2013 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Sean Hill

Sean Hill

Name of Host Organization: Youth Represent
City, State: New York, New York
Issue area: Children/Youth
Sponsors: Greenberg Traurig, LLP

The Project

Sean is representing youth aged 24 and under in New York City Family Court proceedings, to facilitate and promote the family stability necessary for successful re-entry, following involvement in the criminal justice system.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
Family support is an essential element of successful re-entry for youth involved in the criminal justice system, yet many family relationships are strained by the emotional and financial toll of justice system involvement. This destabilization frequently manifests itself in family court matters, where youth are frequently unrepresented, and lack the requisite maturity and judgment to effectively advocate for themselves. This project will provide the Family Court representation this youth population needs to remain outside of the criminal justice system.
Highlights to Date: 
In the first year, Sean has:
• Delivered 19 Know-Your-Rights workshops to 107 youth across New York City
• Collaborated with six community-based organizations, including Good Shepherd Services and LIFT, to represent young parents in Family Court
• Successfully advocated for child support orders and modifications reflecting clients’ actual (rather than assumed) income
• Participated in a coalition that convinced state legislators and Governor Cuomo to add 25 more Family Court judges statewide
What's Next: 
In the next year, Sean plans to:
• Ensure, through litigation, the enforcement of laws capping child support arrears for low-income parents
• Establish and strengthen partnerships with community-based organizations to serve a greater number of young parents
• Draft and finalize materials for practitioners serving non-custodial parents in child support proceedings, given the limited number of resources currently available
• Continue direct representation in visitation, custody, and child support proceedings across New York City, to ensure young parents build lasting, meaningful relationships with their children

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