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We all screen for healthy futures

A new law our child health advocacy team helped shape adds developmental and social and emotional screenings to child health examinations for all children in Illinois. As a result, families will know of a child’s developmental or mental health difficulties earlier and have access to resources to address these issues. “Not only will screenings benefit both the child and family, they will also help fight stigma and increase awareness of the importance of early identification and intervention,” says Amy Zimmerman, director of the Chicago Medical-Legal Partnership for Children at Legal Council for Health Justice. Read the full press release HERE....

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Training to Sustain

At Chicago Medical-Legal Partnership for Children (CMLPC) meetings, legal advocates ask questions about cases, share perspectives, and tell success stories. Last week, Sarah Hess, a staff attorney in the UIC Coordination of Healthcare for Complex Kids (CHECK) program, shared a particularly meaningful success.

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Client Focus: Janae and William

When Janae gave birth to William, things didn’t go exactly as planned. William was born premature and needed a hernia surgery, but for some reason, Janae could not get him a medical card to pay for the hospital bills. She was also having trouble getting other public benefits to supplement her income. Through the help of her community health worker, Janae and William were referred to the Legal Council. After many phone calls, meetings, and much research, our legal staff discovered that because Janae was adopted, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services was causing a roadblock with Medicaid and other public benefits. We helped Janae fill out paperwork, and through our combined efforts, Janae  was able to get a medical card, food stamps, and additional income through Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). While Janae works hard at...

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Client Focus: Jane

Being a 12 year old girl isn’t always easy. For Jane, being 12 is more complicated than most. When she suffered from a mental health crisis in the middle of the school year, Jane was struggling not only with her health but with bullying at her school. Any child would find it hard to cope with this combination, and Jane was no exception. For months, she was not well enough to go to school. Even once she mentally recovered, she refused to go to school for fear of being bullied. When her mother tried to get the school to help transfer Jane to a more appropriate setting, the school insisted Jane wasn’t currently enrolled because she had missed too many days. Unenrollment due to absences is in direct violation of school policy, but Jane’s mother couldn’t get any help...

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5 Things I learned from Kate (or trauma-informed care 101)

Legal advocate Kate Miller travels all over the city to meet with clients who are homeless with severe mental illness. She helps them get disability benefits. One Wednesday, I tagged along to see her work in action. It was a day full of perspective. Here are just five of the things I learned: 1. Small successes can be huge. Early in the day, one man agreed to a mental health evaluation. I didn’t realize the gravity of this decision until he left and Kate rejoiced, stating that his willingness to undergo the assessment demonstrates huge progress, not only for his case, but for his mental health as well. By agreeing to a simple mental health evaluation that will likely demonstrate that he cannot work, he is taking a huge step in achieving benefits and receiving care. 2. Great partners...

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