New York Assistance Programs

New York has ongoing efforts to support judicial families through our Work/Life Assistance Program and through the statewide Lawyer Assistance Trust.

The New York State Unified Court System's Work/Life Assistance Program offers services through an independent professional counseling service to employees and their families who may be contending with personal problems or require assistance with care for a child or an adult relative. This program is voluntary and confidential to the fullest extent permitted by law. Judges, court personnel and their family members may contact the counseling service directly at no cost through a toll-free number, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service is staffed with professionals skilled in counseling, clinical psychology and social work who are knowledgeable about the benefits available through the Court System and will help identify or clarify the problem and suggest alternative solutions.

The New York State Lawyer Assistance Trust, now in its second year, was established by Chief Judge Kaye and the New York State Court of Appeals to bring statewide resources and awareness to the prevention and treatment of alcohol and substance abuse among judges, lawyers, law faculty and students. Through its innovative grant program, the Trust has provided financial support to statewide and local lawyer assistance programs, which, in turn, provide services to members of the legal profession and their families who are experiencing problems with alcohol and/or drugs. These programs offer free, confidential assistance to identify the problem, identify the appropriate resources and begin the recovery process. Use of lawyer assistance services is strictly confidential under Judiciary Law section 499. The Lawyer Assistance Trust also provides educational programs on alcohol and substance abuse, depression and other stressors on judges, lawyers and their families.

In addition to these ongoing programs, the court system regularly engages in efforts that respond to particular needs of judges, court employees, and judicial families. For example, in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks, the New York State Unified Court System established, in cooperation with the Fund for the City of New York, a special "Court Families Assistance Fund" to aid court system employees and their families who have been affected by the World Trade Center disaster.