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2002 September - October

South Brooklyn Legal Services' Child Care Network Support Project

How Legal Aid Programs Can Support Family Child Care

By David Ehrenberg & Raun J. Rasmussen

South Brooklyn Legal Services' work with New York City's child care networks benefits both family day care providers and low-income legal aid clients who need child care subsidies to make the transition from welfare to work. The project undertakes to correct illegal agency practices in making subsidy payments, helps providers obtain and renew their licenses, represents providers whose landlords try to impose additional rent charges or evict them for providing child care, and advises providers on insurance and tax matters.

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The Prevailing Winds After Buckhannon

By Gill Deford

The U.S. Supreme Court, in 2001's Buckhannon Board and Care Home Inc., rejected the "catalyst theory" for determining whether a party prevails in an attorney-fee motion. The lower courts, in applying Buckhannon to most of the fee-shifting statutes that they are considering, have been taking various approaches to determining what constitutes a "prevailing party." Attorneys who plan to seek fees for their work should pay close attention to developments in this fast-breaking area.

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Parenting in the Face of Prejudice

The Need for Representation for Parents with Mental Illness

By Colby Brunt & Leigh Goodmark

Misconceptions and misgivings about the ability to parent while dealing with mental illness abound. Although mental illness can render some individuals unfit to parent, the vast majority of mentally ill parents simply need access to services and supports that will help them parent effectively. One important, often overlooked, service is legal assistance. Parents with mental illness must have skilled and knowledgeable legal representation when the issues of child protection, termination of parental rights, custody, visitation, and the patient-psychotherapist privilege arise.

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