Name of Host Organization: Children's Law Center of Massachusetts
City, State: Lynn, Massachusetts
Issue area: Health Care/Medical-Legal Partnership, Education, Children/Youth
Sponsors: Biogen Idec, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C.
Paul established a medical-legal partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital–Chelsea Healthcare Center to provide effective educational advocacy to children who were at risk for school exclusion or who faced barriers to equitable educational access.
Need Addressed By Project
Despite substantial strides in recent years, schoolchildren in Chelsea and neighboring communities continue to face a variety of challenges that threaten their long-term educational outcomes. Approximately 90% of students in Chelsea come from low-income families and are classified as “high needs” by the state, nearly half of Chelsea residents are foreign-born, and four out of five students speak a first language other than English. Each of these figures represents the highest rate in Massachusetts, contributing in part to the second-highest dropout rate in the state, the lowest graduation rate for students with disabilities, and an out-of-school suspension rate approximately twice the state average. No legal aid organization focuses specifically on educational advocacy in Chelsea, presenting a significant gap in legal services that this project seeks to fill.