CHNY is proud to be a member of a variety New York City and State coalitions that advocate for legislative reforms that promote equality, justice and enhanced services for vulnerable and marginalized young people, including those who have experienced human trafficking and homelessness.
These coalition partnerships include:
Brooklyn DA’s Office Human Trafficking Task Force
The Coalition for Homeless Youth
Human Services Council of New York
NYC Coalition on the Continuum of Care
The New York City Youth Justice Coalition
New Yorkers for the Equality Model
The New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition
Supportive Housing Network of New York
New York Transgender Advocacy Group
Although not a part of our primary legislative agenda, we support our coalition partners in their advocacy efforts of these essential reforms to NY State and City law:
S4051 (Bailey) / A4982 (Hevesi)
Ending the Arrest and Prosecution of Children Under 12 as Juvenile Delinquents
New York State sets its minimum age for arrest and prosecution of children as juvenile delinquents at age 7, the second lowest set by statute in the U.S. Children as young as 10 can be detained in secure facilities. Absent legislative reform, children under the age of 12 may be subject to police interrogation, handcuffs and footcuffs, pre-trial detention with older youth, probation, and mandatory confinement in an institution. CHNY agrees with The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine who recommend raising the minimum age of delinquency responsibility to at least 12 years old. We therefore support A4982/S4051 which will end the arrest and prosecution of children under 12 as delinquents and end the use of secure detention for children under 13. Read our Memorandum of Support – Submitted to the NYS Assembly and Senate in March of 2021 – by clicking here.
A5891 (Joyner)/S2800 (Bailey)
Requiring Consultation with Counsel before Police Interrogate Children
Children lack the capacity to fully appreciate the meaning and significance of the right to remain silent, and to appreciate the almost certain repercussions of waiving that right. Yet, current law provides that police may interrogate a child when it is necessary. S.2800 – Bailey / A.5891 – Joyner would clarify that interrogation of a child under age 18 is necessary only when the life and safety of the subject child or another person is in danger. When police determine interrogation is necessary, this bill would require that a youth first consult with counsel before any questioning can take place. Consultation with counsel would be a non-waivable requirement that would exclude any statement taken in violation of the rule from being entered into evidence against the youth. CHNY joins our coalition partners in calling on the New York State Legislature to pass this critical piece of legislation to ensure that children’s Miranda rights are protected and minimize the risk of harm arising from false confessions.
A00081 (Quart)/S5628 (Bailey)
An act to amend the social services law, in relation to criminal history record checks of certain foster youths
A significant number of the young people we serve at CHNY have been involved the child welfare system. Currently, many child welfare programs across the state conduct background checks, including taking fingerprints, for foster care youth who are turning age 18 as a routine matter of practice. Oftentimes, this happens without the consent or knowledge of the foster parent or the young person. A00081/S05628 clarifies that background checks of foster care youth turning age 18 are not mandated. There is no reason that young adults in foster care should be required to undergo criminal background checks simply because they are in foster care. This unnecessary finger printing can add to the criminalization and stigmatization of foster care youth, especially considering that the non-foster care youth in the home do not undergo a background check.
NYC Council Int 2047-2020
A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to prohibiting housing discrimination on the basis of arrest or criminal record
New York City is in the midst of a homelessness crisis. There are thousands of people stuck in the shelter system who have the means to get housing but have been denied access due to a criminal record from a previous conviction. Additionally, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are 14,000 New York City families who have had pending warrants of evictions against them since the start of the eviction moratorium, and hundreds of thousands more who will be at risk of eviction when the moratorium ends. When they go to apply for new housing, the thousands of New Yorkers with conviction records will have one more obstacle stacked against them: a background check.
The cycle of homelessness and incarceration is well-known and well-documented. The ability to have a stable life starts with having stable housing — and research shows that access to housing reduces recidivism. Intro 2047 of 2020 will end discrimination in housing, keep families together, and build strong communities by prohibiting housing discrimination based on a criminal record.
CHNY also supports the following advocacy efforts on the federal level:
End SIJS (Special Immigrant Juvenile Status) Backlog
SIJS is an immigration status that allows children and youth who have survived parental abuse and neglect to apply for lawful permanent residency in the United States. Many of our immigrant youth at CHNY are eligible for this status. SIJS combines special protections of both state child welfare law and humanitarian immigration law to help survivors of trauma attain stability and permanency with as little delay as possible.
However, the wait for SIJS-based green cards now prevents many young people from accessing those tools in a timely and meaningful way. Tens of thousands of SIJS beneficiaries from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras now face a wait of multiple years before they can apply for lawful permanent residence due to annual employment-based visa limits and per-country caps on green cards. These young people are left in limbo, unable to achieve permanency goals and access the protections and stability that SIJS was created to achieve.
While legislative action is necessary to truly eliminate the backlog, common sense solutions exist that can ameliorate many of its negative impacts. CHNY has signed on to this statement that offers several action steps that can be implemented by administrative agencies to mitigate the SIJS backlog’s harmful effects.