About CFR

The Center for Family Representation Inc. (CFR) is an award-winning, innovative law and policy organization that serves primarily Black and Brown families and youth in Queens, Manhattan, and the Bronx with an interdisciplinary legal defense model that serves more than 2400 clients every year. CFR was originally founded in 2002 to dramatically change the trajectory of indigent parents being prosecuted by the City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). Our goal is to defend and protect our clients’ rights, reduce the harm of family separation and prevent or minimize the time any child spends in the foster system. CFR provides interdisciplinary family defense with a model that was unique at our founding and that is now being replicated nationally: we assign every client an attorney and a social work staff member, and teams have the support of parent advocates, who are parents with direct personal experience of being investigated and prosecuted by ACS. CFR was the first agency in the country to integrate parents with lived experience into legal teams and now has 6 parent advocates working in all three of our family defense locations. CFR’s Community Advocacy Project represents parents during a child protective investigation (to avoid court involvement where possible) and assists parents in clearing their names from state maltreatment records.


As an agency committed to securing justice for families, we built the Youth Defense practice (YDP) to defend youth at risk of family separation through incarceration. YDP uses the same interdisciplinary model to represent youth being prosecuted in Queens and Manhattan in Supreme Court Youth Parts, during Probation Adjustment and in Delinquency proceedings in Family Court. CFR’s Home for Good program provides legal and social work services to clients in immigration, civil legal services and criminal defense matters, to afford clients an efficient and well-coordinated one-stop solution to a range of issues that threaten family stability. 


Recognized as experts in our fields, we annually train over 500 practitioners in the city, state and around the country on strategies to promote family preservation and interdisciplinary representation, and we provide community based “Know Your Rights” presentations to parents, youth and service providers. We advocate at the city, state and national level for policies that reduce the harm of family separation, and promote parent engagement and justice for youth and families.

Job Description

Under the supervision and guidance of CFR’s Criminal Defense Supervisor, the Criminal Defense Staff Attorney’s primary responsibility will be to represent clients on their concurrent criminal cases in Criminal and Supreme Court. This position will be based in either Manhattan or Queens however the candidate should expect to appear and represent clients in each borough where CFR is a provider of legal services to indigent parents in Family Court.


The candidate will work collaboratively with clients’ legal teams, composed of attorneys, social work staff, paralegals and parent advocates; clients’ legal teams may involve staff from the family, immigration or housing units.


The candidate should expect to:

  • provide advice and guidance to legal teams on potential criminal issues that arise on clients’ cases;
  • maintain new and evolving criminal defense data in CMS and client legal notes;
  • keep files up to date;
  • keep additional data related to deliverables for private funders supporting the criminal practice and/or to meet with prospective and current funders;
  • and help to inform and grow CFR’s Criminal Defense practice.


  • Candidates for this position should have a minimum of 3 years experience representing indigent clients on misdemeanor and felony matters including representation at arraignments, pre-trial suppression hearings, trials, and sentencing.
  • Applicants who are bilingual in Spanish are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • Applicants should be able to demonstrate strong interpersonal and communication skills, an ability to work as part of a team and a desire to share in both the exhilaration and challenges of a growing endeavor.