'ESSENCE Black Girl Magic' Episode 6: Meet Public Advocate Letitia James

Letitia James, a long-time public advocate, layouts the inefficiencies that are corroding the system and leaving children neglected, abandoned and abused.

ESSENCE.COM Jan, 23, 2017
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[MUSIC] So the city of New York Administration for Children's Services, which has the jurisdiction over the faster care system, It doesn't actually take care of children. They contract out to all of this agencies And there are a number of agencies that basically get paid to care for children of foster care. Individuals step up who are poorly screened, poorly trained, who are basically only in it for the money. Unfortunately when they're in their care children are abused and neglected. So the Office of Public Advocate, we have a hotline number where anyone can call What we look at is trends. And the trend that we were beginning to notice is the number of complaints against the administration for children services. New York State, we have one of the worst foster care systems. For a very long time, our foster care system has unfortunately failed our children. [MUSIC] What we're suing for is some reforms. We want all of these agencies monitored, and we want some sort of time limit on how long children are in foster care. We also believe that case workers and social workers should be trained, that they're advocates in court. [MUSIC] I've been in government for a very long time. I'm a lawyer by profession. And all I wanna do is improve the lives of others, and that's it. I get my joy from that. That's my reason for living, my raison d'etre. And that fire in my belly is to improve the life, particularly of children. Without a voice. That's why I'm a public advocate in the City of New York. [MUSIC]