Program Director: 914.949.6227 Ext. 128 or 144
Children’s Center Locations:
Westchester Cty. Courthouse | Room 2—175
A welcome alternative to the courtroom.
Recognizing both the need for a “safe haven” for children in the courts and the opportunity to reach out to New York’s most vulnerable children, the Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children spearheaded the creation of a statewide system of Children’s Centers. (Currently, the project is administered by the Division of Court Operations.)
The pioneering initiative began with the observation that hundreds of young children are brought to our courthouses every day because their caregivers have nowhere else to leave them. In courtrooms, children may be exposed to disturbing proceedings. They are invariably a distraction from judicial business. If kept outside the courtrooms, young children may have to endure hours of boredom and discomfort in areas where even their safety may be jeopardized.
Many of the children brought to court with their caregivers are five years or younger, and are not receiving vital services (including early childhood health, educational, and nutritional benefits) to which they are entitled. Children’s Center staff provide the link to needed services and offer the support that may help break the cycle of repeated returns to court.
Who can use the Centers?
Parents/caregivers without alternative child care who are on court business with Family, Civil, Criminal, Supreme, Surrogate, and City Courts.
How are the Centers advertised?
- Signs throughout the building
- Court officers’ referral when adults with children enter the building
- Periodic visits by staff to waiting rooms
- Judge/clerk referral
- Attorney referral
What activities do the Centers offer?
- Arts and crafts
- Puzzles, games
- Computer, Wii
- Resources and referrals to other family services
Who runs the Centers?
The YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester operates the Children’s Centers.