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January 2015 Update
Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia  
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Healthcare Update: Big Win in FL Medicaid Case
Florida Medicaid Case Plaintiffs
Just before the new year, we received a tremendous ruling in our decade-long case challenging Florida's failure to provide medical and dental services to children living in poverty. Judge Adalberto Jordan found that 1.9 million Florida children who depend on the state Medicaid program for their medical and dental insurance are not receiving the care required by federal law. Now-retired Law Center attorney James Eiseman and Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP brought this case back in 2005. Judge Jordan found that hundreds of thousands of children did not receive even one of the check-ups they need in a year, even newborns; less than a quarter of 1- and 2-year-olds who should have received lead screenings received one; the state faces a "crisis" in the availability of specialists to treat children enrolled in Medicaid; and only a small fraction of the children received any dental care at all. Click here to read the Court's 153-page decision and learn more about the case.
Pro Bono Spotlight: Stuart Singer of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP
Stuart Singer
Our first pro bono partner of the month in 2015 is Stuart Singer from Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, our partner in the above-mentioned Florida Medicaid case. He said of his time working on the case, "This [outcome] would not have been possible without the Law Center's dedication to litigating cases that would otherwise not be brought and which defend and advance the public interest. I am delighted that our firm is working together with PILCOP on these issues. It is precisely the type of public interest pro bono work we aspire as lawyers to do." 

Show your support for Stuart by heading to our Facebook page now and liking our post about him! 
Law Center Update: Barristers' MLK Award
Jennifer Clarke
At its annual breakfast on MLK Day, The Barristers' Association of Philadelphia awarded the Law Center the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for Outstanding Service to the Community. Executive director Jennifer Clarke accepted this award noting, "We are so honored to be recognized by the Barristers, a group that inspires us all with its commitment to racial equality." The award was presented after a moving introduction by Temple Law's Dean JoAnne Epps, a member of the Law Center's advisory board. She noted: "PILCOP is there when needed. It consistently does more than we can hope for. The lives of our children are better because of PILCOP. PILCOP walks the walk of its commitments. And PILCOP cares - all of the time, improving the lives of Philadelphia's most disadvantaged citizens." Thank you, Barristers'! 
Education Update: School Funding Lawsuit Moves Forward
Client Sheila Armstrong

In mid-January, state officials filed briefs supporting their motion to dismiss our lawsuit alleging that Pennsylvania's public education funding scheme is unconstitutional. As expected, state officials argued that older cases, decided before there were state standards or a costing-out study, should apply to this case; those old cases held that a claimed violation of the educational clause of the constitution cannot be decided by the courts. We will file our responsive brief by February 17th. Oral arguments will be held before an en banc panel sometime between March 10th - 12th. Keep an eye out for future emails once a date and time are finalized. If you're interested in diving further into the suit, you can read all of the case documents here. And if you haven't yet watched the related video, click here to take just four minutes out of your day to hear from clients in this case.

Special Ed Training: Children with Emotional Problems
Join us on Tuesday, February 17 from 1 to 4 PM to learn how to navigate the special education system in order to assist children who are either at home, in foster care, or in the juvenile court system and are not receiving sufficient services. CLE credits are available for participating attorneys, and Act 48 and continuing education credits are available for teachers and social workers.

Board Member of the Month: Donald Joseph
This month we recognize Donald Josepha visiting associate professor at Rutgers School of Law, Camden, where he teaches Poverty Law; Business, Ethics and Law; Legal Research and Writing; and Professionalism. He has been a board member for decades, including spending time as Board Chair. He said about his time with the Law Center, "The impact work it does is meaningful and important; the quality is first rate; and the people are committed and down to earth with great values. I gain much satisfaction from being associated with this gem of a public interest law firm in Philadelphia and its achievements." Thank you, Donald, for all that you have done and continue to do for the Law Center's clients!

Special Ed Update: One-to-One Aides and Extended School Years services
We recently helped E.W., a 5th-grade student who needs emotional support due to experiencing homelessness and bullying. E.W.'s one-to-one aide was improperly taken away from him, but we litigated to bring back his aide services. Our success will likely help many other students like E.W., as the School District of Philadelphia has too often failed to ensure that children who need aides receive them. E.W.'s parent said, "I am pleased and encouraged to have regained the rights and services displaced under the supervision of the School District...It is a step in the right direction, but there are challenges ahead, none of which should be taken lightly."

We also successfully advocated for an 8th grader with autism in a case against the School District of Philadelphia's failure to individualize Extended School Year programs during school breaks. As is the case for too many other students, the District did not meaningfully propose a customized Extended School Year plan for this student, who is one of three named plaintiffs in a related class action we filed last fall on this widespread problem.
Law Center News: Follow us on Social Media and Further Reading
What you see here is only a portion of the work the Law Center has done over the past month. You can read more about our work below, but make sure to follow us on social media for daily updates!
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