Leslie Abbey is the Executive Director of New York City Children's Services' Youth Justice Programs. In this capacity, she oversees several program areas, including the Juvenile Justice Initiative's Alternative-to-Placement and Intensive Preventive Aftercare Services programs; alternative-to-detention programs overseen by Children's Services; Confirm; and programming and policy for "cross-over youth," or youth involved with the child welfare and juvenile justice systems concurrently. Prior to joining Children's Services in 2007, Ms. Abbey was a staff attorney at The Legal Aid Society's Juvenile Rights Practice, first as an attorney representing individual children in Bronx Family Court, then in the Appeals Unit, and then for seven years in the Special Litigation and Law Reform Unit, where she represented court-involved youth in class action litigation.
Ms. Abbey is a co-founder and Director of LIFT, a nonprofit organization that enhances access to justice for children and families by providing legal information, community education, and compassionate guidance to litigants and others seeking a solution to a family crisis. She is a member of a large number of committees and task forces concerning youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems, and is a trustee of Grace Church School in Manhattan. In 2009, she served on Governor Paterson's Task Force to Transform the New York State Juvenile Justice System.
Ms. Abbey received a J.D. from New York University School of Law and a B.A. with Honors from Swarthmore College.