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Washington Lawyer Magazine: Medical-Legal Partnerships for Whole-Person Care

November 2, 2023

Jeremy Conrad of DC Bar features Healthy Together Senior Supervising Attorney, Evan Cass, in the latest issue of Washington Lawyer magazine. Cass dives deep into Children’s Law Center’s medical-legal partnerships with health care clinics around DC:

The partnership allows the Children’s Law Center to resolve issues impacting the health of children that might otherwise go unnoticed. In recent years, the center’s work relating to asthma and housing conditions has led to some revelations.

“We have some really poor housing stock, and I flag that because one of the primary reasons [for referral] is the child has asthma that the doctors have done everything they can medically to address, but the environment that the child is living in is such that they’ll never get better if they continue breathing mold every day,” Cass says.

Children’s Law Center attorney Ashley Close with Children’s National Anacostia Clinic pediatrician, Dr. Nash.

Cass notes the downstream impacts of a health crisis on families — the hospitalization of a child for asthma from a mold infestation can cause a parent to miss work, or a sibling to miss school, resulting in worsened conditions for the entire family.

“[By] fixing the issues that relate to the child, we’re actually helping the whole family system, and that has health impacts, social impacts, and financial impacts for the family,” Cass says.

Since its establishment in 1996, the Children’s
Law Center has represented more than 50,000 District children and families, while also engaging in important advocacy and outreach work. The center’s Healthy Together program works primarily with families whose children have disabilities, asthma, or other medical needs.

“Pediatric issues are our entry point, but, in our work, we are actually able to improve conditions for the whole family,” says Cass.

It’s Time for Healthier and Safer Housing for all DC Residents

When a child lives in unhealthy housing, they are more likely to end up in the ER because their poor housing conditions trigger health issues like asthma. That’s why Children’s Law Center partners with organizations across the city to advocate for healthier housing so that all DC children have the safe housing they need to live healthy lives.

Healthy Housing