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 working in the UIC Coordination of Healthcare for Complex Kids (CHECK) partnership, shared a particularly meaningful success.

She overheard a community health worker say that he had gotten a child Early Intervention (EI) services. Sarah perked up and asked the man about his experience. Supplied only with the information received in the trainings conducted by Legal Council staff, he had identified the need for EI and helped the family complete the appropriate paperwork, successfully getting services for the child.

This success may seem small, but it demonstrates the sustainability of the Legal Council’s work in a huge way. The Legal Council trains medical residents, doctors, social workers, and in this case, community health workers to recognize health-harming legal needs and, if possible, how to address them. While legal advocates at the Council are eager to help, we also want people to advocate for themselves and their patients directly. One advocate could train tens, even hundreds of service providers, and each one carries on our mission after the training is done. When we hear a community health worker that we trained got a child EI that needed those services, we know we are doing good work.