Update on the Community Advocacy Program (CAP)
CAP is the medical-legal partnership between Legal Aid and The MetroHealth System. The collaboration brings much-needed legal and healthcare advocacy to patients and Cleveland’s low-income neighborhoods by removing legal barriers to health and educating healthcare providers about patients’ legal rights.
- With the Cleveland Police Department, CAP staff attorney Megan Sprecher created a Divisional Notice concerning UNonimmigrant Status Certification (U Visas). The notice outlines policy for officers regarding U Visas, which are available to non-citizens who have suffered substantial physical/mental abuse as a result of criminal activity and who have been helpful in the investigation or prosecution of a crime. The U Visa was established to encourage immigrants to report crimes – which they often do not, due to fear of immigration consequences or mistrust of the criminal justice system.
- CAP staff attorney Lucas Caldwell-McMillan partnered with MetroHealth pediatric resident Vijender Karody, M.D. to create the Karody Special Education Calculator. Low-income children with special education needs risk denial of services because they are not evaluated in a timely manner. The calculator aids the explanation of special education processes and deadlines to parents. To date, CAP has distributed more than 100 calculators.
- Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law will begin a medical-legal partnership clinic in the 2009-2010 school year – allowing law students, under supervision of Professor Pamela Daiker-Middaugh, to take medical-legal cases via CAP’s intake. The collaboration will expand CAP’s ability to serve a higher number of clients and expose law students to multi-disciplinary responses to poverty.
- The fourth National Medical-Legal Partnership Summit will be held in Cleveland on March 26 and 27. The annual conference brings together physicians, attorneys, nurses, social workers, and public officials to share and exchange best practices and medical-legal partnership models. CAP attorneys and medical partners from MetroHealth will present at various sessions throughout the summit, and Pulitzer Prize-winning Plain Dealer columnist Connie Schultz will give the keynote address.