2014 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Melissa Salamon

Melissa Salamon

Name of Host Organization: Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati
City, State: Hamilton, Ohio
Issue area: Health Care/Medical-Legal Partnership, Family Law
Sponsors: Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation

The Project

Melissa worked to strengthen and stabilize families and children using family and education advocacy to promote their health and well-being through an expansion of the Cincinnati Child Health-Law Partnership (Child HeLP) medical-legal partnership at the Fairfield Primary Pediatric Care Center (PPC).

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
Cincinnati has one of the highest child poverty rates in the country. Living in poverty puts children at risk of failing in school and experiencing behavioral issues. Too often, families living in these circumstances are unable to recognize how legal advocacy can help them achieve more stability and in any case how to access these resources. The expanded medical-legal partnership at the Fairfield PPC addresses the unmet needs of patients struggling with family and education law issues. When doctors refer patients to Child HeLP, legal advocacy helps to improve the mental and physical health and wellbeing of children and their families, increasing their chances of building more successful lives.
Fellowship Highlights: 
In the past two years, Melissa has:
• Strengthened relationships with doctors, social workers and other providers at the Fairfield PPC through regular contact and time spent on-site
• Provided training and feedback to the Fairfield PPC staff to improve their understanding of the legal advocacy we can provide through Child HeLP and the referral process
• Developed expertise in the areas of Family Law, Education Advocacy, and Immigration
• Represented children and families in both court and school settings to improve stability and promote success
• Participated in collaborations that work to share best practices and improve the response to domestic violence situations
Where are they now?: 
Now that the Fellowship is complete, Melissa plans to:
• Remain at Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio, LLC as a Staff Attorney
• Continue as a member of the Child HeLP team
• Join the Kids in School Rule! Project to provide educational advocacy for children living in foster care
• Increase advocacy in the area of Immigration

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