Low- and moderate-income families raising children with disabilities face numerous challenges navigating the legal and health care systems. To assist them, Ballard Spahr is partnering with the world-renowned Kennedy Krieger Institute to provide pro bono support through Project HEAL (Health, Education, Advocacy, and Law).
Project HEAL, a community-based program of the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities at Kennedy Krieger, is a comprehensive medical-legal partnership offering advocacy and legal services to low- and moderate-income families. The program helps families receive appropriate special education and related services through local school systems, appeal inappropriate denials of disability payments under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, challenge school disciplinary actions, and obtain representation in simple family law matters.
“Receiving appropriate educational services is just one of many legal obstacles that children with disabilities face in their daily lives,” said Amy M. McClain, a real estate partner in Ballard Spahr’s Baltimore office who is overseeing the firm’s partnership with Project HEAL. “These children and their families also must fight for access to affordable housing and higher education, as well as confront issues related to family law and estate planning. Ballard Spahr can connect Project HEAL families with a full range of legal services.”
Kennedy Krieger serves 20,000 children a year through inpatient and outpatient clinics, home and community services, and school-based programs. Founded in 2005, Project HEAL provides representation to more than 330 families annually, charging fees on a sliding scale. In addition to legal services, the program offers case consultations and professional trainings to Kennedy Krieger health care professionals, as well as community trainings for service providers, consumers, parents, guardians, and pro bono attorneys.
“Kennedy Krieger provides clinical social work services for families with a high number of legal, medical, and mental health needs. The number of families who need access to Project HEAL far exceeds their limited resources, so I am thrilled that Ballard Spahr will assist Project HEAL with the unmet legal needs of our families,” said Mary Snyder-Vogel, Director of Social Work at Kennedy Krieger.
Ballard Spahr attorneys are well known for giving back to the community by participating in community service projects, serving on the boards of local nonprofit organizations, and performing pro bono legal work. Since the Baltimore office opened in 1992, its attorneys have provided more than 30,000 hours of pro bono legal services to the community.