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Good News Report
DRLC Newsletter

Friday, February 18, 2011

DRLC Publishes Free Guide to Help Families
Access Benefits for Children with Disabilities


This week the DRLC published the Children's Benefits Access Guide. The guide provides a comprehensive listing and explanation of health care and related benefits for children with disabilities in Los Angeles County.

Cover Page of Children's Benefits Access Guide
Children's Benefits Access Guide cover


It also features helpful telephone numbers, website links, explanations of new developments related to the state budget, flowcharts and other useful information, all in one easy to locate resource. Readers can look up information in different ways, learning about the programs through the Q&A chapters, as well as charts describing benefits.


Parents and caregivers are often confused and frustrated when trying to determine the agency responsible for available benefits when so many offer services for children with disabilities. Adding to the confusion, each program has unique eligibility and coverage requirements. Families can spend valuable time trying to understand complicated programs like California Children's Services, or miss out on key benefits, such as "institutional deeming" or In Home Supportive Services.


"Our goal is to help parents learn more about the benefits that are available and that might support them and their children. We hope that it will provide the dedicated professionals working with children with disabilities and their families with a useful tool that will clarify the responsibilities of the various entities that provide benefits and the relationships among them," explained Audrey Kraus, the guide's author and director of the Children's Benefits Access Project.


The guide was funded by L.A. Care Health Plan, the nation's largest public health plan, and will benefit low-income and uninsured residents of Los Angeles County. 


"Our hope is that this benefits guide will make it easier for children with disabilities, and their families and caregivers, to get the services they're entitled to. Too often, children seeking healthcare and social services are ping-ponged from one agency to the next, without a clear roadmap for how to get what they need," said Lisa Kodmur, Services for Seniors and People With Disabilities Program Director, L.A. Care Health Plan. "This guide paves the way for smoother coordination of care and services for children with disabilities and complex medical conditions."


The Guide can be downloaded at no cost from the Disability Rights Legal Center's website.


At a later date, printed copies of the guide will be distributed to clinics, public agencies, nonprofits and regional centers. Ms. Kraus will give free trainings to public employees and families on how to use the guide.


Audrey Kraus has had a long and productive tenure with the Disability Rights Legal Center; previously serving as the center's pro bono program director, and before that as a litigation attorney in the Civil Rights Litigation Project. She also worked as staff attorney for the Center for Health Care Rights, providing Medicare and Medicaid advocacy. Ms. Kraus is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, and Columbia University. She is admitted to the California and Pennsylvania bar.
Shawna Parks Named Attorney of the Year

California Lawyer magazine has honored DRLC Legal Director Shawna L. Parks with a California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year Award. Ms. Parks shares the honor with forty-five attorneys from across the state, including government lawyers, law professors, attorneys from international law firms, public interest lawyers, and members of the Assembly Judiciary Committee. The honorees will be featured in the March 2011 issue of California Lawyer. In selecting Ms. Parks the magazine cited DRLC's work in securing a class action settlement that will bring sweeping reforms in education at Camp Challenger, Los Angeles County's largest juvenile probation facility. Laura L. Faer of Public Counsel, Los Angeles, and Mark Rosenbaum of the ACLU of Southern California, were also honored for their work with the DRLC on the Camp Challenger lawsuit. At the DRLC, Ms. Parks was assisted on the Camp Challenger case by Carly Munson, a former DRCL staff attorney; Surisa Rivers, DRLC staff attorney; and Melissa Newman, DRLC extern and student at Chapman University School of Law.

Save The Date

Hold Saturday Night July 23 for 'Casino Angeleno'


The Cancer Legal Resource Center's Casino Night event is back by popular demand! The CLRC will be hosting its "Casino Angeleno" summer event on Saturday, July 23, 2011. Set on the rooftop deck of the Petersen Automotive Museum, with the Hollywood Hills as a spectacular backdrop, guests will enjoy a starry, summer night of guilt-free gaming, music and prizes. Proceeds will benefit the CLRC. For sponsorship opportunities, click here to download the sponsorship packet, or contact Joanna Morales at joanna.morales@lls.edu. Event details will be posted at www.cancerlegalresourcenter.org in March

Outreach Event for Chinese Parents Association


On February 19, Maggie Hui, the community outreach coordinator, will present Health Care Access Self-Advocacy Training for Chinese Parents Association for the Disabled of Orange County. The main attendees for this event will be parents who are interested in healthcare advocacy on behalf of their children with disabilities. This event will be from 2 to 4 p.m. at Orange County ARC, 225 West Carl Karcher Way, Anaheim, California 92801.

Outreach Staff Begin Office Hours in Garden Grove
Dayle McIntosh Center in Garden Grove
Dayle McIntosh Center in Garden Grove

The Community Outreach Program has begun bimonthly office hours at the Dayle McIntosh Center in Garden Grove. This month, Outreach Staff will be at the center on February 23 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. This is a great opportunity for people in Orange County to meet staff in person and learn about the Americans With Disabilities Act and other disability rights laws. The Dayle McIntosh Center was named in memory of a young woman with a severe physical disability who worked to found the Center in 1977. It is located at 13272 Garden Grove Boulevard, Garden Grove, California 92843-2205.


The online credit card donation feature is available on the Make a Donation page of the DRLC website. This quick and easy function can be used for general donations.  



Visit the How You Can Help page of our website to volunteer as a pro bono attorney on a disability rights case, work as a student law clerk or assist with intake and administrative responsibilities.


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DRLC Staff Photo August 2010
Disability Rights Legal Center Staff Photo August 2010