We demonstrate our priorities
through cooperation between healthcare and legal professionals, which involves ensuring access to resources, safeguarding rights, and enhancing the health outcomes of children. Additionally, we are committed to training future generations to keep up this important work.

LEGAL SERVICES

HeLP provides eligible families, those who have a treatment relationship with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, free civil legal services.


Types of Cases

HeLP assists eligible clients with the following types of legal issues:

    • 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)
    • Access to 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.


Examples

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.

LEGAL SERVICES

Client Population

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 African Americans (~64%), Caucasians (~18%) 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.

EDUCATION

HeLP’s educational component serves to strengthen the long-term effectiveness of its public health legal services by training law and healthcare professionals to understand and address the social determinants of health and legal rights of low-income children and their families. Students are an essential part of this collaboration, playing a vital role in supporting HeLP’s mission.

The goals of the education programs are two-fold: (1) to increase knowledge about the legal, ethical, and policy issues affecting the health and well-being of low-income children; and (2) to foster respect, understanding, and a cooperative spirit among the healthcare and legal professions.


For Healthcare Professionals

HeLP offers interdisciplinary, in-service educational programs about the legal, ethical, and policy issues affecting children’s health and well-being. These programs include in-service training and education for healthcare professionals at Children’s, Children’s social workers, volunteer attorneys who work with HeLP, and medical staff, medical residents and students in training at Children’s. Presentations are made at all four campuses at Children’s during grand rounds, at pediatric roundtables, during social work and nursing staff meetings, and with school nurse liaisons and hospital teachers.


HeLP Legal Services Clinic

The HeLP Legal Services Clinic is an in-house, live-client clinic located at Georgia State University’s College of Law. The Clinic is an integral part of HeLP and provides a supportive learning environment for law students to develop practical lawyering skills in substantive legal fields related to the health and well-being of low-income children and their families. Cases referred to HeLP for legal representation and appropriate for student assignment are assigned to law students enrolled in the Clinic under the supervision of one of three faculty attorneys.

Further, the Clinic hosts 4th-year medical students and residents from Emory School of Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, and other medical schools across the county. Master of Bioethics students from Emory University and Masters of Social Work students from Georgia State University also enroll in the clinic for credit.

Please visit the HeLP Clinic‘s page on the Georgia State University College of Law’s website for enrollment information and an application for law students.


Externships & Practicums

Law students who are enrolled in other law schools – as well as other professional or graduate students who are enrolled in medicine, public health, nursing, and social work – are invited to apply through their schools to participate in HeLP’s externship and electives programs. Participants assist with client representation and thereby gain an understanding of the multiple determinants of children’s health, experience interdisciplinary approaches to problem-solving, and develop experience in dealing with the health issues of low-income children and their families.

EDUCATION

ADVOCACY

As part of its overall program, HeLP seeks to address the legal, policy, and social issues that adversely affect the health of low-income children and their families. Many such issues arise from our law practice with individual cases. We address these broader legal problems by encouraging government agencies to appropriately implement their policies and regulations.

HeLP has collaborated with a number of other groups within the Atlanta community on behalf of low-income children in Georgia. These include the Barton Child Health Clinic at Emory University, the Georgia Advocacy Office, Voices for Georgia’s Children, the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, and various Georgia State University units such as the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies’, Georgia Health Policy Center, and the School of Public Health. HeLP works with these and other groups on a systemic level to improve the health and healthcare access of all low-income children and families in Georgia.

ADVOCACY

EVALUATION & RESEARCH

The evaluation and research component of HeLP exists to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of the legal services and educational components.


Program Evaluation

Data on the efficacy of our legal and educational services assist with internal quality assurance and efforts of management and fundraising necessary to support HeLP financially. The results help in stimulating participation in educational programs and encouraging the referral of patients and their families to HeLP. Currently, the HeLP evaluation utilizes a multi-source, quasi-quantitative/qualitative approach. The sources of data include a national and program-specific literature review, internal and external program stakeholder interviews, participant satisfaction surveys, and analysis of de-identified program utilization data.


Institutional Review Boards

HeLP has obtained approval from the institutional review boards (IRB) at Georgia State University and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for the evaluation and research component. Analyses of research data will guide growth, development, modifications and expansions at HeLP. Data also will be used for external publication of program quality, efficacy, and outcomes in order to encourage the development of programs similar to HeLP in other locations throughout the State of Georgia or nationally.


Resources

Our Community Collaboration Development Toolkit supports a multi-disciplinary approach to addressing the socio-economic determinants of health and improving outcomes by integrating resources and services.

EVALUATION
& RESEARCH

DIRECT CONTACT

info@healthlawpartnership.org
Office: 404-785-2005
Fax: 404-705-0010

MAIN OFFICE

Children’s at Scottish Rite

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

OTHER LOCATIONS

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.

Copyright © 2024 / The Health Law Partnership. All rights reserved.