigrant Services.  Specific topics included after school programs, housing, health care, job readiness, working with immigrant parents, and services for victims of human trafficking, among others.  More than 300 people attended this all-day event.  The DYCD symposium is one of several different statewide public events that NYSCAA is presenting throughout New York, with each event focusing on poverty and issues that commonly arise out of poverty.

Several NYLS students and contributors to JustFamilies.org attended and reported on different panels that took place during the symposium.  We will be posting articles on the event over the next several weeks as part of a series.

To see the program from the event, please click here.

opening DYCD 1

NYSCAA Chief Executive Officer Karla Digirolamo, Secretary of State Cesar Perales, DYCD Commissioner Bill Chong, and NYLS Dean and President Anthony Crowell.

<Read More>

Weekly Round-up October 6th, 2014

New Reporting Requirements For the Administration For Children’s Services:

  • On September 30, 2014, Mayor De Blasio signed a bill into law changing the kind of information the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) must report about children who are aging out of foster care.
  • Under Local Law 46 of 2014 , ACS will be required to collect and report data in different areas, including but not limited to, housing, education, and immigration status.  The stated purpose of the law is to assist the Council with oversight of ACS’s work in this area.  It will also help to highlight the areas where there need to be policy changes.
  • When reporting on housing, the information ACS will have to report includes the number of individuals being discharged who have received housing assistance such as NYCHA or Section 8, or were reunited with a relative.
  • ACS will also be required to report on education, including the number of youth who: received a high school diploma or equivalent; are in college or trade school; or received a college diploma.
  • ACS will also be required to report on certain immigration outcomes. ACS will have to state the number of current foster youth who may be eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), or other relief, or who have applications pending.  ACS will also have to report on the number of discharged youth who obtained SIJS or lawful permanent resident status.
  • To read the complete law, which details all of the reporting requirements, click here.
<Read More>