Making Justice Real

The Official Blog of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia

Aug 08

2018

Long Lines Persist at DC Safety Net Program Centers

This post was written by 2018 Legal Aid summer interns Tracey Zhang, David Wasserstein, Jenny Jiao, and Shelby Ferguson

Among the most illuminating experiences we had during our internship this summer was the opportunity to make early morning visits to the Department of Human Services (DHS) Service Centers to gather data about the lines of residents waiting outside. The District’s most vulnerable residents wait in line at DHS Service Centers to secure access to vital safety net benefits such as food stamps, health insurance, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Residents can be turned away once Service Centers reach capacity, and therefore often get in line long before sunrise. They must wait outside, even in the summer heat or bitter cold of winter. Many of the waiting customers are elderly, living with disabilities, or accompanied by young children, factors that make long waits even more difficult.

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Aug 02

2018

Generous Associates Campaign Shatters Record, Raises $2.15 Million for Legal Aid

Back in May when we sat down with our Co-Chairs to set the goal for this year’s Campaign, and we decided on a cool $2 million, we did it with the understanding that it was ambitious, and that we were comfortable with the possibility that we were misjudging how much we could raise. Well, we did misjudge it:

Friends, you have gone beyond our wildest expectations and raised $2.150 million for Legal Aid!!! Read more →

Jul 25

2018

New York Enacts Provision Akin to DC’s Custodial Power of Attorney Statute

While the separation of undocumented immigrant parents from their children at the border has received significant media attention, those same immigrant families are still at risk once they settle in the U.S. Families continue to live in fear of deportation and separation. Significantly, the District and several states have legal mechanisms to allow undocumented parents to appoint caregivers and avoid detention or foster care for their children, in case of an emergency separation.

Beginning June 27, 2018, New York now has a process that allows parents at risk of immigration enforcement to plan for the safety of their children by choosing caregivers in the event of the parent’s detention or deportation. Read more →

Jul 24

2018

Vulnerable Families Caught up in DC’s Public School Residency Fraud Investigation

A few months ago, the DC government decided to crack down on alleged residency fraud at a popular DC Public School, the Duke Ellington School of Arts, where many parents — desperate to find the best schooling option for their child — compete to gain their child’s admission. There appear to be many problems with the DC government’s actions, among them the way it handled the findings of its seemingly rash investigation. Families were accused of fraud, threatened with draconian penalties (for example, the government filed lawsuits seeking a combined $800,000 from two families alone), and sent notices without any explanation of the allegations or information about how they could appeal the cases. Read more →

Jul 23

2018

Court of Appeals Ruling Could Ease Access to Safety Net Benefits in DC

On July 19, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals issued an important decision regarding the District of Columbia Department of Human Services’ (DHS) administration of the Program on Work, Empowerment, and Responsibility (POWER). Black v. District of Columbia Department of Human Services, No. 17-AA-5. (POWER is a public assistance program providing cash assistance to certain low- (and no-) income District residents unable to access other public benefit programs.) The POWER program is expressly intended, among other things, to provide benefits to parents who have to stay home to take care of their children. Read more →