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After William’s mom was admitted to the hospital for pneumonia and tested positive for COVID-19, his grandmother stepped in to take care of him and his siblings. For safety reasons, they couldn’t return home to retrieve his belongings – including his psychiatric medication. Knowing that being without the medication was dangerous, William’s grandmother needed someone who she could count on to help – the Children’s Law Center lawyer who had helped the family before. When she called, Children’s Law Center reached out to our partners at Children’s National and connected the family with the right doctors. They met with William, assessed his mental health needs, and wrote new prescriptions to treat his depression, anxiety and PTSD. His mom is now healthy, and the family is back home together.
My Children’s Law Center lawyers always reminded me that I was more than my status, and that I could have whatever life that I wanted.
When the pandemic struck, 17-year-old Ana sometimes found it hard to concentrate on her studies from home, and she missed her usually busy schedule of classes, clubs and sports. Thankfully, her strong connection to her school-based mental health therapist helped her overcome her anxiety and stress. Children’s Law Center helped connect Ana to therapists from the moment she entered foster care, and today she believes every student should be able to access mental health services through their schools – whether virtually or in-person:
“I think it would be a big help to so many DC students to have access to mental health services they need to deal with stress and depression.”
For Keisha, being in foster care meant being constantly uprooted – moving from one home to the next. Her Children’s Law Center lawyers advocated to give her the security of a stable home, connected Keisha to a therapist to help address her depression, and reduced her financial burdens by having college application fees waived. But it was how her lawyers treated Keisha that meant more than anything. In her own words,
My Children’s Law Center lawyers always reminded me that I was more than my status, and that I could have whatever life that I wanted.”
DC children live in poverty – that’s less than $26,200/year for a family of four – and in our poorest neighborhoods where Children’s Law Center’s clients live, the figure is closer to 1 in 2.
Before the pandemic, 1 in 3 DC middle school students had seriously considered suicide. During the pandemic, mental health-related ER visits increased 31% for children 12-17 years old.
DC students have emotional, physical or learning disabilities. Even before the pandemic, less than 10% performed at grade level – and many are unable to get the attention and support they need through virtual learning.
We need to raise more than $2.5 million from law firms, corporations and individuals to provide free legal services and advocacy for more than 5,000 children and families in the coming year.
“Our children faced daunting problems before the pandemic. Now they need us even more.” – Judith Sandalow
Learn more about sponsorship opportunities and donate today to ensure all DC children can grow up with a stable family, good health and a quality education.
Judges, pediatricians and families call on us to advocate for children who are abused or neglected, who aren’t learning in school or who have health problems that can’t be solved by medicine alone. Councilmembers, DC government officials and advocates turn to us when the District’s laws and policies are failing children and need to be improved.