The Core Program
The core program of the Clinic provides general civil poverty law representation. Types of cases include family matters (divorce; separation; parentage; child support); disability (social security disability and supplemental security income or SSI); public benefits (Reach Up Financial Assistance and other benefits from the Economic Services Division of the Department for Children and Families); representation of juveniles committed to state custody as Children in Need of Services (CHINS); landlord/tenant law; bankruptcy and consumer matters; wills and guardianships; and family law assistance to prisoners (see Prison Project below).
This project operates under the Core Program and serves the needs of incarcerated women by providing legal information and possibly representation at Vermont's Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility to help them address pressing family law issues related to their separation from their children, as well as helping them understand the child support process. SRLC’s work in the past few years at Marble Valley Regional Correctional Facility contributed to two major amendments to Vermont’s child support laws in 2012 allowing prisoners to seek and obtain child support modification orders.
Children First! (CF!) Legal Advocacy Project
This program was formed in 2000 as a result of a report issued by the statewide Commission on the Future of Vermont’s Justice System, which highlighted the need for qualified attorneys to represent children in high-conflict proceedings involving divorce and parenting. Children First! provides legal representation to children caught up in particularly difficult and contentious disputes in family court (divorce, post-judgment, parentage, etc.) and probate court (guardianships). Though all of the clients in Children First! cases are juveniles that are represented by court appointment only, the SRLC attorneys and clinicians also in effect assist parents and guardians involved in these cases to refocus their parenting and their involvement in their children’s lives. In this way, the SRLC helps adults assume appropriate parental responsibility for children in terms of their housing, employment, household finances, and education.
Domestic Violence Project (DV)
The Domestic Violence project began in 1997 and provides legal representation to address the legal needs of Vermont victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking in final relief from abuse proceedings primarily in Windsor and Orange counties. This project serves as a no-cost resource to survivors of domestic violence, individuals and families that would not otherwise be able to access legal services. The project also provides training to domestic violence and rape crisis advocates.
Vermont Immigrant Assistance Project (VIA)
VIA provides pro bono legal support to Vermont’s growing community of immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers since 2003, offering direct legal representation to non-citizens seeking legal status in the United States. The project provides assistance primarily in three areas: (1) help with VAWA Petitions and I-751 waivers (domestic violence); (2) U-Visa applications (victims of crime); and (3) asylum cases. VIA is one of only two programs that specialize in providing pro bono legal services for immigrants in Vermont. In representing asylum-seekers, VIA is also involved in a special program for survivors of torture. In partnership with the University of Vermont’s Connecting Cultures Program, VIA partners law students with psychology Ph.D and Masters of Social Work students to provide comprehensive legal, psychological and case management services to this most vulnerable population, through a program called New England Survivors of Torture and Trauma (NESTT).
vermont veterans legal advocacy project (VVLAP)
This project is funded through August 2016 by the Vermont Bar Foundation in conjunction with the Access to Justice Campaign. VVLAP represents veteran clients with state civil law issues in Windsor, Orange and Washington counties, adn on veterans statewide with veteran law specific issues, such as VA disability benefits or upgrading a service member's discharge so that benefits can be accessed. In addition to direct legal representation, a holistic program focus to serve the veterans is also a focus. Every month there is a child support clinic held at the VA in White RiverJunction to assist veterans with a range of legal issues surrounding child support.