An exciting opportunity to provide legal representation for at-risk children within a growing program of a leading non-profit, public interest law firm.
HLA is a dynamic non-profit, public interest law firm whose mission is to provide pro bono legal services to Massachusetts residents with low income who are having difficulty accessing or paying for health care. Founded in 1996, HLA provides individual representation and advice for more than 1,000 clients annually. HLA also engages in system-wide litigation, public policy advocacy, and educational programming to advance its goals. Learn more about us at https://www.healthlawadvocates.org/
HLA’s Mental Health Advocacy Program for Kids (MHAP for Kids) diverts children with unmet mental health needs from the juvenile justice system by helping them access mental health services. MHAP for Kids attorneys are embedded in Family Resource Centers (FRCs) where the help at-risk youth overcome barriers to mental health services. A Boston University study of MHAP for Kids found that the program improves the health of children and their families. MHAP for Kids received state funds in fiscal years 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 to continue this work in the FRCs. This year our funding provides the resources to expand statewide.
Health Law Advocates (HLA) seeks a highly qualified, motivated lawyer with knowledge of the juvenile court, mental health, and/or education systems to join the talented MHAP for Kids team as our Staff Attorney based in the Pittsfield FRC and serving youth and their families from across Berkshire, Franklin, and Hampshire Counties. This attorney, like our attorneys serving in our MHAP for Kids offices in Bristol, Essex, Hampden, Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Worcester Counties (and soon joined by the Cape & Islands and Plymouth Counties) will advocate for children across the school, court, and mental health systems to ensure that their mental health needs are met and their legal rights are protected. The Staff Attorney will advocate for up to 30 youth at a time.
HLA is committed to diversity in its workforce. A crucial part of HLA’s vision is supporting cultural and linguistic competence, as well as ensuring diversity of staff and volunteers, so clients can be best served. Women, individuals with disabilities, LGBTQ individuals, people of color, and people who speak English as a second language are encouraged to apply.
The MHAP for Kids Staff Attorney: Responsibilities
The Staff Attorney will be a member of HLA’s MHAP for Kids team of talented advocates. The primary day-to-day responsibility of the position is to provide legal representation for youth with unmet mental health needs.
More specific activities include:
• Meeting with clients
• Conducting legal research and writing
• Analyzing education, medical, court, and other relevant records
• Developing and maintaining strong working relationships with staff of the host Family Resource Center
• Developing and maintaining strong working relationships with state agencies, such as DCF, DMH, DYS, as well as other stakeholders in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems
• Managing case files
• Promoting MHAP for Kids in the community
• Participating in program evaluation
The MHAP for Kids Staff Attorney: Qualifications
Minimum Requirements Include:
• Juris Doctor Degree
• 4+ years of relevant work experience
• Excellent communication skills, including oral advocacy and writing skills
• A strong understanding of the juvenile court
• A strong understanding of children’s mental health systems
• Strong advocacy skills
Other Preferred Qualifications:
• Track record of effectively collaborating with government and community-based service agencies
• Demonstrated cultural competence
• Proven ability to handle a substantial caseload
• Knowledge of the communities served by the Pittsfield Family Resource Center
• Bilingual skills (English and Spanish, Portuguese, and/or Haitian Creole)
This position includes a robust benefits package including competitive salary (based on experience and other qualifications), comprehensive health insurance, and a generous paid leave policy.
Applications must be submitted online at https://hlainc.efficientapply.com/jobs/ and will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Please include a cover letter.