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FY25 Budget Testimony: Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants

April 25, 2024

Children’s Law Center Director of Special Legal Projects Kathy Zeisel testified before the DC Council’s Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety about the Access to Justice Initiative budget.

The Initiative is a critical part of the District’s safety net. The Mayor’s proposed 67% cut to the Initiative’s budget will lead to potentially catastrophic consequences for the thousands of DC residents who rely on the legal help provided by the programs that the Initiative funds.

Kathy shared how, with the help of Access to Justice funding, Children’s Law Center is able to:

  • Reach approximately 600 children and families each year;
  • Resolve problems that impact children’s health related to housing conditions, housing security, special education, school choice, developmental issues for infants and toddlers, bullying, health care access, public benefits, guardianship and custody;
  • Meet families in their own neighborhoods by making lawyers part of the medical teams at THEARC, the Children’s National Anacostia Clinic and Unity on Minnesota Avenue along with five other clinics and health care centers across the District;
  • Give hundreds of parents and caregivers the information they need to advocate for their own children;
  • Train 75+ pediatricians and other medical staff each year to solve problems related to housing, school and public benefits that are impacting a child’s health – and prevent the need for a lawyer; and
  • Avoid $14.1M in Medicaid costs over a three-year period (for entire Healthy Together program).