Noted Brooklyn child attorney Michael Scherz was recently named as a member of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Forensic Custody Evaluations.
The Commission is responsible for providing recommendations regarding how Forensic custody evaluations should be used in the New York State court system. It is expected to improve the child custody process by helping to improve the fairness and transparency of the family court system.
Scherz is the Director of the Domestic Violence Project at Lawyers for Children. He is responsible for a collaborative interdisciplinary team representing children in custody, visitation, family offense, child protective, matrimonial, and related proceedings. He also previously served as Senior Litigation Counsel.
“Family Court judges are responsible for making decisions that often have life-altering impacts on the individuals who appear before them,” Cuomo said. “It is critical that judges have the most comprehensive, reliable information on which to base those decisions, especially when it comes to determining the best environment for a child.”
Under the current system, forensic evaluations there is limited instruction when it comes to who may act as a forensic evaluator or how the evaluations should be performed. The evaluations are used in the state court system in cases involving child custody and visitation.
“This is the crisis we must address now: improving the way we protect our children and families,” said Scherz. “We should also use this opportunity to reimagine how children and families affected by violence are helped and protected.”
Scherz will serve an important role amongst a group of esteemed academics, attorneys, and retired judges, domestic violence advocates and psychologists.
Scherz has a long-standing background. He’s served on numerous City Bar Committees, is a teacher at Pace University, and was a coordinator of training for New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. He also began his career representing children in family court with the New York Legal Aid society.
The Blue-Ribbon Commission will hold its first meeting this month and recommendations will be delivered to Cuomo at some point in the fall.