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2013 November - December

Advocacy Campaigns that Work

A New Training Resource Based on Stories from the Field

By Steven Eppler-Epstein & Ellen Hemley

The Shriver Center's new advocacy campaign training and best practices manual are built around the fundamental starting point of all campaigns, that to be successful we must enhance the influence that low-income communities have in relation to a particular goal. A campaign gains influence through its deep understanding of "vision," "targets," "tools," and "moments" of influence.

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The Supreme Court’s 2012–2013 Term

Restrictions on Court Access Just “Too Darn Bad”

By Jane Perkins, Gill Deford, Gary F. Smith & Mona Tawatao

Government surveillance and same-sex marriage led off the high-profile federal court access cases that the U.S. Supreme Court decided last Term, but the Court decided many other access cases as well, ruling on issues such as sovereign immunity, arbitration, deference, and preemption. The last attracted particular attention from the Court, which handed down seven noteworthy preemption decisions; most of these, surprisingly, were unanimous. Two Title VII decisions will make proving employment discrimination more difficult for plaintiffs.

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Contracts for Deed

Charting Risks and New Paths for Advocacy

By Heather K. Way & Lucy Wood

The foreclosure crisis has not dislodged homeownership from its central place in the American dream. For low-income homebuyers who cannot qualify for traditional mortgage financing, seller financing sometimes appears to be a magic wand that will open the door to their new homes. Unfortunately, one form of seller financing, the contract for deed, has been used to abuse low-income buyers across the country for years. Texas and other states have been reforming this practice, but vulnerable homebuyers still need more advocacy and legislative action to help them purchase homes safely.

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No Child Left Behind? Representing Youth and Families in Truancy Matters

By Brenda McGee & Dean Hill Rivkin

Truancy disproportionately affects low-income children and families, but it remains off the radar of most legal services programs. Those programs, however, are the ideal place to tackle the problems at the root of truancy and keep children from ever entering the Juvenile court system. Legal services programs can screen for truancy at intake and can head it off with advocacy in special education, school discipline, health care, mental health services, or housing or a combination of these specialties.

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Medical-Legal Partnerships in the Age of the Affordable Care Act

By Diane M. Goffinet, James A. Teufel, Diane Land, Andrew Weaver & Woody Thorne

Medical-legal partnerships have been dismantling legal barriers that affect health since before the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership was created in 2005. But will medical-legal partnerships still be relevant in the era of the Affordable Care Act? A close look at the experience of one rural medical-legal partnership, Medical-Legal Partnership of Southern Illinois, reveals that the answer to this question is a resounding yes.

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About This Issue

By Ilze Sprudzs Hirsh

Clearinghouse Review's last printed issue taps as always the expertise of advocates nationwide for their analyses and solutions to legal problems affecting low-income families and their communities so that other advocates can learn these best practices and implement innovative legal strategies to help their own clients.

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