AUSTIN, TEXAS— Texas Legal Services Center (TLSC) is pleased to announce a generous award of $475,000 from the Texas Access to Justice Foundation’s Legal Aid for Children’s Health & Security (LACHS) grant. The grant will fund a two-part initiative that will transform how families navigate the child welfare system and provide much-needed support to caregivers in Texas.
In the first project, TLSC will develop a free online intake and referral system for anyone in Texas facing legal issues that impact the health and stability of children. This revolutionary measure enables families and young people to easily access legal information, referrals, counsel, and even representation. The new centralized system will seamlessly integrate with referral partners to transfer information and cases. Low-income Texans will have a single entry point to get the legal help they need.
“Because Texas is such a large state, it can be very difficult for Texans to pinpoint where to apply for legal services. Our goal is to take the burden off both families seeking help and legal service organizations so that families receive timely services. The new fully automated and intuitive online intake portal will give Texans 24/7 access to apply for legal assistance and receive customized legal information and referrals,” Sarah Bryant, TLSC Managing Attorney, explains. “When it comes to children’s health and safety, time is often of the essence. Rapid accessibility to legal aid is key.”
"Our goal is to take the burden off both families seeking help and legal service organizations so that families receive timely services." Sarah Bryant, TLSC Managing Attorney
The second project will focus on expanding legal services to often overlooked caregivers to children: their relatives and friends. Over the past six years, the Family Helpline has seen a trend of relative caregivers seeking legal assistance for children in their care. These caregivers usually have no legal rights to the child, hindering their ability to make critical decisions on the child’s behalf and/or receive essential benefits and services. TLSC will begin offering free advice, counsel, document preparation, and representation to this underserved community. TLSC's goal is to empower them with an understanding of their legal options and provide the tools they need to advocate for their families.
The combined efforts of both initiatives aim to create a more equitable and accessible justice system for families and young people across the state. The grant recognizes TLSC’s track record of excellence in legal aid services. TLSC anticipates that the referral and intake system will become a sustainable statewide resource well beyond the initial funding, and at least 200 kinship caregivers will receive legal services through the grant.
TLSC extends its deepest gratitude to Texas Access to Justice Foundation for its generous support.
About Texas Legal Services Center
Texas Legal Services Center is a statewide nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide high-quality legal representation, advice, advocacy, and education at no cost to underserved people across the state. With more than a dozen practice areas, our work touches almost every aspect of civil law that impacts low-income Texans.
About the Texas Access to Justice Foundation
The Texas Access to Justice Foundation (TAJF) is the leading funder of civil legal aid to the poor in Texas. Created in 1984 by the Supreme Court of Texas, TAJF support for civil legal aid benefits hundreds of thousands of low-income Texans annually including victims of crime, abused and neglected children, veterans, the elderly and the homeless.
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