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Looking forward

ARS staff continuously assess what their clients need and what is working well. A main focus for the future is prevention work: helping clients avoid returning to court or going to court in the first place.

In early 2023, the agency launched its first prevention program. With the support of a federal grant, ARS created the Health Equity Legal Project (HELP) for new or expecting parents experiencing difficulties that could put them at risk for child protection involvement, such as mental health and substance use issues.

Director Jeanette Boerner said it helps clients take a “U-turn away from the system” by connecting them with resources before they end up in the court system. The program emphasizes collaboration between parents, legal counsel, mentors, healthcare providers, and the community. “It creates an environment where people can say…’I need help,’” she said.