Eliza Schafler

  • Hosted by Mental Health Advocacy Services, Inc
  • Sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, LLP
  • Service location Los Angeles, California
  • Law school New York University School of Law
  • Issue area Medical-Legal Partnership
  • Fellowship class year 2013
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Eliza established a medical-legal partnership focused on children’s mental health in Los Angeles, offering holistic legal services to families to improve children’s mental health treatment outcomes.

For children with mental health needs, family stability is critical to treatment success. Yet many low-income families in Los Angeles face threats to stability that are beyond the traditional scope of mental health care. Traumatic and stressful circumstances, such as eviction and insufficient income, have dire consequences for children’s mental health, but clinicians are often powerless to help. This project creates a partnership between Mental Health Advocacy Services, a legal services provider, and Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services, one of the largest children’s behavioral health providers in Los Angeles. It offers legal services as a critical tool to serve low-income families and improve children’s mental health.

Highlights to Date

In the past two years, Eliza has:

  • Developed the nation’s first medical-legal partnership (MLP) focused on outpatient mental health for children and families
  • Provided legal services to over 80 families of at-risk children
  • Expanded MLP to at-risk youth in “wraparound” treatment
  • Trained over 350 mental health professionals on legal topics
  • Founded a national Behavioral Health MLP Network with 40+ members
  • Designed and implemented an outcome measurement system that has identified reduced parental stress following the receipt of legal services
  • Presented at statewide and nationwide conferences
  • Helped change the delivery of mental health care by the project partner to better serve families


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Amanda Walsh

Host: Legal Council for Health Justice

Sponsor: Baker McKenzie, Walgreen Company

Natalia Botella

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

Raegan Joern

Host: Rubicon Programs Inc.

Sponsor: Contra Costa County Bar Association

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Carly Loughran

Host: Legal Aid Chicago

Sponsor: Pfizer Inc.

Current Fellow