PCYP provides holistic multi-lingual services in the form of direct civil and criminal legal services, case management, and community education. The core of our multi-strategy approach is to provide free, non-judgmental, services. We meet clients through a toll free warm-line and at drop-in legal clinics housed at locations where homeless young people congregate to access food, shelter, healthcare, counseling, case management, and community. Additionally, through strong community relations, we receive referrals from community partners and clients.
Civil Legal Services: Among the types of civil legal services PCYP provides are: name and gender marker changes, obtaining legal immigration status, improving conditions of confinement for New York City detainees and State prisoners, and obtaining public assistance, food stamps and social security benefits. Due to the strength of our connections with other Urban Justice Center projects and community partners, we also have provided facilitated referrals or partnered with other attorneys to assist with consumer debt issues, divorces, retrieval of stolen property and other matters.
Criminal Legal Services: Historically, PCYP has been limited to assisting young people with obtaining their criminal history and providing some advice on open warrant issues. On June 6, 2016, the Peter Cicchino Youth Project officially launched a criminal defense practice with the hire of David Miranda! This is an exciting moment for PCYP because the addition of criminal defense will make our services to homeless or street-involved youth more holistic. David brings both civil and criminal legal experience with him and will be providing representation to youth who are being criminalized for their low-income status, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and/or gender identity, among other things. David will provide representation in misdemeanor cases and provide pre-arrest assistance at the felony level, in addition to helping youth navigate the intersections of the criminal legal system and our immigration system. There is also the potential for litigation in the areas of excessive force and assaults by both police and corrections officers.
Case Management: Our in-house bilingual case management services are an integral part of our work, as these services help eliminate the obstacles young people may face to full participation in their legal cases. Case management often includes assisting young people with document replacement, whether that is to assist in an immigration matter or help provide affirming identity documents to gender non-conforming youth. Our case manager has also accompanied people to court, visited people in jail/prison and helped safety plan for clients experiencing severe trauma.
Community Education: Our community education goals are to provide the resilient young people we serve with even more tools and knowledge to exercise their rights. To support our direct services and education, we also engage in long-term policy and litigation strategies to reform the systems in which our clients struggle to survive. For nearly two decades, PCYP has developed a reputation for excellence among lawyers, service providers, and – most importantly – the young people we serve.