Davenport Schools Open Legal Aid Clinic
Davenport families now have access to free legal services--at a local elementary school.
The Davenport School District has partnered with Iowa Legal Aid to open a clinic at Jefferson Elementary. There, attorneys will provide free legal assistance to parents and caregivers. They can also connect families with rent and utility help, food banks, and health care.
Nick Smithberg is Executive Director of Iowa Legal Aid. He says schools are a natural place for this kind of help because that's where problems like housing, income, and food insecurity are felt the most.
"Kids who show up who are hungry, tired stressed--are not in a position to learn. And many of those conditions stem from precisely the legal issues that Iowa Legal Aid has been working on for more than 40 years."
Jefferson Elementary was chosen as the site for the clinic because it has a high percentage of families living in poverty. Smithberg says legal aid is one of the best investments for helping lift kids and families out of those difficult conditions.
"The needs that we help--if they are unmet, the costs down the road are much greater. Be that kids getting involved in the juvenile justice system, or even just diminished income and educational opportunities going forward. So, for a very small price now, you can invest in families and communities that will enrich the city for years to come."
The clinic has open hours three days a week. Families can also send an email to Iowa Legal Aid or drop a note to the school to set up a meeting.