TAMU Law and Cook Children's provide free legal services to families

Posted by Texas A&M School of Law on Dec 17, 2020 12:01:50 PM

Legal-Clinics-sign-320sqAs part of an ongoing pursuit to improve the health of every child, Cook Children’s Health Care System is joining forces with Texas A&M School of Law (TAMU Law) to create a new medical-legal partnership. The mission of this collaboration is to provide free legal services to patients and families with legal needs that directly affect their health and access to medical care.

Despite a recognized need, the majority of families at Cook Children’s are unable to access legal services. Social workers at the medical center are often contacted by patient families who have been unsuccessful in qualifying for public benefits, obtaining a guardianship for their incapacitated adult child or communicating with their landlord to remediate unsafe housing issues. These social, economic and environmental factors have a direct impact on a child’s health.

“The health and wellbeing of our patients is impacted by so many factors beyond the scope of traditional medical care,” said Vida Amin, M.D., medical director of Cook Children’s Neighborhood Clinics. “Having an accessible, dedicated resource for our families to turn to for assistance in navigating their legal challenges will be an invaluable addition to the family-centered care we strive to provide every day.”

The medical-legal partnership allows law students the opportunity to develop and apply their skills on behalf of clients who cannot afford legal representation.

“We are giving these children and their families a chance of success by increasing their quality of life by decreasing their unresolved legal needs,” said Robert B. Ahdieh, dean of Texas A&M School of Law.

The collaboration, which officially launched in March 2020, has already assisted dozens of patient families. Felicia Carey is one of the program’s first clients. She was referred to the TAMU Law after her sister passed away, leaving her to care for three teenagers, including a niece diagnosed with spina bifida.

“At first it was very difficult because I lost the paperwork that allowed me guardianship so I could take the children to the doctor,” said Carey. “A social worker at Cook Children’s referred me to the program and it’s been phenomenal. They made a process, which was unbearable, extremely easy.”

Since finalizing her guardianship issues, Carey is now working with TAMU Law on an adult adoption, veterans benefits and developing her will. The program also provides patients and families with access to legal services in family law, housing and public benefits.

“Our job is to prepare compassionate lawyers who will advocate tirelessly for their clients. That’s what sets Texas A&M Law a part from other law schools. We embody our core values, especially selfless service,” said Ahdieh.

About Cook Children’s

Cook Children’s Health Care System embraces an inspiring Promise – to improve the health of every child in our region through the prevention and treatment of illness, disease and injury. Based in Fort Worth, Texas, we’re proud of our long and rich tradition of serving our community.

Our not-for-profit organization encompasses nine companies – a medical center, two surgery centers, a physician network, home health services and a health plan. It also includes Child Study Center at Cook Children's, Cook Children's Health Services Inc., and Cook Children's Health Foundation. With more than 60 primary, specialty and urgent care locations throughout Texas, families can access our top-ranked specialty programs and network of services to meet their unique needs.

We’ve worked to improve the health of children from across our primary service area of Denton, Hood, Johnson, Parker, Tarrant and Wise counties for more than 100 years. Based on the exceptional care we provide, patients travel to Cook Children’s from around the country and the globe to receive life-saving pediatric care built on leading technology, extraordinary collaboration and the art of caring.

Topics: Clinics, faculty and staff, texas a&m school of law, Cook Children's

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About Texas A&M School of Law

Texas A&M School of Law is an American Bar Association-accredited institution located in downtown Fort Worth. Since integrating with Texas A&M University in 2013, the law school has sustained a remarkable upward trajectory — dramatically increasing entering class credentials; improving U.S. News and World Report rankings; hiring more than 30 new faculty members; and adding more than 10 clinics and six global field study destinations. In the past several years the law school has greatly expanded its academic programs to serve the needs of non-lawyer professionals in a variety of complex and highly regulated industries such as cybersecurity, energy and natural resources, finance, and healthcare.

For more information, visit law.tamu.edu.

About Texas A&M University

Texas A&M, established in 1876 as the first public university in Texas, is one of the nation’s largest universities with more than 66,000 students and more than 440,000 living alumni residing in over 150 countries around the world. A tier-one university, Texas A&M holds the rare triple land-, sea- and space-grant designation. Research conducted at Texas A&M represented annual expenditures of more than $905.4 million in fiscal year 2017. Texas A&M’s research creates new knowledge that provides basic, fundamental and applied contributions resulting, in many cases, in economic benefits to the state, nation and world.

About Research at Texas A&M University

As one of the world's leading research institutions, Texas A&M is at the forefront in making significant contributions to scholarship and discovery, including that of science and technology. Research conducted at Texas A&M represented annual expenditures of more than $905.4 million in fiscal year 2017. Texas A&M ranked in the top 20 of the National Science Foundation’s Higher Education Research and Development survey (2016), based on expenditures of more than $892.7 million in fiscal year 2016. Texas A&M’s research creates new knowledge that provides basic, fundamental and applied contributions resulting, in many cases, in economic benefits to the state, nation and world.

To learn more, visit http://research.tamu.edu.