The issue in this case is the Office of Child Protective Services’ decision to file neglect charges against the parents of two teens solely because the teens were in a consensual sexual relationship. In September 2005, when “V.A.” gave birth to her second child, a hospital employee improperly reported her family for child abuse and neglect because she was a minor. The Suffolk County Office of Child Protective Services “substantiated” the report charging her parents, her boyfriend and her boyfriend’s parents with child abuse and inadequate guardianship because she had been sexually active.
After the Office of Children and Families refused to drop the inadequate guardianship charges, the NYCLU Reproductive Rights Project asked OCFS to dismiss the charges on the grounds that the county does not have the right to prosecute parents for child neglect simply because their underage child is sexually active. At a hearing in May 2007, NYCLU attorney Galen Sherwin appeared and argued that the charges had no legal basis. On June 8, 2007, the OCFS Judge agreed that the charges were unsubstantiated and decided to seal all records and dismiss the case.
New York State Office of Children and Family Services (intervenor)