Keeping Youth in School
A significant number of youth drop out of high school and end up going to jail and prison each year. If a young man drops out of school, there is about a 70% chance he will end up going to prison, according to GLSP Education Specialist Attorney Ira Foster of our Macon regional office.
Responding to that frightening statistic, Foster and other GLSP attorneys have teamed up with partners in several Georgia communities to hold Youth Summits, where representatives from the school system, the district attorney’s office, the police, as well as youth advocates come together to talk with young people and their parents about the importance of staying in school and making good decisions about the future. The families are also given information about their legal rights to an education, how to stay in school despite disabilities and how to get an education plan drawn up for children with disabilities, as well as about teen dating violence, teen pregnancy and gang violence.
So far, summits have been held in Albany, Columbus, Augusta, Macon, Waycross and Brunswick. Attendance of families and local officials has been good and participants have given great feedback to GLSP and its partners about the information provided.
If your community would benefit from a Youth Summit, call the closest GLSP regional office and ask to set one up. Find your regional office by clicking here.
Enrolling children in school
Georgia Legal Services Program also helps families enroll children in school. All children have a right to be enrolled in school, even if they are not living with their parents and no matter what their immigration status is. Sometimes, however, school officials will try to block enrollment. We have produced a flyer that lists who is eligible to enroll children in school and what documents are required. It is available in both English and Spanish and may be copied and distributed.
Community legal education
GLSP lawyers and paralegals are popular speakers on legal issues in a variety of community settings. We offer talks on legal rights and responsibilities, how to recognize legal problems, and how to prevent problems by planning ahead. Our attorneys will speak on such issues as home repair scams, debt collection abuses, landlord-tenant issues, Social Security, Medicare, Food Stamps, disability, school discipline, wills and advanced directives, and much more. We visit senior citizens centers, community centers, schools, churches, homeless shelters, public health clinics, and other venues. Our staff also appear on local television and radio shows discussing legal issues.
Clinics: GLSP hosts “clinics” that feature volunteer attorneys meeting with potential clients who seek advice or limited assistance on legal matters such as wills, advanced directives, consumer issues, or family law matters. Sometimes called “Ask a Lawyer” days, they are typically held either in a community center or in the GLSP office. For some of the clinics, anyone can come in and ask questions about their own legal issues.
To find a speaker for your community group, contact the regional GLSP office nearest you.
GLSP attorneys train law enforcement and court personnel in how to handle domestic violence incidents and how to be sensitive to survivors. GLSP also helped develop the Domestic Violence Bench Book to help judges find best practices for handling domestic violence cases. You may find that book here: http://icje.uga.edu/domesticviolencebenchbook.html
GLSP also works with community leaders and faith leaders on recognizing and responding to family violence in their communities and congregations. Our domestic violence specialist attorney can help set up this type of training for your community.
Teen Dating Violence Awareness
GLSP lawyers have reached several
thousand teens at their schools with our presentations on teen dating violence, how to prevent it, and what to do if a young person is experiencing it. Using funds from a U.S. Department of Justice grant, GLSP developed outreach brochures and flyers, as well as a curriculum for presentations on this problem that affects a high percentage of Georgia’s young people and sets the stage for later family violence. To arrange for a presentation on Teen Dating Violence, CLICK HERE to contact the GLSP office nearest you.
For more information, click to contact Public Information Specialist Susan Wells.