The Bronx Defenders – an innovative, progressive, holistic indigent defense office in the South Bronx – seeks a Parent Advocate with a commitment to working alongside parents fighting allegations of child abuse and neglect for the Healthy Parents, Healthy Babies Project. 

The Bronx Defenders is a public defender non-profit that is radically transforming how people of low-income in the Bronx are represented in the legal system, and, in doing so, is transforming the system itself. BxD seeks thoughtful, creative, energetic individuals with a strong commitment to social justice to join our dynamic and diverse staff. Our staff of over 400 includes interdisciplinary teams made up of criminal, civil, immigration, and family defense attorneys, as well as social workers, benefits specialists, legal advocates, parent advocates, investigators, and team administrators, who collaborate to provide holistic advocacy to address the causes and consequences of legal system involvement. Through this integrated, team-based structure, we have developed a groundbreaking, nationally-recognized model of representation called holistic defense that achieves better outcomes for the people we defend.

Each year, we defend more than 20,000 low-income Bronx residents in criminal, civil, family, and immigration cases, and reach thousands more through our community intake, youth mentoring, and outreach programs. Through impact litigation, policy advocacy, and community organizing, we push for systemic change at the local, state, and national levels. We take what we learn from the people we represent and communities we work with and launch innovative initiatives designed to bring about real and lasting change.

Family Defense Practice

The Bronx Defenders’ Family Defense Practice (FDP) provides holistic legal representation and social work support to parents charged with child abuse and neglect who are at risk of losing custody of their children. Our team of attorneys, social workers and advocates are dedicated to fighting alongside parents whose parental rights are in peril while creating long-term solutions for the reunification and stability of families. 

Healthy Parents, Healthy Babies

Healthy Parents, Healthy Babies (HPHB) is a project within the Family Defense Practice that works with pregnant parents and parents with newborns by providing them with holistic defense, advocacy, case management and connection to supportive services. Research shows that early disruptions in bonding with a primary attachment figure can have life-long implications for babies. HPHB works with pregnant parents whose older children have been funneled into the foster system and who are now at risk of having their newborns taken away from them as well. HPHB aims to support pregnant and birthing parents so their babies can remain at home, or when that is not possible due to the system’s involvement, develop plans to preserve the parent-child relationship and minimize the length of stay in the foster system.


Reporting directly to the HPHB Project Director, the Healthy Parents, Healthy Babies Parent Advocate will represent HPHB clients and support the successful implementation of the project. 

● Represent HPHB parents on holistic defense teams including advocating for them in Bronx Family Court, Child Safety Conferences, Family Team Conferences and with community-based programs

● Collaborate with the parents we represent, lawyers, social workers, and other advocates on  interdisciplinary, holistic defense teams that prioritize and center the needs of the parents we defend

● Intervene in moments of crisis for the parents we represent 

● Interview and assess the parents we represent to identify strengths, resources, and needs

● Engage and assess the needs of parents including potential benefits and materials throughout perinatal period

● Connect the parents we represent with a wide variety of social services and benefits, and offer case management support and advocacy

● Accompany parents to appointments to support their needs and ensure seamless access to services

● At the request of parents we represent, visit their homes and treatment providers to meet identified needs

● Assist the parents we represent in identifying their goals, strategizing to meet those goals, and assessing progress

● Maintain and establish relationships with community partners such as doula organizations, attachment-based programs, in-home services, and treatment providers to facilitate partnerships and offer workshops for parents connected to HPHB 

● Provide internal trainings along with Senior HPHB Advocate for staff members on best practices working with pregnant clients and collaborating with social workers and advocates on Family Defense cases

● Collaborate with the Project Director to facilitate external trainings focused on working with pregnant and parenting people facing child protective investigations

● Support the Project Director with HPHB data collection for use in funding proposals and reports

● Provide coverage for Senior Advocate when Senior Advocate is unavailable

● Availability to work flexible hours, including nights and/or weekends and willingness to serve as back up during staff shortages, when available


To be eligible, candidates must have:

● One year of case management/advocacy experience OR

● Minimum of two years of related education or experience

Applicants must demonstrate:

● Commitment to directly defending parents charged with abuse and neglect, and fighting for the reunification and stability of families 

● Understanding of how race and poverty affect parents’ experiences in the family regulation system 

● Commitment to reproductive justice and parenting freedom

● Experience working in and with racially, ethnically and socioeconomically marginalized communities 

● Ability to communicate effectively and respectfully with people of all backgrounds, identities and experiences

● Ability to work well independently as well as collaboratively with an interdisciplinary team of lawyers and non-lawyers

● Commitment to fierce advocacy, and willingness to strategically challenge authority in defense of the people we represent 

● Effective research, writing and advocacy skills 

● Strong analytical skills and capacity to employ non-legal resources in cases 

● Knowledge of early childhood and attachment theory

● Effective crisis intervention skills

● Ability to multitask, maintain order and meet deadlines in a fast-paced, high-stakes environment 

● Meticulous attention to detail 

● Ability to think critically and creatively in fast-paced settings, finding innovative solutions to unique obstacles 

● Ability to receive constructive feedback, demonstrate introspection and shift behavior accordingly

● Ability to exercise excellent judgment, discretion, and confidentiality with sensitive matters

● Commitment to raising one’s cultural consciousness and challenging oppressive practices on an interpersonal and institutional level

Preferred but not required:

● Spanish fluency preferred but not required

Salary is commensurate with experience. For candidates with 1-10 years of directly relevant experience, the salary range for this position would be approximately $52,343-$69,707. Full-time employees are also eligible for a comprehensive benefits package including but not limited to medical, dental and vision coverage; a 403(b) plan with employer contribution; a generous vacation, sick leave, and parental leave policy. More specific information about salary and benefits will be provided when and if an offer is extended.