Raneem (she/her/hers) will advocate for Georgia youth with behavioral and mental health needs by advancing their access to the preventive care and reasonable accommodations to which they are entitled under federal law.
Every child deserves the opportunity to thrive into adulthood. With one in four kids in Georgia reporting at least one behavioral or mental health issue—and only one in 11 accessing care—the prospect of equitable opportunity seems far-fetched. Most of a child’s health status is attributable to social and environmental determinants like poverty, housing, education, and exposure to trauma. These factors often manifest as legal needs that, left unmanaged, will have a significant negative impact on health outcomes. Over the last three decades, medical-legal partnerships have demonstrated the necessity of leveraging legal services to improve physical health outcomes. Yet not much has been said about directing legal advocacy toward mental health.
Mental illness is the most common childhood disease, with higher rates than that of pediatric asthma, cancer, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS combined. It is the number one reason for teen hospitalization, and suicide is the second most common cause of teen death. Georgia youth deserve to have someone in their corner, ensuring they receive the mental health care coverage and reasonable public accommodations to which they are entitled.
Raneem will represent clients from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta with appealing Medicaid coverage denials of mental health services and will assist providers in drafting medical necessity letters. She will also enforce children’s rights to accommodations and services in education settings. Additionally, Raneem will empower families to advocate for children in school and at the doctor by hosting community programs on Early Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) requirements and public accommodations.
My touchstone is to ‘be the adult you needed as a child.’ This project is the culmination of all my experiences, not only from my legal work and education but that intimate understanding of a struggle that just cannot be taught.
Raneem Ashrawi /
2021 Equal Justice Works Fellow
The Home Defense Program (HDP) provides advice, referrals and legal representation to low and moderate income homeowners victimized by home equity scams, including predatory mortgage lending practices. HDP saves clients’ homes by negotiating cancellations of mortgage loans; restructuring of mortgage loans with substantially lower balances, interest rates and monthly payments; and short payoffs of mortgage loans with reverse mortgages for senior homeowners.
The Immigrant Children Advocacy Project (ICAP) of Catholic Charities, Inc. fills a desperate need for vulnerable immigrant children located in NC, SC, GA, AL, LA and MS. Many suffer abuse, abandonment and neglect aggravating an already uncertain legal status in the United States. ICAP provides a comprehensive program of direct representation in State Juvenile Court and Federal Immigration Court, community education and advocacy, pro bono recruitment and training, and long-term self-sustaining program development.
Amanda’s project focused on removing legal barriers to employment in the Arkansas Delta, primarily centered around the sealing of criminal records. However, it also extended to the reinstatement of driver’s licenses.