Legal Advocacy

Legal Advocacy Center

Our Legal Advocacy Center is an important aspect of program services at Covenant House New York.  Our advocacy efforts play a key role in providing a voice for runaway, homeless and at-risk youth.  We are dedicated to building a better system of support for young people and a better understanding of their needs and the problems they face.  

We provide direct Legal Services to our young people through our team of in-house attorneys, referrals to outside service providers and private pro bono attorneys, and with our partnering law students and legal clinics.  We also coordinate closely with Covenant House’s case managers who are trained to identify potential legal issues and make referrals to our legal team.

The primary objective of our advocacy work is to craft a comprehensive agenda that includes proposing solutions for addressing the issues that adversely affect homeless, exploited, and trafficked youth.  Examples include: Increasing in funding for homeless youth and mental health services; proposing and influencing anti-trafficking policies and initiatives; partnering with government agencies to develop strategies and policies for better serving our youth and increasing the age of Criminal Responsibility in New York State.

The best way to address the legal issues that may impede our young people’s progress and road to success is to prevent them from occurring and/or to deal with them before they become overwhelming.  We present detailed “Know Your Rights” workshops for our young people as well as a comprehensive series of legal and policy workshops for our staff so that they are better equipped to identify the potential legal issues facing our young people.  We also collaborate with research partners to help us better understand the issues affecting our youth, such as human trafficking.  

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