Often, legal advice is not readily available for disadvantaged families. Those with chronic health issues, in particular, may need assistance in understanding their rights and ensuring they have access to services.

Children’s Place Association is helping address this issue. Beginning in 2018, families served by our organization can meet with an attorney based at our Early Learning Center. This project offers pro bono legal assistance and resources for a range of concerns.

Through a partnership with the nonprofit Legal Council for Health Justice, an attorney – Equal Justice Works Fellow Hannah Berkowitz – helps families who may face issues related to disability rights, housing, benefits or educational services. “This fellowship and Hannah’s advocacy for disadvantaged families is one more way Children’s Place is building successful tomorrows for Chicago’s most vulnerable kids,” said Susan Reyna-Guerrero, LCSW, Chief Program Officer at Children’s Place.

“My fellowship embeds legal aid on-site at Children’s Place to help improve family stability, child well-being and kindergarten readiness,” said Berkowitz. “Through this project, we are assisting kids and families in areas of education/special education, public benefits access and medical coverage,” she added.

Selecting Children’s Place as the base for Berkowitz’s project was strategic. Berkowitz said she recognized the uniqueness of the Children’s Place Early Learning Center in providing comprehensive, on-site health services for young children with health conditions and disabilities.

This project is the first childcare and education legal partnership in the nation.

As champions, Children’s Place strives to provide as many opportunities to Chicago’s most vulnerable, so they are able to thrive and break the cycle of adversity.  Learn more about our programs or see how you, too, can be a champion for children. [URLS]

Hannah Berkowitz is a Staff Attorney at Legal Council for Health Justice and is an Equal Justice Works Fellow. The project is supported by Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg LLP/BFKN Foundation and Anonymous.