Weekly Round-Up: January 31st, 2014


~Adoption was ruled “neither necessary nor available” for a lesbian mother of a child, who was married to the biological mother at the time of the child’s birth, and who wished to make her legal relationship to her child more secure. While the legal relationship to the child is recognized in New York the couple is concerned about what will happen if they travel to a state where same-sex marriage is not recognized. The decision states that since the non-biological mother is listed on the birth certificate and the women were married at the time of the child’s birth, adoption is not an option for the family.  For an article discussing the case, please click here. (NYTimes) The case can be found here. (New York Law Journal)


~Mayor de Blasio released his plan for implementing universal pre-k in New York City.  As he has previously stated, this plan would be funded by a new personal income tax on New York City’s top earners.  Despite his plan and resolve, Mayor de Blasio must now rely on New York State government to approve a measure to raise personal income taxes.  Governor Cuomo in his recent State of the State echoed his desire for universal pre-k but stated that it should be instituted statewide through other measures that do not require a raise in personal income tax.  For the City’s announcement of the plan, please click here. (NYC.gov)

State of the Union

~President Obama gave his State of the Union address earlier this week.  <Read More>

Because I’m 16

In his State of the State Address, Governor Cuomo announced the establishment of the Commission on Youth, Public Safety & Justice.  This Commission will be responsible for developing recommendations on how to better aid youth in the juvenile justice system in addition to creating a road map on how to raise the age.  The Raise the Age Initiative has been gaining momentum over the past year.  The New York Center for Juvenile Justice, with the help of its Juvenile Justice Academy and Director TJ Parsell, Executive Director of the Campaign for Responsible Justice, collaborated on a short video to build awareness for the Raise the Age Initiative.  The video is entitled, Because I’m 16.… <Read More>

New York State of the State 2014

This past week, Governor Cuomo gave his annual State of the State address.  In this address, among other things, Governor Cuomo gave remarks regarding education, juvenile justice, and women’s equality.  Below is a brief summary of a few of these items.   Here is the speechtext, and accompanying book expanding on his presentation.  For direct links to relevant sections of the book, please click on the section titles below.


One of the more anticipated issues that the Governor addressed was Universal Full-Day Pre-K throughout the State.  New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called for universal pre-k in New York City as a major part of his mayoral platform.  However, de Blasio’s plan of universal pre-k would be reliant on the New York legislature and Governor Cuomo.  Governor Cuomo stated that he believed that now is the time to expand full day universal pre-k throughout the State for all children.  Though the Governor agreed that now is the time for universal pre-k, the funding mechanism may differ from Mayor de Blasio’s plan.

Governor Cuomo discussed adding a 2 billion dollar “Smart Schools” bond referendum aimed at creating state-of-the-art classrooms and adding technology to schools.  In his speech, the Governor addressed the technology disparities in schools throughout the state where he remarked that some schools have tablets and high-speed internet while for others the most high-tech equipment are the metal detectors that students walk through when entering school.

Juvenile Justice

Another issue that was discussed is New York’s Juvenile Justice System.  … <Read More>

Welcome to the New Year

Welcome to the New Year with JustFamilies.org.  Here are some news highlights from recent weeks.

New Mayor for NYC

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s inaugural speech took place on New Year’s Day.  Mayor de Blasio reiterated his desire to enact universal pre-k for New Yorkers.  To view Mayor de Blasio’s inaugural speech and the full text, please click here.

Mayoral Appointments

Mayor de Blasio has announced many of his political appointments in the past few weeks.  Below are some key appointments that affect New York’s Family Law Community.  For a complete list of Mayor de Blasio’s appointments thus far, please click here. (DecideNYC)

Invisible Child

The New York Times recently published a series that profiles a young homeless New Yorker, Dasani, and her family entitled “Invisible Child.” Since its publication, the story of Dasani and her struggles in New York City’s homeless shelters has reverberated throughout the city.  The series brings to life the conditions at the City’s Auburn Shelter and the experiences of homeless children.  Please click here to view the New York Times publication. (The New York Times)


California students have filed a complaint against the State of California for “ineffective teachers and quality of public education.”  The trial is set to begin on January 27.  Mainly, the students’ aim is to change State laws that allow teachers to receive “permanent employment” after 18 months and also the “Last-in, First Out” statute.  … <Read More>