Health Law Partnership
Interdisciplinary community collaboration
The center participates in the Health Law Partnership (HeLP), an innovative community collaboration among the Center for Law, Health & Society, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Inc., and the Atlanta Legal Aid Society. Established in 2004, HeLP works to improve the health and well being of low-income children and their families.
The HeLP Legal Services Clinic at the law school is part of this community collaboration. The Clinic gives law students the opportunity both to serve our community as well to gain hands-on legal experience in representing clients in an interdisciplinary setting. (Watch a short video about HeLP.)
HeLP’s mission is to address the multiple determinants of low-income children’s health and well-being by combining the expertise of health care and legal professionals in a sustained community partnership.
HeLP’s overall goals are four-fold:
- to provide direct legal services to low-income families whose children are patients at Children’s hospitals;
- to provide interdisciplinary education related to the legal and social issues facing HeLP’s clients;
- to promote advocacy on behalf of children’s health and well being; and
- to engage in on-going evaluation and research of HeLP’s operations and impact on the community so that it can serve as a model demonstration project for other health care institutions, legal services organizations, and law schools who wish to develop similar medical-legal partnerships.
HeLP has opened three legal services clinics on the hospital campuses of Children’s at Egleston, Children’s at Scottish Rite, and Children’s at Hughes Spalding in Atlanta to provide legal services to low-income families whose children are patients at the hospitals. Although HeLP is based in Atlanta, children and families served by HeLP through Children’s come from all over the state.
HeLP opened the HeLP Legal Services Clinic at the law school in January 2007. This clinic allows HeLP to increase its case load, thereby increasing its direct services to low-income families. This new clinic also provides a model interdisciplinary educational program to train future legal and health professionals to work together to address the socio-economic needs and legal rights of children and families, especially those from poor and under-served communities.
Typical legal cases addressed by HeLP include housing issues, medical and other benefits, family law, special education, freedom from domestic violence, and consumer and employment issues. HeLP does not take medical malpractice, immigration, or criminal cases.
To qualify for HeLP’s services, a family must be at or below 200% of the federal poverty level, which is an annual salary of about $44,100 for a family of four. Many of HeLP’s families live below 100% of the federal poverty level, which is less than $22,050 per year for a family of four. Over 50% of Children’s patient families qualify for HeLP’s services.