Merger Means Legal Muscle For Children Needing Special Education Services

Today, Partnership for Children’s Rights (PFCR), a not-for-profit law firm founded in 1999 to protect the rights of New York City’s disadvantaged and disabled children, will be merging into Mobilization for Justice (MFJ).

MFJ is a 55-year-old prominent anti-poverty organization formerly known as MFY Legal Services.The merger will dramatically expand MFJ’s ability to render legal assistance to low-income NYC students with disabilities and their families.

“Thousands of low-income families in New York City struggle each year to navigate the educational bureaucracy in search of appropriate support services or placements for their children with disabilities,” said MFJ Executive Director Jeanette Zelhof. “PFCR has an outstanding team that brings nearly 20 years’ experience in this area and will allow MFJ to greatly expand our services to children and families.”

Mobilization for Justice is an experienced leader in providing legal assistance to people with disabilities, and currently assists families seeking special education services for children with mental illness through medical-legal partnerships with Bellevue, Harlem and Kings County Hospitals.

Mobilization for Justice is an experienced leader in providing legal assistance to people with disabilities, and currently assists families seeking special education services for children with mental illness through medical-legal partnerships with Bellevue, Harlem and Kings County Hospitals. As part of the merger, all of PFCR’s attorneys will join MFJ to lead the Warren Sinsheimer Children’s Rights Program. This team has helped many thousands of children secure the educational services to which they are entitled.

Warren Sinsheimer, a former partner at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP and founder of PFCR, presented MFJ with the idea of joining forces. “At age 91, I thought it was time to retire, but I wanted to find PFCR a home that would not only carry on our work, but also expand it,” he said. “With a long history of defending the rights of people with disabilities, MFJ was the clear choice.”

Trevor W. Morrison, Dean of the New York University Law School and a PFCR board member, stated: “Warren Sinsheimer is one of NYU Law’s most distinguished graduates. He showed real vision in founding PFCR, and it has been a tremendous honor for me to serve on the board in support of this important work. This merger ensures the work will continue and grow. PFCR staff will be able to accomplish more as part of a large, dynamic organization, and families will benefit from access to a wide range of legal assistance for related issues. NYU Law will proudly continue to support the work by providing an annual fellowship for a graduate of the Law School to work with the Warren Sinsheimer Children’s Rights Program.”

“With some 50,000 school children in NYC lacking appropriate special education services, there is tremendous need for legal assistance,” said Todd Silverblatt, PFCR’s Executive Director who will direct the new Program at MFJ. “We’ll be able to do more as part of Mobilization for Justice, and the families and children we serve will benefit greatly. It’s a win-win all around.”

Mobilization for Justice (formerly MFY Legal Services, Inc.) was founded in 1963 and provides free legal assistance to low-income New Yorkers in the areas of housing, public benefits, disability rights, consumer, employment, special education, immigration, and kinship care. More information is available at www.mobilizationforjustice.org.

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