Medical-Legal Partnership for Children In Hawaii
Working Alongside Communities
The Medical-Legal Partnership for Children in Hawai'i is a unique collaboration between the William S. Richardson School of Law (University of Hawai'i at Mānoa) and Kōkua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services, a community health center. We seek to address and improve the social determinants of health that impact child and family well-being.
Since April of 2009, MLPC lawyers and doctors have worked on-site at KKV health center to provide free, direct legal services to hundreds of families. MLPC attorneys and law students often meet with families right in the exam rooms, while children wait for their vaccinations and booster shots. MLPC has reached hundreds more through "Know Your Rights" outreach and educational workshops.
MLPC also partners with the communities we serve to identify and address systemic advocacy and health policy issues. This includes working with the Micronesian community to advocate for access to federally-funded healthcare and collaborating with immigrant families, civil rights attorneys, and other advocates to ensure language access rights. We also train UH Law and other graduate students in this model of direct service and public health policy issues, developing a robust curriculum alongside other UH Schools and Departments.
About Medical Legal Partnership for Children In Hawaii (MLPC)
More Than Just Attorneys
How it all began...
After months of planning and consulting with the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership, the Medical-Legal Partnership for Children in Hawai‘i (MLPC) finally began to walk the walk—literally. On two days in July of 2008, three law students and a recent graduate of UH Law School accompanied two health outreach workers from Kokua Kalihi Valley community health center to conduct a door-to-door survey of public housing residents. In addition to learning about health needs in the Kalihi Valley community, we asked public housing residents two questions: “Have you ever used a lawyer or legal services to solve a problem?” and “If you had free access to a lawyer in Kalihi Valley, would you use one?” Not surprisingly, only 2 out of 26 respondents had ever talked to a lawyer before. And nearly all of them wanted access to free legal services in Kalihi Valley.
By April of 2009, MLPC began holding Legal Advocacy Clinics at the Kokua Kalihi Valley (“KKV”) health center located on North School Street, just up the road from Kuhio Park Terrace, Hawaii’s largest public housing sites. The Legal Advocacy Clinics coincide with the KKV Pediatrics Clinics every Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. This allows for seamless legal services for families, and it also provides practical training for law students to work alongside medical residents. In addition to individual family advocacy, the MLPC Hawai‘i team of doctors, health workers, lawyers and law students engage in systemic advocacy to address the social determinants of poor health in low-income and immigrant communities.
Get in Touch With MLPC Hawaii
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2515 Dole Street, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822