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1999 September - October

Right to Counsel in Guardianship Proceedings

By Elizabeth R. Calhoun & Suzanna L. Basinger

The right to counsel in a judicial proceeding where a person may be deprived of one or more liberty interests is basic to the American system of jurisprudence. Although a petition for guardianship is an obvious threat to the rights and liberties of the individual in question, some debate remains about the extent to which procedural safeguards are needed. The resulting lack of uniformity among state guardianship laws highlights the conflicting theories that continue to surround guardianship and issues of incapacity.

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New Barriers to Public Benefits and Related Litigation

By Vicki Gottlich, Gerald A. McIntyre, Herbert Semmel & Ethel Zelenske

Some recent Supreme Court and federal circuit court of appeals case law appears to impede the advocate's ability to litigate public benefits and related matters. Potential barriers affect the choice of forum, the issues that may be raised, who can be named as a defendant, and the relief that may be requested.

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Helping Low-Income People Get Decent Jobs

One Legal Services Program's Approach

By Nona Liegeois, Francisca Gonzalez Baxa & Barbara Corkrey

Community economic development is strengthening the infrastructure of low-income communities and improving residents' financial well-being. The Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles has been active in building coalitions among residents, communities, and businesses, and the consequent economic improvement is notable.

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The New State Children's Health Insurance Programs

How Is the Quality of Care Being Monitored?

By Jeanne Finberg & Jennifer Gully

Advocates across the country celebrated the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, which contained legislation that infused billions of dollars into the health care coffers of states choosing to provide health insurance to children in need. Children's Health Insurance Programs (or CHIPs as they are popularly known) promise to reduce drastically the number of uninsured children in the United States. Access to health care, however, is only part of the story. The quality of care for low-income families is not often paid enough attention. The monitoring efforts of one state, California, are examined.

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Access to Public Benefits for Battered Immigrant Women and Children

By Leslye Orloff

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRA) and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996 significantly reduced access to federal public benefits for most immigrants. However, these laws also expanded access to public benefits for some battered immigrants who had been ineligible for assistance. Some immigrants, including some battered immigrants, remain eligible for certain public benefits, and the PRA grants access to some federal benefits to "qualified aliens." With certain provisos, current law makes battered immigrants eligible for public benefits.

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