Our basic premise is that attorneys can intervene to improve the physical, social, and economic environments in which many low-income children live, resulting in their improved health and quality of life.

Environments can be health-harming. For example, poor housing conditions, such as improper hygiene or lack of heat, can exacerbate health problems like asthma, the most common chronic childhood illness. Poverty can prevent children or their families from obtaining needed medications and other treatments. Exposure to domestic violence can result in serious injury. Failure to protect the legal rights of developmentally disabled children can prevent their access to remedial special education or other needed services.


Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Inc.

Representing Atlanta’s poor in civil legal cases since 1924, Atlanta Legal Aid Society assists low-income clients with some of life’s most basic needs: a safe home, enough food to eat, a decent education, protection against fraud, and personal safety. ALAS serves clients in Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett counties.

Priority cases include housing, consumer fraud, public benefits, employment, education, health, spouse abuse, and child-custody cases. Atlanta Legal Aid also represents individuals who are elderly, disabled, mentally ill, or who have AIDS, cancer, or ALS.

Rita A. Sheffey is the executive director of ALAS.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, one of the leading pediatric healthcare systems in the U.S., is a not-for-profit organization benefitting from the generous philanthropic and volunteer support of our community. The largest Medicaid provider in Georgia, Children’s operates three hospitals and one outpatient facility with more than half a million patient visits annually. Children’s is recognized nationally for excellence in cancer, cardiac, emergency, neonatal, orthopedic and transplant services, and many other pediatric specialties.

As a service to the community, Children’s provides a free, 24-hour nurse-advice line at 404-250-KIDS, staffed around the clock by certified pediatric nurses.

Dr. Stan Sonu is the medical director for HeLP and child advocacy at Children’s.

GSU College of Law

Georgia State University’s College of Law was established in 1982 in the heart of downtown Atlanta to provide publicly funded legal education. The College offers opportunities to both full- and part-time students through day and evening classes.

GSU’s College of Law strives to provide an excellent and affordable legal education to a diverse student body. The law school is accredited by the American Bar Association.

Leslie Wolf is a professor of law and director of the Center for Law, Health & Society, which oversees the law school’s involvement with the Health Law Partnership.



Address health-harming legal problems to improve health outcomes for low-income children.

Examples of the legal support and services the legal team provides include securing the full state and federal program benefits to which children are entitled, ensuring safe and healthy housing conditions, accessing appropriate educational services, and offering a path toward family stability.


Foster knowledge, understanding, and a cooperative spirit between the healthcare and legal professions.

HeLP promotes children’s health through interdisciplinary educational programs, including in-service education for healthcare professionals at Children’s and student education for law students and graduate professional students. The HeLP Legal Services Clinic at Georgia State University’s College of Law, as well as externships and practicum placements, trains future lawyers and healthcare professionals to collaborate to improve children’s health, especially those from under-resourced communities.


Improve children’s access to healthcare and the conditions that affect their health.

HeLP executes on a program of legal and policy advocacy at the legislative, policy-making, and government-agency levels. This work focuses on issues such as securing funding through Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids®, expanding health insurance coverage, and other population-based programs designed to improve the overall health and well-being of children. HeLP works with other community groups that can facilitate broad, statewide resolution of access, resource, eligibility, and programmatic issues.


Be a model for effective, interdisciplinary community collaborations that seek to promote public health.

HeLP regularly conducts evaluations of the quality and effectiveness of its various program components to promote internal quality assurance and drive continuous quality improvement. HeLP also undertakes research with IRB-approved protocols to assess the impact that the program has on the hospitals, outcomes of care, and the health and well-being of the children and families served.


HeLP assists eligible clients with the following types of legal problems that can threaten health improvement and care equity:

    • Access to healthcare (e.g., Medicaid, PeachCare, private health insurance)
    • Disability (Supplemental Security Income)
    • Education (e.g., special education needs, school discipline problems)
    • Family (e.g., temporary guardianships, alternatives to adult guardianships)
    • Housing (e.g., unsafe or unsanitary living conditions, evictions)
    • Permanency planning and consent for care (e.g., wills, advance directives, guardianships)
    • Public benefits (e.g., TANF, food stamps, WIC)

HeLP does not take cases involving medical malpractice, criminal issues, immigration issues, or situations where our office might be placed in conflict with the child’s best interest or with that of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta Legal Aid Society, or Georgia State University College of Law.


Education: The mother of a young girl with insulin-dependent diabetes was told by her daughter’s school that she would need to home-school her child because the school would not accommodate the child’s need for insulin shots. Our lawyers negotiated the child’s re-entry into the school – where she was legally entitled to be – as well as access to onsite insulin shots during the school day.

Housing: A little boy with chronic asthma required hospital emergency care multiple times because his family’s apartment was heavily infested with mold; the landlord refused to fix the problem. A HeLP lawyer working on the case visited the home, which was so contaminated that she, too, suffered an asthma attack. Fortunately, the attorney was able, through negotiation, to secure safe housing for the family.

Permanency planning (guardianship): A grandmother began caring for her three young grandchildren, one of whom was seriously ill, following her daughter’s death. She needed assistance establishing guardianship for the minor children so she could consent to medical care for her sick grandchild. Our lawyers were able to assist her with becoming the children’s legal guardian.

Public benefits (Supplemental Security Income): A 6-year-old boy with Duchenne muscular dystrophy was denied Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, despite the severity of the disease and the shortened life expectancy. On behalf of the boy’s mother, HeLP lawyers appealed the denial and won a favorable decision by an administrative law judge. As a result, the child was entitled to the maximum level of SSI benefits, plus back benefits, ensuring continued Medicaid benefits and access to critical health services.

Public benefits (Medicaid/PeachCare): Upon relocating to Atlanta from New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, a family lost all of their identification documents. The mother needed assistance replacing her children’s birth certificates and social security cards so that they could be enrolled in Medicaid and PeachCare to receive health benefits. Our lawyers counseled the mother on how to obtain identifying documents and how to sign up for public benefits.


Medical conditions of the patient population that HeLP serves include asthma (~22.8%), developmental delay (~19.6%), ADHD (~13.1%), lung problems (~11.3%), seizure disorders (~10.9%), and heart problems (~8.7%), as well as autism, cystic fibrosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, kidney disease, sickle-cell disease, and Down syndrome.

HeLP’s diverse client population includes Caucasians (~18%), African Americans (~64%), and Latinos (~14%). Approximately 13% of HeLP families speak Spanish only. About 87% of HeLP’s clients are female; of those, an estimated 72% are single, divorced, separated, or widowed. Some 60% of families have incomes at less than 100% of the federal poverty level.

While HeLP primarily serves low-income families from the greater metropolitan Atlanta area, a number of HeLP’s clients are from rural areas throughout Georgia with little or no access to legal assistance.

HeLP has served clients from Georgia counties shown in blue on the map below.


Office: 404-785-2005
Fax: 404-705-0010


Children’s at Scottish Rite

975 Johnson Ferry Road, Suite 360
Atlanta, GA 30342-1600


HeLP at Children’s at Egleston

4th Floor
(near butterfly elevators)
1405 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322-1060

HeLP at Children’s at Hughes Spalding

3rd Floor Annex
35 Jesse Hill Drive
Atlanta, GA 30303

HeLP at Center for Advanced Pediatrics

1400 Tullie Road
Suite 1408
Atlanta, GA 30303

HeLP Legal Services Clinic

GSU College of Law
85 Park Place, Suite 105
Atlanta, GA 30303
Office: 404-413-9130
Fax: 404-413-9145

For written directions, please click here.

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