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Mihal Ansik

2017, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, Mihal Ansik

Mihal Ansik

Name of Host Organization: A New Way of Life Reentry Project
City, State: Los Angeles, California
Issue area: Criminal Records Relief
Sponsors: Morrison & Foerster

The Project

I will provide direct legal representation and educational tools to Los Angeles families impacted by incarceration as they navigate dependency court and overcome discriminatory barriers to family reunification.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project
In Los Angeles County, over 20,000 children are in foster care. Children awaiting placement often sleep on floors and cots, without privacy or safety, all while enduring traumatic separation from their families. Eligible relatives are being summarily excluded as caregivers due to the stigma of a past conviction. These exclusions are common despite a process that waives exemptible convictions for the purpose of keeping children with their families.
The Right Person For This Project

Mihal is the right person for the project because:
• She has spent over a decade engaged with the incarcerated community as a workshop facilitator, organizer, and advocate
• Before law school, she spent five years advocating in court alongside families entangled in the intersections of the juvenile, criminal, and child welfare systems
• Her legal training is steeped in a movement lawyering model, which offers the law as a tool in support of the individual and collective leadership of community members and organizers

Plans For First Six Months of Fellowship

In the first six months, Mihal will:
• Build strong partnerships with organizations, practitioners, and community groups
• Collaborate with relative caregivers on their criminal record exemption applications and represent them in administrative hearings if denied
• Create educational workshops and toolkits for navigating DCFS that address the particular challenges faced by families impacted by incarceration and criminalization