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22nd Children's Law Institute

Author(s): Vanessa D Cherena, Tehra Coles, Kelley Burns
Practice Area: Family Law, Litigation, Pro Bono
Published: Jul 2019
ISBN: 9781402434426
PLI Item #: 251762
CHB Spine #: H1142

Kelley Burns is the Director of Training in the Legal Support and Training Unit at Family Court Legal Services, a division of the Administration for Children’s Services.  Family Court Legal Services provides legal representation for Children’s Services in the five Family Courts of New York City in child abuse and neglect proceedings, custody and juvenile delinquency proceedings.  The Legal Support and Training Unit provides litigation support and legal training to attorney and casework staff as well as other types of support to the Division.   Prior to joining the Legal Support and Training Unit, Ms. Burns practiced in the Administration for Children’s Services, Family Court Legal Services in Queens Family Court as a staff attorney since 2001.  Ms. Burns received her undergraduate degree from Fordham University and received her Juris Doctorate from Cardozo School of Law.

I am the Attorney-in-Charge of the Bronx Juvenile Rights office of the Legal Aid Society since January 2018.   I have served as the Deputy Attorney in Charge of the borough  Supervising Assistant Attorney-in-Charge, and staff attorney in that same Bronx borough office since May of 1996.  As an attorney for children I represent children in Family Court on Child Protective, Juvenile Delinquency, Visitation/Custody, Guardianship, Persons In Need of Supervision (PINS), and Foster Care Status Review proceedings.


From May 1996 to June 1999, I took a brief sabbatical to work at Advocates for Children, and returned to JRD  in July 2000.   I began my career with JRP as a paralegal from August 1991-August 1992.  I graduated CUNY  Law School in 1995, and began my work as a law graduate at The Door Legal Services Center. During law school and for a short time afterwards I worked for  Advocates for Children and Covenant House Legal Services.   I have always been dedicated to fighting for the rights of children.

Tehra Coles, Esq., Litigation Supervisor, joined CFR in 2011.  Ms. Coles received her J.D. in June of 2009 from Albany Law School where she worked as a clinical extern at the Albany County Public Defender’s Office in criminal court and a judicial intern for the Hon. Eugene P. Devine.  Prior to joining CFR, Ms. Coles was an Assistant Public Defender in Albany County and represented parents in Article 10 cases as well as both petitioners and respondents in Article 8 and 6 cases.  She also worked as a law clerk for the New York State Defender’s Association and New York State Justice Fund, Ms. Coles received her B.A. in Political Science and Masters of Social Sciences from Hollins University in 2004 and 2005 respectively.