Diana Sisson

  • Hosted by Children's Law Center of DC
  • Sponsored by The Morrison & Foerster Foundation
  • Service location Washington, District of Columbia
  • Law school The University of Michigan Law School
  • Issue area Medical-Legal Partnership
  • Fellowship class year 2016
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Diana promoted physical and mental health and provided stability for children whose families were experiencing or at-risk of homelessness in Washington, DC through legal representation, outreach, and advocacy.

Family homelessness and risk of homelessness in DC remains at a crisis level, meaning a high number of children in the District experience homelessness or housing instability. Children experiencing homelessness are more likely than their peers to suffer from developmental delays, chronic illnesses, mental health challenges, learning disabilities, and behavioral difficulties. Homelessness threatens a child’s physical and mental health, and families need a wide range of legal advocacy in areas such as access to shelter, addressing housing conditions in temporary housing, education access, special education advocacy, and access to health care to support their children’s healthy development.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past two years, Diana has:

  • Provided information, referrals, brief advice, and extended representation for approximately 140 families experiencing homeless to access shelter and housing programs, reasonable accommodation in shelter, address unhealthy living conditions in shelters and subsidized housing, and in special education matters;
  • Worked on-site at a community health clinic in Ward 8, which serves a high level of homeless families, to provide direct services to families, train and consult with medical providers, and present at community health fairs;
  • Collaborated with community advocacy groups to advocate for increased rights and services for homeless families in DC, including testimony to the DC Council regarding the District’s main family homeless program and the proposed Department of Human Service’s budget.

What’s Next

Now that the Fellowship is complete, Diana plans to:

  • Continue her work on behalf of families experiencing and at-risk of homelessness as a staff attorney with the Children’s Law Center’s medical-legal partnership.

Meet Other Fellows Like Diana

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Raegan Joern

Host: Rubicon Programs Inc.

Sponsor: Contra Costa County Bar Association

Amanda Walsh

Host: Legal Council for Health Justice

Sponsor: Baker McKenzie, Walgreen Company

Natalia Botella

Host: Legal Services of Southern Piedmont

Sponsor: Boston Scientific Corporation, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.

George-Marie Jasmin

Host: The Medical Legal Partnership for Children

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP