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Beyond Shame & Stigma

Posted by on Feb 20, 2018 in Around the Council | 0 comments

Beyond Shame & Stigma

Our sold out panel discussion “HIV Criminalization: Beyond Shame & Stigma,” co-sponsored with our friends at TPAN, was a great success this past Thursday, Feb 15. The expert panel included Maurice Chapman formerly of South Suburban HIV/AIDS Regional Clinics, Dr. Trevor Hoppe of SUNY-Albany and author of Punishing Disease, Vera Lamarr of Sex Workers Outreach Project, and Scott Schoettes of Lambda Legal.

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CPS Special Ed under investigation

Posted by on Feb 13, 2018 in Home Page Sliders, Special education | 0 comments

CPS Special Ed under investigation

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has begun a “Public Inquiry” into CPS’s handling of special education concerns in response to a coordinated effort by Legal Council for Health Justice and other educational advocacy organizations and groups representing parents, teachers and principals.  As part of its investigation, ISBE will conduct public hearings where parents and guardians can testify or submit written testimony about their experiences with Special Education in CPS. Examples of issues faced might include: The IEP/504 team wanted to include a service or support, but the school said they don’t have authority to make the decision (for example, an aide or extended school year). The IEP/504 seemed to be finished, but then someone went in and changed the plan after the meeting. The computer system would not let the case manager “in” to include or add a service. A student’s transportation was denied or eliminated without the parent/guardian’s consent. A student’s school was determined according to available bus routes. The Public Inquiry Team is looking for evidence that CPS has prevented or delayed the delivery of appropriate services to diverse learners during the last two years. There are three ways to provide evidence: Parents/guardians can contact Legal Council for Health Justice and we will collect your stories as part of our own submission. Please contact us no later than February 21. Parents/guardians can submit their own affidavit. We are happy to help with this; the form at present is difficult to navigate. Individual submissions are due February 21. The Inquiry Team has two days available for in-person testimonies. Individuals will speak for up to five minutes in the order they sign in. All testimony is private. Dates and location below: February 16: Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph, rooms 2-027 and 2-029. Note that you will be required to go through security prior to getting on the elevators to the 14th floor. Please bring a state identification. Time Slot #1: 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM Time Slot #2: 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM Time Slot #3: 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM February 21: Center for Conflict Resolution, 11 E. Adams Street from 6 PM to 8 PM. View our letters to CPS Special Ed families here for more information (here in Spanish), or contact Barbara Cohen at bcohen@legalcouncil.org or 312-605-1948. Speak up if your child isn’t getting the learning services they need and deserve....

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Client focus: Kenneth

Posted by on Feb 1, 2018 in Client Stories | 0 comments

Client focus: Kenneth

Coming from a chaotic and abusive household–where his mother would abuse him both physically and mentally–Kenneth had few resources.

Though he suffered from depression that dated back to his childhood, Kenneth was still able to get his Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) degree and worked as a nurse for five years at a hospital in Virginia. It was during this time that Kenneth first pulled his back while lifting a patient at work. Shortly thereafter, he lost his job. After this, Kenneth’s depression grew as he went from working as a nurse, to becoming a construction worker, to working maintenance at a fast food restaurant, to eventually becoming unemployed and homeless.

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On to 2018

Posted by on Dec 19, 2017 in Around the Council | 0 comments

On to 2018

Did you know that we have a big birthday coming up? Legal Council is turning 30!

Together we have accomplished so much in those 30 years. Your support has provided tens of thousands of people facing illness and disability with the opportunity to pursue their full potential. But the political climate is working against us all. This will likely be one of the most challenging years ever.

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ISBE can you hear me?

Posted by on Nov 17, 2017 in Advocacy | 0 comments

ISBE can you hear me?

(Nov. 17, 2017) Advocates held a press conference at Chicago’s Thompson Center this morning. Thirteen legal and education groups including Legal Council for Health Justice sent an open letter to the Illinois State Board of Education today, requesting an independent investigation of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Special Education program in light of investigative journalism from WBEZ revealing undisclosed budget cuts and creation of a secret manual mandating policies resulting in decreased provision of Special Education services. Read the full letter here. UPDATE (Dec. 15, 2017): One week after the resignation of CPS CEO Forrest Claypool as a result of an unrelated ethics probe, the Illinois State Board of Education announced a public inquiry will be conducted to examine Chicago Public Schools special education practices. Advocates will continue to monitor. Related links: CPS Secretly Overhauled Special Education At Students’ Expense, WBEZ, Oct. 2017 Illinois State Board of Education announcement to investigate systemic issues (audio only), Dec. 13, 2017 State panel to examine special education practices at Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Tribune, Dec. 15, 2017  ...

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New Ways to Combat Lead-Poisoning

Posted by on Nov 10, 2017 in Child health | 0 comments

New Ways to Combat Lead-Poisoning

In 2015, 10,322 kids in Illinois had elevated lead levels in their blood–and that’s only the kids tested. Many children don’t have access or aren’t eligible for the services necessary to help children after lead exposure. Those services are called Early Intervention.

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Thank your local congressperson

Posted by on Oct 18, 2017 in Advocacy, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Thank your local congressperson

Nine hardworking Congresspeople sent a letter demanding answers to charges of discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS by insurance plans. The letter was signed by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL), Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL), Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-IL), Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), and Rep. John Lewis (D-GA).

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Special education expose

Posted by on Oct 17, 2017 in Advocacy, Special education | 0 comments

Special education expose

First in a series of investigative reporting from WBEZ reveals the Chicago Public Schools overhauled special education and relied on a “secret” set of guidelines “that resulted in limiting services for special education students, services like busing, one-on-one aides, and summer school.”

Our child health policy leader Amy Zimmerman is quoted extensively. Some excerpts below. Read the entire article here.

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Graham-Cassidy

Posted by on Sep 25, 2017 in Advocacy | 0 comments

Graham-Cassidy

Excerpted from our comments submitted by policy director Carrie Chapman to the Senate Finance Committee Hearing on Graham-Cassidy Bill: If this proposal succeeds, the devastating financial impact on Illinois is clear (Avalere Health, September 20, 2017). By shifting Medicaid expansion funds and the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) financial assistance into the “Market Based Health Care Block Grant Program,” Illinois will lose $8 billion dollars between 2020 and 2026 as a penalty for expanding Medicaid in our state—a lawful and fiscally wise decision for Illinois. When this block grant expires, Illinois will lose $10 billion in 2027 alone. When taken together with other reforms in the proposal, including a dangerous per-capita-cap for the traditional Medicaid program, Illinois will lose a total of $153 billion in federal funding for health care, more than all but four other states. This is a patent violation of the compact that Congress created with the states in the Medicaid program and an unfair use of federal power to disadvantage states. Read the entire statement here....

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Stay-put protections

Posted by on Aug 22, 2017 in School Issues, Special education | 0 comments

Stay-put protections

Governor Rauner signs a bill drafted by Legal Council for Health Justice which clarifies and strengthens the ability of parents and guardians to pursue mediation where there are disagreements with the school about their child’s special education services. In addition to clarifying the process for children to continue to receive special education services during the entire mediation process (called “stay-put protections”), the bill also requires updating of the Notice of Procedural Safeguards for special education that parents must receive. This notice had not been updated since 2009!

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