CHILDREN'S RIGHTS INC

Protecting Kids. Providing Hope.

New York, NY   |  http://www.childrensrights.org

Mission

Protecting Kids. Providing Hope. About Children’s Rights Every day, children are harmed by America’s broken child welfare, juvenile justice, education, and healthcare systems. Through relentless strategic advocacy and legal action, we hold governments accountable for keeping kids safe and healthy. Children’s Rights has made a lasting impact, protecting hundreds of thousands of vulnerable children and we are poised to help millions more. They are depending on us…and you.

Ruling year info

1995

Executive Director

Mr. Sandy Santana Esq.

Main address

88 Pine Street #800

New York, NY 10005 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

13-3801864

NTEE code info

Civil Rights, Advocacy for Specific Groups (R20)

Civil Rights, Social Action, and Advocacy N.E.C. (R99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Every day, children are harmed by America's broken child welfare, juvenile justice, education, and healthcare systems. Through relentless strategic advocacy and legal action, we hold governments accountable for keeping kids safe and healthy. Children's Rights has made a lasting impact, protecting millions of vulnerable children and we are poised to help millions more. They are depending on us…and you.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Legal Advocacy

Following in the tradition of the civil rights organizations that have driven every major social justice movement in our nation’s history, we have developed our own highly effective model for compelling reform of failing child welfare systems, using litigation to protect the constitutional rights of a population—abused and neglected children—that lacks the means to defend itself.
We go to court to establish the rights of children to be protected from maltreatment and raised in safe, healthy, permanent homes—and to secure court orders mandating top-to-bottom reform of the child welfare systems that violate these rights. Our legal campaigns force open the doors of systems that lack the transparency and accountability necessary to identify and fix problems that often have plagued them for years.
Once we have gained access to the courts and to the information we need to build our case, our goal shifts to negotiating detailed reform plans based on the best and most current thinking in child welfare policy and practice—and designed to bring about drastically better results for children in state custody and at risk of being placed in state custody.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
Children and youth

Our policy staff works with our legal teams at various stages of our reform campaigns, zeroing in on fundamental problems within troubled child welfare systems and proposing potential solutions. All of our policy recommendations are based on thorough research into best practices nationwide, helping us identify the strategies most likely to produce the best results for children.
We also complement our legal campaigns with advocacy at the national, state, and local levels, conducting studies and periodically issuing major reports designed to show how better public policy can bring about big improvements in the lives of our nation’s abused and neglected children.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work

Awards

Hero Award 2020

Impact Fund

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of abused and neglected children served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth

Related Program

Legal Advocacy

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Number of abused and neglected children whose lives and care is impacted by Children's Rights' advocacy

Dollars donated to support advocacy efforts

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth

Related Program

Legal Advocacy

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Context Notes

2016's significant increase reflects an in-kind donation of $14.6M in public service announcements. In 2017, an in-kind donation of $3.3M in public service announcements was received.

Number of press releases developed and distributed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

In each failing child-serving system of care in which Children’s Rights is involved, the organization’s goal is for that system to function as it is intended: as a time-limited and positive intervention in a child’s life that results in that child achieving safety, well-being and a permanent home. To that end, Children’s Rights’ campaigns pursue improvements across many areas, so that children experience:

• Greater likelihood of safe reunification with families;
• More just and racially equitable systems of care;
• Better access to appropriate treatment, education and health care;
• Enhanced safety and well-being for LGBTQ+ youth in out-of-home care;
• Better conditions and treatment for unaccompanied immigrant minors;
• Higher likelihood that kids in juvenile justice systems are treated with dignity and humanity;
• Lower likelihood of being abused while in state care;
• Fewer moves from foster home to foster home while in foster care;
• Fewer temporary and institutional/congregate care placements;
• Greater availability of well-supported foster homes;
• Greater likelihood of being placed with siblings while in foster care;
• Shorter stays in foster care; and
• Better trained caseworkers with more time to devote to individual children.

The results of Children's Rights' advocacy are measurable. For example, when we brought our reform campaign in Tennessee, children were routinely warehoused in emergency shelters and holding facilities for upwards of six months at a time; today, shelter use has ended. The number of annual adoptions increased from 425 in 2000, to between 1,105 and 1,223 per year between 2012 and 2016, addressing the state's longstanding difficulties placing children in adoptive homes. The percent of children in state custody for more than two years has been reduced by a third, and the number of children placed in 10 or more foster placements while in state custody—a terrible trauma for children already removed from their homes—was reduced from 23% of the child population in 2000 (over 2,000 children) to 1% of children in care today.

Following in the long tradition of the civil rights organizations that have advanced major social justice movements in the United States, Children's Rights has developed a highly effective model for compelling reform that uses litigation to establish children's constitutional rights to be protected from maltreatment and raised in safe, healthy, permanent homes. We work with local child advocates and thoroughly investigate state and county child welfare systems when it becomes apparent that they are putting children at risk of abuse or neglect. We then take legal action to force system-wide reform, building cases that document the problems, bring them to public attention and recommend ways to fix them. Children's Rights establishes court-enforceable performance standards and then monitors, works with and pressures the systems for as long as it takes to ensure that reform is achieved.

An investment in Children's Rights yields multiplied returns. Our reform campaigns prompt states to invest far greater financial resources in their child welfare agencies. Nationwide, our campaigns have secured billions of dollars in additional child welfare funding and initiated improvements to ensure that those funds are spent more effectively to help abused and neglected children. Furthermore, a child welfare system that does not cause additional harm to children will save taxpayers countless dollars, because children who grow up without permanent families are more likely to strain public systems as adults—from public health care and unemployment benefits to prison systems and homeless services. In contrast, children who receive the care and support they deserve are likely to lead more productive and fulfilling lives. Every dollar contributed to our campaigns translates into $100 of new state investments in effective, efficient improvements in child welfare systems.

Children’s Rights is a nationally recognized systems change leader with 25 years of experience. We have won more than 90% of our cases against dysfunctional child welfare systems and secured an additional $3 billion in state funding for the protection and care of vulnerable children. Transparency and accountability measures are embedded in all of our reforms. Since our founding in 1995, we have secured court orders mandating top-to-bottom child welfare reform in over a dozen jurisdictions, including Arizona, Connecticut, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, metro Atlanta, Milwaukee and Washington D.C. With a staff of approximately 36 fulltime employees, a lean, resourceful and experienced team drives reforms of complex systems in multiple states.

Children's Rights' leadership includes:

Sandy Santana, Executive Director, joined Children's Rights as Chief Operating Officer in 2012 and became Executive Director in 2015. From 2006 to 2012, Mr. Santana served as Managing Director and General Counsel of Legal Outreach, a law-related college prep organization. Prior, he served as a corporate associate at Goodwin Procter LLP (2004-2006) and in the New York office of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP (2001-2004).

Ira Lustbader, Chief Program Officer, has been with Children's Rights since 1999, and is involved in overall organizational management, the direction of Children's Rights' national program of campaigns to reform failing child welfare systems, and the development of national partnerships and coalitions. Prior to joining Children's Rights, Mr. Lustbader practiced law at Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz, LLP. Mr Lustbader is currently a Member of the leadership of the Children's Rights Litigation Committee of the Section on Litigation of the American Bar Association, the National Lawyers Guild, and the National Association of Counsel for Children.

Samantha Bartosz, Deputy Director of Litigation Strategy, joined Children's Rights in December 2003 following 17 years of law practice. She served as General Counsel at the Office of Administration within the Executive Office of the President during the second term of President William Jefferson Clinton, where she provided counsel to senior White House officials and represented the Executive Office of the President in a wide range of congressional, independent counsel and Justice Department investigations. Prior to joining the Clinton Administration, Ms. Bartosz was a partner at Cahill, Christian & Kunkle Ltd.

Adriana Pezzulli, Chief Development Officer, joined Children’s Rights in 2017. For seventeen years she was the Director of Development for NYC’s Lower Eastside Girls Club, a national leader in youth and community development. During her tenure, Ms. Pezzulli created and spearheaded the organization’s individual, corporate, and foundation giving programs.

Children's Rights' legal campaigns have proven uniquely effective at producing change in otherwise intractable, poorly-performing child welfare systems that lack the transparency, accountability, leadership and resources necessary to identify and fix problems that often have plagued them for many years. Thanks to Children's Rights:

• In Milwaukee, fewer children languish in state care. In 2003, 44% of children remained in state custody for at least two years; by 2016, 86% of children spent less than 24 months in state care. The rate at which children were abused and neglected in foster care was reduced tenfold between 2000 and 2014, and allegations of maltreatment, which used to sit for months, are now referred and investigated within days.

• Connecticut decreased the number of institutionalized children aged 12 and younger by 93%, from 201 children in 2011 to 14 in 2020. Congregate care has been completely eliminated for children 5 and under. The state has also reduced 15-fold the number of children maltreated while in state custody.

• The use of a brutal torture device called “the wrap” has been eliminated at the Iowa Boys State Training School. We also brought an end to the use of windowless solitary confinement cells and ensured that youth have access to trained mental health counselors.

• Our Putting Children First COVID-19 Command Center distilled our most useful COVID learnings into child-focused solutions to pandemic-related policy questions. Our Command Center’s recommendations met a desperate community need; they were widely available to child welfare systems and crafted with COVID’s disproportionate impact on children of color in mind.

Our 2021-2022 docket includes an ambitious array of four class action cases in active litigation, five investigations, seven major advocacy projects, and thanks to a remarkable string of victories for kids, we are monitoring reforms as counsel for thousands of children in eleven states. We also expect to file suit in at least two more states by the end of the year.

We are also beginning work to reduce the child welfare system’s reliance on congregate care, and dismantle the policies and practices that subject Black families across the U.S. to unjust scrutiny, surveillance, and separation. In late March 2021, Children’s Rights released, “Fighting Institutional Racism in the Front End of Child Welfare Systems: A Call to Action to End the Unjust, Unnecessary, and Disproportionate Removal of Black Children from their Families”. This Call to Action builds on our “Families Over Facilities” report and describes the racist underpinnings of the child welfare system’s so-called, “front-end”. The report proposes legal strategies with the potential to make the child welfare system more racially equitable.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Children's Rights provides advocacy for children in the child welfare system.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Children’s Rights’ work is community-centered and relies heavily on the experiences and viewpoints of local stakeholders who are most closely involved with a particular child welfare system. We adjust our advocacy in response to feedback from the communities we serve. For example, in Texas, Children’s Rights’ staff met with several hundred foster parents, former foster children, birth parents, school officials, juvenile court judges, attorneys involved in child welfare cases, CASA advocates, health care providers, and social workers, among others, to determine how best to achieve badly needed systemic reforms. The decision to file a federal civil rights lawsuit against the state of Texas (rather than pursue non-litigation advocacy) was made in cooperation with our local partners.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Children’s Rights works to ensure long-term, sustainable civil rights protections for children by empowering those with lived experience to have a voice in the reform process, with the eventual goal of making our involvement unnecessary. In Kansas, for example, we recently finalized a settlement agreement with the state which will bring sweeping improvements to the child welfare system. Not only was the decision to litigate made in partnership with stakeholders, but Children’s Rights embedded a requirement that stakeholders, including foster care providers, relative care providers, parents, and youth who are or have experienced foster care placements, be included in an independent advisory group that will inform program improvements and shape the implementation of child welfare reforms.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    other,

Financials

CHILDREN'S RIGHTS INC
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

CHILDREN'S RIGHTS INC

Board of directors
as of 09/20/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Daniel Galpern

TZP Group LLC

Alan C. Myers

Dean Investments

Daniel H. Galpern

TZP Group, LLC

Bethany Pristaw

Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners Real Estate Fund of Funds group

Kasseem ‘Swizz Beatz’ Dean

Artist/Producer

James Stanton

The World Wide Group

Megan Shattuck

Teneo Talent

Lewis Tepper

Aston Partners, LLC

Peter Serating

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Molly Gochman

Commune, LP

Chiara Mai

Self-employed

Anne Robinson

Vanguard

Jay Neukom

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Leigh Farris

Carlyle Group

Lawanna Kimbro

Stardust, LP

A. Korchin

Therium Capital Management

Steve Wanner

Ernst & Young

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 8/18/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 08/25/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.