May 29, 2020
Since the Lawyer in the School program expanded into Marion County schools more than a year ago, we have seen tremendous success in helping to stabilize the lives of families impacted by the ongoing opioid crisis. Before the pandemic cut short the school year, we were providing free and direct legal services in three schools. We have established ongoing partnerships with community stakeholders, including Healthy Grandfamilies, to ensure we reach the targeted population we hope to serve. In our first year working in Marion County, we have helped grandparents establish legal guardianship over the grandchildren they may have been raising for years without any support. We’ve provided in-court representation and helped families finalize adoptions, bringing stability to the lives of these children. In total, we have provided a positive impact and helped 228 people in our first year of this program.
But our work continues, even though the schools, which have been our primary partners, have moved online. By marshalling our community partners, we have been able to continue assisting families and providing these vital legal services during these unpredictable times. In fact, it is our intention to build on the success of this program by expanding this model into Preston and Taylor county schools. These counties represent tremendous opportunities for our work to reach and assist more people. It is our hope that we will be able to work with these counties to establish this program in the near future. Until then, we will continue aiding the communities we are currently in, with an eye toward reaching the hidden populations that we know need our help the most.
If you have a child in a Marion County School and are in need of legal assistance, please feel free to reach out to us at (304) 296-0001, ext. 3113, or send us an e-mail at northcentral_lis at lawv.net.