A look at some successes from 2022
Adult Representation Services started out four years ago with two staff members. By 2022, that number had grown to 52 FTEs who represented more than 3,500 clients. ARS practices in multiple legal areas and employs experts in social supports as well as the law. The staff collaborate to support as many of the clients’ needs as possible, all in one place. The recent addition of case management assistants (CMAs) has been a game changer. The new Legal Service Specialists team has been invaluable.
Stable housing, stable parent
A mother with a new baby was facing a child protection case and was at risk of eviction for nonpayment of rent. Her mental health impacted her ability to navigate multiple systems.
To help the mother, CMA Nima stepped in to provide navigation support and guidance. Nima spent more than an hour on the phone. She spoke with the client, the county’s emergency assistance department, and the client's social worker.
Nima was able to triage the system supports to ensure approval of the client’s emergency assistance application for her rent. The mother’s ability to maintain stable housing was important to her child protection case.
Nima's work highlights how we work across jurisdictions to remove system barriers. As well as how we work towards positive outcomes for clients.
Ashley was a pregnant mother grappling with addiction. She was already the subject of a child protection case.
For most of her pregnancy, she was at inpatient treatment. Ashley was working hard to be substance free and ensure her baby's health. She graduated from the inpatient facility and was following through with outpatient treatment at birth. The child protection case moved forward and the baby was placed in foster care.
Kelly, the attorney assigned to the case, argued that Ashley should get a chance to parent and advocated for the importance of nursing in the bonding process. Kelly argued that the system should reward the client's hard work toward recovery by letting her be with her baby.
In the end, the judge ruled that the baby be reunited with mom. Ashley and her baby have been back home together for more than a month and are doing great. ARS is helping the mother navigate her other child protection case as she works toward reunification.
Navigating a legal web
A client in a guardianship case wanted to have a medical procedure. The legal requirements to do so were hefty. As guardians, the client’s parents were able to provide consent. But the specific procedure in question required a court order.
Before issuing an order, the court requires that a physician, a psychologist, and a social worker or case manager evaluate the client and provide written reports to the court.
Because our staff is interdisciplinary, we were not only able to provide the client with legal counsel, but also one of our own social workers. The social worker provided the legally required report to the court.
Providing the social worker limited the number of strangers and offices the client had to share personal information with. This allowed her to build trust with us.
Ultimately, the petition was granted. The client was relieved of the stress and anxiety she'd been dealing with for years.