Professor Cynthia Godsoe was quoted extensively in a New York Times article about family courts, which have become notorious in recent years for long delays, soaring caseloads, and a flat supply of judges.
The strain is so severe that children often remain in foster care far longer than is needed, child welfare advocates say. And while the new state budget provided funding to add 20 new family court judges, regional squabbles threaten to jeopardize plans.
“We’re talking about ‘do you ever see your children again’ type decisions,” said Professor Godsoe, a former lawyer for children and youths.
Problems with family courts have long been ignored, she added, because the affected families are overwhelmingly black and Hispanic and many of them live in poverty. Divorce cases, which encompass a broader population, are handled by the better-staffed State Supreme Court.
“Family court is really the poor people’s court,” Professor Godsoe said. “If you had legislators who had to wait a million years to get their divorce through, this wouldn’t happen.”