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2012 January - February

Protection v. Presentment

When Youths in Foster Care Become Respondents in Child Welfare Proceedings

By Sandy Rosin, Chloe Junge & Rebecca Horwitz

Teens in foster care face many challenges. If a teen parent in foster care becomes a respondent in a family court case, she faces another challenge: the same child welfare agency responsible for her welfare as a subject child is, in many jurisdictions, the same agency responsible for proving that she is a neglectful or abusive parent. Not only does this raise issues of trust for the teen parent, but also, because the child welfare agency has a parens patriae relationship with the teen parent, the agency has access to her confidential medical and mental health history, which the agency often uses to the parent’s disadvantage. Is this double role right and lawful? If not, what should child welfare agencies be doing about it?

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Using Fair Labor Standards Act Litigation to Support Immigrant Worker Organizing

Turning Direct Legal Services into Impact Litigation

By Hollis V. Pfitsch

Unpaid wage claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act can support immigrant-worker organizing campaigns. Legal services organizations should prioritize wage-theft litigation with worker centers, as clients see better case results and extend the reach of the litigation to broader change. Advocates must beware of discovery tactics and retaliation aimed at stifling immigrant clients’ participation in employment cases.

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Leveraging the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s Nonprofit Hospital Requirements to Expand Access and Improve Health in Low-Income Communities

By Anna Dunbar-Hester, Jessica Curtis & Corey S. Davis

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act amended the tax code to improve the community benefit delivered by nonprofit hospitals. The Act protects against aggressive billing and debt collection, encourages transparency in financial assistance policies, and requires public health and community input in assessing and meeting community health needs. Advocates can push for stronger protections on the state and local level by monitoring compliance, educating officials and consumers, and participating in community-health-needs assessments.

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Responding to Medicaid Service Cutbacks

An Advocate’s Checklist

By Jane Perkins

Helping low-income clients with medicaid problems is a complicated endeavor in the best of times. With the economic recession prompting states to cut Medicaid spending by reducing provider payments and covered benefits, advocates for these clients face an even greater challenge. Even in tough economic times, however, states have to follow state and federal law when the cut Medicaid services. The states’ errors often follow similar patterns, and advocates who understand those patterns are better situated to help their clients.

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The Great Medicaid Expansion of 2014

What It Is and How to Make It Succeed

By Rachel Gielau & Andrea Kovach

A major aspect of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the health reform law signed in 2010, was to bring health insurance coverage--by broadening Medicaid eligibility to cover people up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level--to some sixteen million U.S. residents who go without it. States are now making choices about how they will implement this expansion, to take effect in 2014. As states decide, advocates should weigh in to make sure that the Act’s promise of quality, affordable health coverage, especially for vulnerable populations, is fulfilled.

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