2019 Community-Oriented Defender (COD) Network Conference 
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Wednesday, June 5 • 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Attack on the Black Family: How Over-Policing, Over-Surveillance, & Government Overreach/Intervention Destroy the Black Family

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As criminal justice reform attempts to reduce the disproportionate impact that criminalization has on black and brown lives, it is imperative that we also challenge the disproportionate violence that the child welfare system inflicts on black and indigenous families. Similar to the criminal justice system, black and indigenous families are dramatically over-represented in child welfare cases. Involvement in the child welfare system usually leads to families being over-surveilled, under constant fear of separation, and having their familial bonds disrupted and/or severed. When children are placed in foster care, the pain that they experience often leads to emotional distress/trauma and can push them into the juvenile justice and criminal justice systems. This workshop will explore the ways in which families are funneled into this system by examining the many seemingly innocuous ways that the government interjects into their lives. Additionally, we will discuss the ways in which poverty and physical and mental ableism is weaponized against families in the system. Our presentation will reflect on the interconnectedness that occurs between families seeking assistance through public benefits and the over-surveillance of those spaces, the over-abundance and use of mandatory reporters in low-income black and brown communities, and the use of policing and the criminalization of poverty to trigger government intervention into black and brown families.
As advocates, we often get siloed into our own disciplines to the detriment of our clients. It is imperative that advocates take an interdisciplinary approach to their work in order to provide the best representation for their clients. In this context, we hope that advocates will leave with a deeper understanding of the child welfare system and its negative impact on black and brown families. Specific learnings and takeaways will include:
-- a better understanding of the issues and their historical context;
-- the interrelatedness among the criminal justice system, the social welfare system, and the child welfare system;
-- how these issues affect your legal practice; and
-- tools to integrate these issues into a holistic, client-centered model of representation.


Danielle King

Staff Attorney, The Legal Aid Society of New York Criminal Defense Division
Danielle King earned a J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law in 2016, an M.A. in Urban Affairs from CUNY-Queens College in 2012, and a B.A. in English from Michigan State University in 2009. While in law school, Danielle was president of Seton Hall Law’s LGBTQ student group... Read More →

Shushana Tracey

Staff Attorney, The Legal Aid Society of New York Criminal Defense Division
Shushana Tracey is a staff attorney in the Legal Aid Society Juvenile Rights Practice in New York County, New York. Shushana attained her Juris Doctorate from Western New England School of Law in 2015. While at Western New England, Shushana was co-chair of the Elections Committee... Read More →

Shomari Ward

Staff Attorney, The Legal Aid Society of New York Criminal Defense Division
Shomari Ward grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and received his Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at Albany. Shomari worked for years at community-based organizations focusing on youth development before pursuing a career in law. In 2010, Shomari earned his Juris... Read More →

Wednesday June 5, 2019 2:00pm - 3:30pm EDT
Harborview I 2nd Floor

Attendees (8)