By Elizabeth Keogh
May 07, 2019
A New York State appeals court Tuesday ruled against a longstanding city practice of issuing arrest warrants for children who run away from foster homes.
For decades, New York City Administration for Children’s Services sought arrest warrants from New York’s Family Court for kids who left either household foster care, or ACS-run foster care.
In 2018, the Legal Aid Society filed a challenge to the policy, arguing the warrants were both unlawful and could cause long-term damage to youngsters who’d been targeted as criminals. Legal Aid Society lawyers hailed the decision.
“This long running and unlawful practice that criminalized our young clients and others in foster care is finally no more,” lawyer Dawne Mitchell said in a statement. “This decision recognizes that trauma inflicted on youth when the police are involved and an unnecessary arrest is made."
According to Legal Aid, ACS admitted in 2015 the policy had “negative unintended consequences," yet continued to implement the policy.
“Today’s decision ends a decades-old policy that criminalizes runaway foster children and alienates traumatized youth in foster care from their casework and clinical teams," another Legal Aid Society lawyer, Israel Appel, said in a statement. "The Court recognized that victimized children should not be treated as criminals,”