Children and Families Project
In 1994, in response to the growing number of homeless children living in shelters in Philadelphia, HAP created a project to serve the needs of children and families. The Children and Families Project conducts specialized legal clinics at the Citys largest family shelters. These clinics attempt to address some of the most urgent legal needs of homeless children, including access to federal disability funds and special education services.
The Children and Families Project also provides legal assistance to families with children who have lost or are threatened with a loss of their TANF benefits as a result of welfare reform. Part of the Projects role is to inform families about work requirements and possible exemptions thereto. HAP is working to ensure that sanctions are not unfairly imposed on families struggling with these work requirements. Additionally, HAP is working to appeal improper sanctions imposed by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare in an effort to protect vulnerable families from the permanent loss of welfare benefits.
In March 2001, HAPs Board of Directors expanded the Children and Families Projects mission to include the provision of assistance to families in the resolution of family law matters, including those regarding child custody and child support. The Project works to maintain family unification in the face of the numerous pressures that tend to break families apart when they become homeless. In addition, the Project attempts to help custodial parents who are homeless or at risk of homelessness to obtain child support either through the establishment of new orders of support or the enforcement of existing orders.
For more information or to volunteer for this project, please call 215-523-9595, or email HAP staff attorney Laura Kolb at email@example.com.