Photo credit: Jane Prendergast
CHILDREN & EDUCATION
IMPROVING CHILDREN’S FUTURES
School stability and success open critical doors to a meaningful future. When children have the opportunity to attend school and make academic progress, they are healthier, more likely to secure employment and income, and avoid homelessness and incarceration as adults. Through individual client representation, development of key collaborations and partnerships, and advocacy for systemic changes, the Legal Aid Society helps children succeed in school.
Children & Education Programs
Kids in School Rule! (KISR!)
(KISR!) is a collaboration led by Legal Aid to promote education stability and success for targeted students in foster care. This successful project relies upon individual student interventions together with broad systemic changes to improve outcomes for students. The multi-county “Collaboration for Education Success of Children in Foster Care” builds on lessons learned from KISR! and expands best practices to additional school districts and child welfare agencies.
The most powerful predictor of juvenile crime is a child out of school. To help students succeed in school and prevent further involvement with Juvenile Court, Legal Aid’s TeamChild Project is a partnership with Hamilton County Juvenile Court. Juvenile Probation Officers, Magistrates and public defenders refer youth and families to TeamChild attorneys for education advocacy to help stabilize youth on the delinquency docket.
Guardian ad Litem (GAL)
When a child is removed from home due to abuse, neglect or dependency, the child protection system provides for the appointment of an attorney/guardian ad litem (GAL) to represent the best interests of that child to the Juvenile Court. In Butler County, Legal Aid advocates serve as GAL for hundreds of children each year to promote safety and stability in their lives.
Child HeLP, a partnership between Legal Aid and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, promotes improved health and well-being through legal advocacy. The on-site presence of lawyers and paralegals in the Pediatric Primary Care Center in Avondale encourages doctors there and in the Fairfield and Hopple Street clinics to refer patient families for consultation or assistance with legal problems involving housing conditions, evictions, eligibility for public benefits, school discipline, special education services, domestic violence and custody issues.
Crises of housing, income, and safety can prevent low-income pregnant women from prioritizing their prenatal care. M-HeLP, the new Maternal Health Law Partnership between Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati, TriHealth, and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center will assist pregnant women receiving prenatal care at the Faculty Medical Center at Good Samaritan Hospital to resolve major social stressors that often negatively impact pregnancy outcomes.
The M-HeLP team will assist at-risk pregnant women obtain safe housing, protection from domestic abuse, or access to food, income and medical benefits in order to improve attention to prenatal care and achieve a successful pregnancy.
A “smart handoff” to the Pediatric Primary Care Clinic (PPC) at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for systemic, proactive access to follow up support, is also part of M-HeLP.
M-HeLP is made possible by a multi-year grant from Bethesda, Inc., a major funder of health care transformation and co-sponsor of TriHealth.
Thanks to M-HeLP, Self-Employed Mom Gets Healthcare
“Ms. Daniels ” is a single mother with a baby due in late March. Last fall, she was twice denied Medicaid coverage for her pregnancy. “When I first applied for Medicaid, I had just found out that I was pregnant and was also looking for housing.”
Ms. Daniels is self-employed with a business so new that she has not yet had to file taxes. And, as many now do, she promotes her business on Facebook. However, when she applied for Ohio Medicaid, a case worker saw her Facebook page, decided that she was lying about her income, and denied her application. Ms. Daniels applied a second time, submitting a self-declaration of income with her application. Again, the case worker used the Facebook page to decide that her income statement was untrue and that she was not cooperating with the verification process. Ms. Daniels was denied coverage a second time.
“I was very upset by the denials. I applied again and got the same case worker who I felt wasn’t treating me fairly! She called me inquiring about Facebook posts and then told me she was denying me for fraud. During this whole process I was not getting prenatal care because I couldn’t afford it. I was very stressed out and ended up going to the emergency room toward the end of this ordeal.”
Then, M-HeLP was launched. A social worker at Good Samaritan, trained by M-HeLP, referred Ms. Daniels. Initially, she was very skeptical as to what M-HelP could do for her. Our advocate, Deanna White investigated the situation. She helped Ms. Daniels reapply for Medicaid, and submitted an income chart based on data from her appointment book. As a result of Legal Aid’s intervention, Ms. Daniels was approved for health care coverage. Now, she is looking forward to welcoming her baby into the world.
“Legal Aid gave me very specific and clear instructions on where to apply, and what I’d need to verify the information on my application. All I needed was internet access on my phone to fill out the application and they took care of the rest. It was so quick! I didn’t even have to physically appear at Job and Family Services to do any interviews, just received an email that I had been approved,” stated Ms. Daniels. “I highly recommend Legal Aid, they are professionals and will make sure that you’re being treated fairly.”READ MORE SUCCESS STORIES