Improving Children’s Health Outcomes and Eliminating Barriers to Care
The Center’s Medical-Legal Partnership Project began in 2000 as Connecticut’s first medical-legal collaboration, and the second of its kind in the United States. The MLPP is a national leader, providing interdisciplinary legal intervention and working with partners to address healthcare disparities for children at risk.
We partner with pediatric providers in low income communities to improve access to care and reduce social and environmental factors – such as substandard housing, inadequate income, disability rights, access to education and health care – that adversely affect children’s health.
Our community-based locations allow families to easily access medical-legal services. We are on site at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Yale-New Haven Hospital, Burgdorf/Bank of America Health Center, and Charter Oak Health Center.
Six Basic Questions to Help Medical Providers Assess Family Situation
- Do you have enough food?
- Are your housing conditions safe?
- Is there enough money to pay for basic necessities?
- Do you have problems getting your health insurance to pay for services and medications?
- Is your child receiving an appropriate education?
- Do you have a disabled child who needs support at home, in school, or in the community?
Who is Eligible?
MLPP attorneys provide legal advocacy for low-income families. There is no charge for services. Referrals are received from pediatric and family medicine providers and at MLPP clinics on site at walk-in community healthcare clinics. We represent clients in matters including:
- Medicaid Advocacy
- Public Benefits
- Disability Rights
- Teen Legal Rights
- Educational Rights
- Utility Protection
- Immigrants and Refugees
Working with Medical Providers Changes the Culture of Care
The MLPP trains, supports and collaborates with healthcare and mental health providers to address the complexities of poverty-related health issues:
- Hospital-wide trainings, grand rounds, legal advocacy seminars
- Group sessions for pediatric departments
- Individual consultations
- Presentations to medical, social work and legal providers
- Consultations for community providers
- Training at our partner hospitals and medical schools for students, residents and fellows in pediatric, family medicine, psychiatry programs
Medical-Legal Partnership on Asthma Control: CCA and YNHH
Sasha wanted to play with her friends
In 2014, a family from northwest Connecticut contacted FAVOR, a family support organization for children who have medical, mental, or behavioral health challenges. The family was hoping to persuade the school system to make playground accommodations for their daughter, who is disabled.
FAVOR called the Center for Children’s Advocacy for help.
Sasha has multiple disabilities, and, like other special needs children, has a right under the American Disabilities Act (ADA) to access the school’s playground. Sasha’s mother raised her concern with the town and the school, but was unable to get their attention. CCA attorney Bonnie Roswig understood that this was not only about Sasha being able to play with her friends, but a larger issue for all children with disabilities. She filed an ADA complaint with the federal government and won.
This landmark decision affects schools’ ADA compliance nationwide.
Meet Sasha and her mom on their youtube video.
Changing the System
Healthcare partners collaborate with our MLPP attorneys to identify systemic issues that will lead to improved healthcare outcomes for the most vulnerable children. Priority areas include:
- Legislative reform and advocacy
- Communication with state agencies to address inequities in care
- Enforcement of state and federal protections
Settlement Agreement: US Dept of Justice and Tender Care Learning Centers
June, 2020 – Under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the US Department of Justice has directed Bradford Child Care Services (DBA Tender Care Learning Centers) to accommodate children with epilepsy at all of its facilities operating in the US (over 20 throughout Connecticut and Pennsylvania). Tender Care has been directed to comply with the ADA and not discriminate on the basis of disability. Tender Care must submit written policies and procedures to the US Department of Justice for approval, train staff to administer emergency treatment as needed, communicate the policy change to parents, publish and disseminate their Disability Nondiscrimination Policy, and report compliance annually. The Complaint was brought by CCA attorney Bonnie Roswig, on behalf of a Cheshire parent whose son was discriminated against by Tender Care. Read the Agreement here.
June 2020 – U.S. Attorney John Durham and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Soufer entered into agreements with Wethersfield, Glastonbury, East Lyme and Stamford school districts to require compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act on behalf of school children with diabetes. The Glastonbury and East Lyme settlement agreements were finalized on June 5, 2020; Wethersfield on June 12, 2020; and Stamford on June 18, 2020. These districts specifically had refused to provide oversight for students … read story
Minors’ Access to PrEP – HIV Prevention in Connecticut
CCA Deputy Director Jay Sicklick and MLP attorney Alice Rosenthal worked with Dr. Krystn Wagner of the the Fair Haven Community Health Center to propose and gain passage of legislation, effective July 1, 2019, that increases access to preventative and prophylactic interventions for minors who are at risk of exposure to HIV. Read the facts here.
KinderCare Complaint Settlement: Daycare Access for Children with Diabetes
September, 2017 – KinderCare Education of Portland, Oregon, has entered into a settlement agreement to resolve allegations that KinderCare’s child care programs and other services were not accessible to children with Type 1 diabetes who are dependent on insulin injections, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). KinderCare operates approximately 1,800 facilities in the U.S., and the settlement agreement applies to all of KinderCare’s facilities.
The complaint was filed with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut by the Center for Children’s Advocacy alleging violations of Title III of the ADA. The complaint alleges that KinderCare refused to assist two children who had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes with insulin administration. A third complaint against KinderCare by the parent of another child with Type 1 diabetes was filed by CCA during the course of the investigation. The government determined that KinderCare’s national policy and practice was that staff would not directly administer insulin to children via a syringe or pen. Instead, KinderCare required parents of the children identified in the complaint to appear at its facility to administer the insulin to their children or hire another person, at the parents’ own expense, to do so.
Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations of any place of public accommodation. KinderCare is a private entity that operates child care facilities that are places of “public accommodation” within the meaning of Title III of the ADA.
Under the agreement, KinderCare is obligated to take critical steps toward improving access for children with Type 1 diabetes, including revising its policies and procedures, revising its training, and performing ongoing assessments of the need for reasonable accommodations. For more information, please contact Bonnie Roswig or (860) 545-8581.
Press (Hartford Courant 9-27-18)
HUD Complaint Settlement: Transportation Access for Special Ed Students
Center for Children’s Advocacy filed a Complaint with the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Civil Rights in 2016 based on the refusal of a Wethersfield condo association to allow a special education school bus on to their property to transport a child with autism and diabetes. The HUD settlement agreement ensured that, among other remedies:
- the child’s school bus be allowed on the property
- the condo staff be trained as to their obligations under the Fair Housing Act
- all tenants be informed in writing of the condo associations obligations
- signs be posted on the condo grounds
For more information about this Settlement, please contact Bonnie Roswig or (860) 545-8581.
Jay E. Sicklick
860-570-5327 Fax: 860-570-5256
Director, Disability Rights Project
860-545-8581 Fax: 860-545-9234
CCA MLPP at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center
Senior Staff Attorney
CCA MLPP at Yale New Haven Hospital