The New York Times published an article about the efficacy of Nurse Family Partnerships, one of CLASI’s Medical-Legal Partnership Program partners, in helping low-income children. CLASI has supported NFP by providing free legal services to NFP clients with unmet civil legal issues–in employment, housing, benefits, and domestic violence cases. Since our partnership began, we have helped 52 postpartum women in 67 cases. These cases include education and employment, housing and utilities, income supports, immigration status, and personal and family stability.
Here is a recent case example in which CLASI helped a new mom who was in the United States on asylum navigate a number of legal problems, most of which she didn’t even realize were legal issues. She told her nurse that she had requested unpaid maternity leave from her employer, and was told by her employer to call two weeks before the end of her leave to get back on the schedule. When she called two weeks before the end of her leave, she was told she had been discharged. A CLASI attorney helped her file a charge of employment discrimination with the Department of Labor. That charge remains pending. While helping her with this issue, the attorney learned the client was enrolled in emergency only Medicaid even though she was eligible for full benefits. The attorney helped her get the Division of Health and Social Services to correct her Medicaid status retroactively and assisted her with contacting her healthcare providers to direct them to submit claims to Medicaid for processing as many of these claims had been in collections. She is now able to afford the regular doctor’s visits that are so important to her baby’s health. The client also informed her attorney that her name had come up on a waiting list for a subsidized housing complex but the apartment manager did not know if she was eligible because of her immigration status. The attorney provided information to the apartment manager on her eligibility and she was able to move into her new home. Finally, the attorney learned that the client’s work authorization was about to expire and she could not afford to pay the filing fee for a new green card. CLASI assisted her with preparing a request for a fee waiver and in applying for a new work permit. The fee waiver was approved and she obtained a work permit. As a result of her participation in NFP the client is able to continue to work in the U.S., lives in a safe, affordable home, and can afford to provide the medical care she and her child need.