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Kansas Pro Bono Legal Information, Resources and Assistance

Kansas Pro Bono Summary: In 1977, the Kansas City, Topeka and Wichita legal aid societies merged to form Kansas Legal Services, Inc. Kansas Legal Services (KLS) now has twelve legal services, two mediation and five employment training offices located across the state, and maintains an extensive retainer contract system with cooperating members of the Kansas Bar Association (KBA). Kansas Legal Services, a statewide non-profit organization, is dedicated to helping low income Kansans meet their basic needs through the provision of essential legal, mediation and employment training services.

Current Programs from KLS:

Access to Justice Funding (ATJ) has increased the number of family law clients KLS has been able to serve. Due in large part to ATJ funding, KLS is assisting more low income Kansans with domestic law matters than ever before in its 31-year history.

The Guardian Ad Litem Support Center (GALSC) is a statewide program that provides training, advice and other supportive services to guardians ad litem, those who represent children in court proceedings. KLS GALSC staff attorneys also provide direct advice and representation in child welfare cases.

Legal Assistance for Victims Grant Program funds from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs continued in 2008. The statewide grant supports legal services for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or sexual assault.

Victims of Crime Act Grants (VOCA) are administered by the Governor of Kansas to assist victims of domestic violence. KLS offices in Emporia, Hays, Hutchinson, Kansas City, Pittsburg, Salina, and Topeka were awarded VOCA funds in 2008 to provide legal advice, representation and referrals to families fleeing abuse.

The Foster Care Helpline, part of the GALSC, is a toll-free hotline that provided accurate and timely information to more than 400 foster children, foster parents and others.

The Disability Law Project is funded through contracts with the Kansas Health Policy Authority (KHPA) and three Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services’ Regional Offices. The Adult Social Security Advocacy Project is designed to assist adults receiving General Assistance or Temporary Assistance to Families. KLS provides legal advice and representation to individuals receiving cash assistance to assist them in becoming eligible for federal Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

The Children’s Social Security Advocacy Project seeks to obtain SSI for disabled children. The project is focused on children who are receiving services from SRS. Obtaining SSI cash and medical benefits for children often makes home placement possible.

The Kansas Homeless Outreach Project and Evaluation (K-HOPE) started in 2004 to help eligible homeless Kansans apply for Social Security Disability benefits. Funded by the Social Security Administration, K-HOPE staff conduct outreach and provide case management for homeless individuals in addressing barriers to employment, housing and essential services.

Senior Citizen Law Project (SCLP) provides services in a wide range of civil legal issues to persons age 60 and older. Its objective is to target the more vulnerable elderly population who are in the greatest social and economic need.

Kansas Pro Bono Contacts:

Marilyn M. Harp
Executive Director

Kansas Legal Services
712 S. Kansas Ave
Suite 200
Topeka, KS 66603
Ph. 785-233-2068

Pro Bono Award:

This award recognizes a lawyer or law firm for the delivery of direct legal services, free of charge, to the poor or, in appropriate instances, to charitable organizations whose primary purpose is to provide other services to the poor. In addition to the Pro Bono Award, the KBA awards a number of Pro Bono Certificates of Appreciation to lawyers

Additional Information Links:

www.abanet.org/legalservices/probono/directory/kansas.html