The Legal Aid Foundation and The Children’s Clinic Partner to Help Low Income Families

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Greater Long Beach Medical-Legal PartnershipThe Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA) and The Children’s Clinic, “Serving Children and Their Families” (TCC) in Long Beach have formed the Greater Long Beach Medical-Legal Partnership to provide an integrated approach to health-related, legal challenges faced by low-income individuals and families in their everyday lives, particularly in the areas of housing, family law and public benefits.

The Partnership consists of direct legal representation, training and outreach to medical providers, and the development of policy and legislative advocacy at the local, state and federal levels to improve laws that affect the health and well-being of vulnerable populations. Medical-Legal partnerships have been recognized as a novel and effective approach to providing preventive legal services to low-income communities. LAFLA has a long tradition of service to the Long Beach community through its legal office, Domestic Violence clinic and a Self Help Legal Access Center.

Greater Long Beach Medical-Legal PartnershipSenior Attorney Kate Marr is the Project’s Coordinator; she will also serve as the on-site attorney providing counsel and advice, direct legal services and appropriate referrals to pro bono and other legal partners. Cases will be referred by clinicians who will be trained by Marr to screen for and identify patients struggling with unmet legal needs. A corps of students, volunteers and pro bono attorneys will also be developed to meet the needs of the families who need assistance. The City of Long Beach is the sixth poorest city in Los Angeles County, where at least 40 percent of residents live below the poverty line.

When families are facing multiple crises and have limited time and resources, they often turn to the person they trust most, their doctor for advice. Many physicians do not know how to help these vulnerable patients. A Medical legal Partnership bridges that gap and results in a legal referral that may resolve the ongoing issues face by patients.

“We are hoping to break down the barriers between chronic health issues and legal advocacy that are often interconnected,” explained Marr. “For example, families living in uninhabitable living conditions can suffer from health-related issues that can only be resolved by legal intervention.”

“As the greater Long Beach communities’ medical home for primary and preventive health care services and resources, TCC embraces this partnership and the opportunity to provide patients and families facing legal problems, related to their basic needs, access to the help they need to improve the quality of their lives, “ stated Elisa Nicholas, MD, MSPH, TCC’s Chief Executive Officer. “By partnering with LAFLA, TCC is committed to fully addressing the social determinants of health that create hardships for our most vulnerable patients and their families.”

The Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles {LAFLA) founded in 1929 achieves equal justice for poor and low-income people in greater Los Angeles. We change lives through direct representation, systems change and community education. LAFLA serves more than 70,000 individuals and families each year.

The Children’s Clinic, “Serving Children and Their Families” was founded in 1939 and is dedicated to providing comprehensive health care and health promotion to medically underserved, low-income and high-risk populations. TCC provides more than 70,000 health care visits each year to more than 23,000 economically disadvantaged adults and children. TCC is known as a unique leader in the greater Long Beach community, addressing disparities in health by providing quality care for the underserved of all ages, offering them a true “medical home.”

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