Caroline Shurig

  • Hosted by LAF
  • Sponsored by Pfizer Inc.
  • Service location Chicago, Illinois
  • Law school University of California, Irvine School of Law
  • Issue area Children/Youth, Health Care
  • Fellowship class year 2015
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Caroline will protect the rights of children with unmet mental health needs through direct representation and community education in education law, public benefits, and medical benefits cases. She will use these cases to identify systematic barriers to the mental health services guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act.

Children with mental health needs are not receiving proper educational accommodations, medical treatment, or legal representation in benefits, special education, and discipline proceedings. Instead, they are being systematically pushed out of schools and into prison. 35% of students with an Emotional Disturbance (ED) graduate high school—compared to the overall average of 76%. 73% of all ED students who drop out of school are arrested within five years. 85% of children in juvenile detention facilities have qualifying disabilities, but just 37% received any kind of services in their mainstream school. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), implemented in 2014, is intended to increase access to health care. It calls for more robust mental health services and requires all health plans to offer coverage for mental health services at the same rate as other traditional medical services. It is unclear how the ACA’s improvements to children’s mental health services will actually be implemented. However, it is crucial in these early stages that Medicaid advocates pay close attention and guide the process to achieve the best results for children living in poverty.

Meet Other Fellows Like Caroline

View All

Photo of Maryam Emory

Maryam Emory

Host: Children's Law Center

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Current Fellow

Betsy Havens

Host: Florida Legal Services

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP, The Florida Bar Foundation

Brooke Heymach

Host: Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County

Sponsor: Fenwick & West LLP

Meghan Lang

Host: National Center for Youth Law

Sponsor: Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati