Family Court Reform

Simplify the New York Courts

The 2020 NYS Legislative session provides an opportunity to further improve justice for those who seek resolution of their legal matters in the NYS Family Court system. By simplifying the NYS Court system, we seek to advance better accessibility, understanding and trust in the NYS Court system.

Please visit the Simplify the Courts website for more information on the proposal to simplify the NYS courts, and on how to become a member of the coalition.


The New York State Coalition for More Family Court Judges came together five years ago in 2014 to ensure that New York State provide for more resources for Family Courts, including at least 20 more Family Court Judges statewide to provide justice for families. And we were successful! Why? Because of the overwhelming power of more than 100 organizations who joined together and advocated.  The NY Legislature and Governor passed a law that added 25 Family Court Judges to the New York State Courts.

The Coalition advocated for the approval of the Judiciary’s budget request and amending the Family Court Act to add more Family Court Judges will help provide more timely access to justice for New York’s children and families.

Thank you!

These Were the Members of the Coalition for More Family Court Judges!

  1. Vivian Fox, President, 1199 Child Care Corporation
  2. Assigned Counsel/Attorney for Children Panel, Kings County Family Court
  3. Association of the Assigned Counsel of Queens Family Court
  4. Bronx County Bar Association
  5. Bronx Defenders
  6. Bronx Family Court Bar Association
  7. Brooklyn Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project
  8. Brooklyn Defender Services
  9. CASA of Rockland County, Inc.
  10. CASA of the Southern Tier, Inc.
  11. CASA-NYC
  12. CASA-NYS
  13. Center for Community Justice
  14. Center for Family Representation
  15. Child & Family Services
  16. Child and Family Services Haven House
  17. Children’s Defense Fund – New York
  18. The Children’s Law Center
  19. Child Welfare Organizing Project
  20. Child Welfare Services, Westchester Institute for Human Development
  21. The Children’s Agenda
  22. The Children’s Aid Society
  23. Children’s Rights
  24. Citizens’ Committee for Children
  25. Committee for Hispanic Children and Families
  26. The Committee for Modern Courts
  27. Correctional Association of New York
  28. Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies
  29. Courts in Crisis
  30. Day One
  31. The Door
  32. Empire Justice Center
  33. Episcopal Social Services of New York
  34. Equinox
  35. Erie County Coalition Against Family Violence
  36. Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies
  37. Forestdale, Inc.
  38. Good Shepherd Services
  39. Graham Windham
  40. Haitian American Lawyers Association of New York, Inc. (HALANY)
  41. Her Justice
  42. Hiscock Legal Aid Society
  43. Hope’s Door
  44. Human Services Council
  45. Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services
  46. Jewish Child Care Association
  47. Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York
  48. Lawyers For Children
  49. League of Women Voters of Broome and Tioga Counties
  50. League of Women Voters of the City of New York
  51. League of Women Voters of New York State (LWVNYS)
  52. League of Women Voters of Schenectady County
  53. League of Women Voters of Smithtown (Suffolk County)
  54. Leake and Watts
  55. The Legal Aid Society of New York
  56. Legal Information for Families Today
  57. The Legal Project
  58. Legal Services for the Elderly, Disabled or Disadvantaged of Western NY, Inc.
  59. The Lineage Project
  60. Long Islanders for Youth (LIFY)
  61. Mediation Matters
  62. MercyFirst
  63. MFY Legal Services
  64. National Center for Access to Justice
  65. The Network of Bar Leaders
  66. New York Asian Women’s Center
  67. New York Center for Juvenile Justice
  68. New York City Anti-Violence Project
  69. New York City Council General Welfare Chair, Stephen Levin
  70. New York Foundling
  71. New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG)
  72. New York State Citizens’ Coalition to Children
  73. New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NYSCADV)
  74. New York State Court Officers Association
  75. New York State LGBTQ Domestic Violence Network
  76. New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children
  77. Northern Manhattan Improvement Corp.
  78. NYU Family Defense Clinic
  79. The Osborne Association
  80. Pace Women’s Justice Center
  82. RISE – Broome County
  83. Safe Horizon
  84. Safe Space NYC
  85. St. Catherine’s Center for Children
  86. The Safe Center LI, Inc.
  87. Sanctuary for Families
  88. Sauti Yetu Center for African Women
  89. Schenectady Community Action Program, Inc.
  90. Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy (SCAA)
  91. Sepa Mujer
  92. Staten Island Women’s Bar Association
  93. United Neighborhood Houses
  94. Unity House of Troy, Inc.
  95. Urban Justice Center, Domestic Violence Project
  96. Treat Me Right, Inc.
  97. Vanderheyden
  98. Vera House, Inc.
  99. VIBS Family Violence & Rape Crisis Center
  100. Violence Intervention Program, Inc.
  101. Voices of Women Organizing Project (VOW)
  102. Volunteer Lawyers Project of Onondaga County, Inc.
  103. Volunteer Legal Services Project of Monroe County, Inc.
  104. The Washbourne House
  105. Westchester Children’s Association
  106. Western New York Law Center
  107. Worker Justice Center of New York, Inc.
  108. You Gotta Believe!
  109. Youth Represent
  110. YWCA of Northeastern New York

To join, go to our contact page and put in the subject line “Add my organization to the Coalition” or “We’d like more information on the Coalition.”

Modern Courts’ Family Court Task Force

Modern Courts’ Family Court Task Force issued a report to the Chief Judge of the State of New York calling for the major reforms to the Family Court in New York. The Family Court faces an ongoing crisis and emergency. This is especially true during unprecedented negative economic conditions that will further flood the already inadequate resources of Family Court. This Call to Action outlines recommended reforms that, when grounded upon strong leadership, can begin to deliver quality justice in a timely fashion to the families seeking relief in the Family Court.

The Task Force offers recommendations in the following areas:

  • Administrative leadership
  • Allocation of judicial resources
  • Courtroom control and case management
  • Judicial education and support
  • Resources for litigants and technological solutions

Read the Report:

A Call To Action: The Crisis in Family Court

A Report to the Chief Judge
Recommendations for Leadership and Reform

Read the Family Court Help Center Report (white paper):

Improving Family Help Centers in Family Court

Equal access is a cornerstone principle of our judicial system. In New York Family Courts, where more than 80 percent of litigants proceed without counsel, that principle is at risk. Unrepresented litigants are often overwhelmed by legal complexities and procedural hurdles. Court staffs are not prepared (or, sometimes, permitted) to provide the assistance litigants may need. Given the critical importance of the issues addressed in Family Court, unrepresented litigants are in dire need of support.

This report examines the challenges faced by unrepresented litigants and the valuable role that help centers play in ensuring that such litigants can effectively advocate for their interests and the interests of their families and children. Broadly defined, help centers are operational systems that assist unrepresented litigants in navigating the court system.

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