To address the fast-growing and unmanageable caseload in our Family Court system, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Judiciary Committee Chair Helene Weinstein today announced the passage of legislation that would assign 20 new Family Court judgeships in counties throughout the state (A.9754, Weinstein). This would be the first major increase in Family Court judges in over three decades.
"For too long there has been a soaring number of caseloads for the same number of Family Court judges, resulting in severe delays and troubling effects for some of New York's most vulnerable community members," Speaker Silver said. "Children are growing up in and out of foster care, neglectful parents are not being held accountable and troubled youth are missing out on opportunities for a brighter future, being forced instead to spend time in Criminal Court as they age out of Family Court systems. Letting this continue to happen is simply unacceptable. I urge the Senate to join us and act swiftly to increase the number of Family Court judges throughout the state."
"There is tremendous need for more Family Court judges in New York State," Weinstein said. "Today, we are acting provide the State's family justice system with the resources that are much-needed and long-overdue in order to best protect the most vulnerable members of our community. Allocating a greater number of Family Court judges throughout the state is an important step in the right direction to ease the growing burden on our courts and the people tasked with protecting the safety and welfare of countless families and children in need. But if we have any chance at remedying this injustice that New Yorkers and Family Court judges alike are currently facing, the Senate has to act immediately."
The bill calls for nine more judges to be appointed in New York City, effective January 1, 2015. Outside of New York one judgeship each would be allotted in the counties of Albany, Broome, Chautauqua, Erie, Monroe, Nassau, Oneida, Oswego, Schenectady, Suffolk and Westchester, also effective January 1, 2015. Slots for these judgeships would be filled at the November 2014 general election.