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2003 May - June

The TANF Child Care Collaborative

Responding to a Changed Environment for Subsidized Child Care

By Anne Erickson, Henry A. Freedman, Marcia Henry, Eve Hershcopf, Sherry Leiwant, Daniel Lesser, Marcia C. Rachofsky & Nancy Strohl

When the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program imposed work requirements on welfare recipients, advocates had to assist clients with difficult child care problems. In response to these challenges, three national legal advocacy groups launched the TANF Child Care Collaborative to support state and local organizations advocating improved child care for low-income families. The collaborative focused on increasing the capacity of state and local advocates to address child care issues in Illinois, New York, and Texas.

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Closing the Courthouse Doors

By Erwin Chemerinsky

Not only have recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions created substantial obstacles to civil rights litigation, but, more perniciously, most of the Rehnquist Court's civil rights cases show a profound disrespect for the importance of the availability of the judicial process to injured individuals. The consistent theme that unites these recent decisions is how they close the courthouse doors to those whose rights have been violated. Although there are no easy solutions, there are avenues for reopening the courthouse doors to civil rights litigants.

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Bridging the Gap

A Practical Guide to Civil-Defender Collaboration.

By McGregor Smyth

When low-income clients are charged with criminal offenses, the disposition of the cases often has significant civil implications. Public defenders are often unaware of these implications, however, and legal aid attorneys are often unaware of their clients' involvement in the criminal justice system. Lawyers for the poor should work to bridge this gap; the result will be better service to their clients.

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Opening a Door to Help

Legal Services Programs' Key Role in Representing Battered Immigrant Women and Children

By Leslye Orloff, Amanda Baran, Laura A. Martinez- McIntosh & Jennifer Rose

Civil orders of protection are an important tool in thwarting domestic violence, but most victims, especially immigrants, need legal representation to ensure meaningful access to this tool. Programs funded by the Legal Services Corporation are prohibited from representing many immigrants, but the Kennedy Amendment exempts many battered immigrant women and children from this restriction. Under the amendment, such funded programs may represent otherwise ineligible immigrant women and children on a wide range of matters, provided that the service is directly related to the abuse.

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Mental Illness and Domestic Violence

Implications for Family Law Litigation

By Denice Wolf Markham

Experts find that a large percentage of battered women have significant mental health issues. Prejudice in family courts regarding mental health conditions can cost these women custody of their children. However, lawyers representing battered women can effectively raise the issue of mental illness and use mental health treatment evidence in ways that mitigate the stigma, potentially help the client prove her case, and over time erode the prejudice.

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Breaking the Cycle of Defeat for "Deadbroke" Noncustodial Parents Through Advocacy on Child Support Issues

By Daniel L. Hatcher & Hannah Lieberman

Low-income noncustodial parents face employment and economic barriers that are caused by federal and state child support policies and local practices. Maryland's Legal Aid Bureau launched a project to tackle these barriers and has developed successful advocacy responses to their clients' recurrent problems.

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