Legal Aid Society


Runaway and Homeless Youth Class Action Settlement

Class Action Settlement Expands Access for Thousands of Homeless and Runaway Youth Ages 16-20 to Essential Youth Programs and Services in New York City; Establishes New and Improved Citywide Procedural Changes.

For the complete proposed settlement document please click here.

The Legal Aid Society announces the preliminary approval of a class action settlement in C.W. v. The City of New York. The settlement will expand access to essential, life-saving youth programs and services for runaway and homeless youth ages 16-20 in New York City and make citywide procedural changes that will improve the system for young people ages 16-20 who seek shelter or services going forward. The Legal Aid Society represents the plaintiff class along with Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP.

Under the settlement, the City is required to make the following changes to the runaway and homeless youth services system:

  • Provide residential program beds to all 16- and 17-year-olds who request them.
  • Assess whether NYC needs more youth program beds for runaway and homeless youth ages 16 – 20 and come up with a plan to add beds if needed. The City must also continue to provide enough money to maintain the current number of youth shelter beds and services for runaway and homeless youth, so long as there is reasonable demand for those beds.
  • Provide all young people who are staying in youth residential programs with access to mental health services if they need them.
  • Ensure that staff at the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) are trained to tell young people about youth residential programs.
  • Ensure there are publications and notices to the public explaining how youth can access programs and services in NYC.
  • Provide a process for young people to challenge decisions that they feel will discharge them from residential programs unfairly.

Class Notice in English
Class Notice in Spanish

To ask questions, share comments, or request the settlement in a different form please email or call 212-298-3140.