When Virginia fails to provide meaningful legal representation to parents, it’s rural, low-income, and Black families who are torn apart.

Author: Anna Daniszewski/VPLC Legal Fellow Impressive reporting from Cardinal News this week shows the crisis of parents’ legal representation in Virginia. Services providers for children and even a county attorney – the person who brings child welfare cases against parents – agree: children suffer the consequences when parents have “paltry legal support.”  When parents have […]

Don’t Forget Legal Aid on Giving Tuesday

Did you know that Virginia Poverty Law Center was founded in 1978 as the Virginia State Legal Aid Society Support Center (VSLASSC)? The VSLASSC, or the “Big Pickle” as we were affectionally known, was created to help train and educate Virginia legal aid organizations on civil poverty law issues. For 44 years, VPLC has been […]

VPLC’s Bar Stars Join Fight for Justice

Congratulations to VPLC’s newest attorneys, Anna Daniszewski and Flannery O’Rourke, who passed the Virginia State Bar exam. Daniszewski received her Juris Doctor degree from New York University School of Law and works in VPLC’s Center for Family Advocacy as a Family Defense Fellow. O’Rourke graduated from the University of Richmond School of Law and is […]

Foster Care Update: Utilizing Kinship Care to Keep Families Together

Author: Anna Daniszewski/VPLC Legal Fellow Virginia Governor Youngkin’s Safe and Sound Task Force has focused on gaps and lack of options for high-needs children in the foster care system. Many of these children were forced to sleep in DSS offices or emergency rooms. The task force is an exemplar for how to bring people together […]

Meet Anna Daniszewski, Family Defense Fellow

New to VPLC’s Center for Family Advocacy, Anna Daniszewski will help ensure that parents involved in Virginia’s child welfare system have zealous lawyers fighting for their families.  Daniszewski’s fellowship includes legislative and policy advocacy, providing legal services to parents, and developing trainings, practice protocols, and accountability standards. “Too often, children and parents are needlessly separated […]

Reducing the Trauma of Removal

Why Reunification and Sibling-Placements Are Crucial to the Well-Being of Children in the Child Welfare System By Courtney Squires, Summer Intern for the VPLC Center for Family Advocacy, University of Richmond School of Law To ensure the child welfare system works in the best interest of children, it is important to understand that removal and […]

Virginia Must Do Better By Families 

By Valerie L’Herrou Families are important to all of us, but especially to children. As British pediatrician and psychologist DW Winnicott put it, “There is no such thing as a baby. If you set out to describe a baby, you will find you are describing a baby and someone. A baby cannot exist alone, but […]

PRESS RELEASE: Statement from the Virginia Poverty Law Center and Legal Aid Justice Center on Gubernatorial Vetoes of HB573 and SB297 (Medical Debt Reform)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 14, 2022 Virginia Poverty Law Center and Legal Aid Justice Center state that Governor Youngkin’s vetoes of Del. Clark’s HB573 and Sen. Deeds’ SB297 have derailed critical, popular, and thoughtfully crafted bipartisan consumer debt reforms for thousands upon thousands of Virginians. Richmond, VA – Outstanding bills for medical treatment are one […]

2022 Session Update: Week Two

This was a busy week at the General Assembly for VPLC advocates. We often must try and follow bills being heard in two or even three committees that meet at the same time! Please encourage your legislators to do the right thing and publicly praise them when they do. Below, an update on some of our issues […]

2022 Session Update: New Leadership, Same Mission

The 2022 General Assembly is off and running, with 1,938 House and Senate bills filed — and more expected to come. Our advocates are dealing with a lot of change this year: a new Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, members in the House of Delegates, and committee chairs. But among the change, one thing remains […]

Why Language Access is Essential for Domestic Violence Survivors

In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, this post comes from VPLC’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Attorney, Susheela Varky. Imagine you have to go to court — whether it’s to pursue your own case against someone who has wronged you or because you’ve received a subpoena to appear as a witness in a case. Most […]

“Family First:” Prioritizing Kinship Foster Care 

In honor of National Kinship Care Month, today’s newsletter comes from VPLC’s Family and Child Welfare Attorney, Valerie L’Herrou with University of Richmond School of Law student Megan Kaleah. Kinship care means the “full-time care, nurturing, and protection of children by relatives.” Relatives may care for children through informal arrangements with parents, through foster care, […]

2021 Special Session Recap: How VPLC’s Budget Priorities Fared

When the General Assembly convened for a special 2021 session, we urged lawmakers to prioritize Virginians hit hardest by the pandemic with a budget focused on equity. Not all of our priorities were funded, but we will continue to push for these in the state’s next budget. Below, here’s how our recommended budget priorities fared […]

Equitable Rescue & Recovery: VPLC Special Session Budget Priorities

The Virginia General Assembly will convene in Richmond on Monday, August 2 for a special legislative session to allocate more than $4.3 billion in federal relief funding and fill judicial vacancies. The remaining $4.3 billion comes from the American Rescue Plan Act, which has provided essential relief to millions of American workers – many of […]

PRESS RELEASE: New anti-poverty laws take effect in Virginia today

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 1, 2021 The suite of new laws will protect tenants, help families with food assistance, expand health coverage, protect consumers, and more. Richmond, VA – Effective today, several new laws in the Commonwealth will benefit hundreds of thousands of low-income Virginians. The new laws include better protections for tenants, expansion of […]

Aging in Place with Community Support

Given a choice, most of us would choose to ‘age in place’ as we get older, remaining in our own homes and communities for as long as possible and potentially avoiding living out later years in a nursing home. The COVID-19 pandemic has only underscored this. Over the past 15 months, the virus ravaged nursing […]

Sexual Assault Can and Does Happen to Everyone: Musings on Serving Male Victims

In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we are featuring a blog post from Susheela Varky, Staff Attorney for Domestic and Sexual Violence at the Virginia Poverty Law Center (VPLC). To learn more, visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. Recently, I held a virtual training for advocates about the types of services VPLC provides to […]

Statement from the Virginia Poverty Law Center

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 19, 2021 Statement from the Virginia Poverty Law Center The Virginia Poverty Law Center (VPLC) stands in solidarity with the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in light of the tragic shooting that occurred in Atlanta, GA, Tuesday night. We mourn the loss of these victims and send condolences to their loved ones. We are outraged over the rise […]

Family Reunification: Why It Matters

Reunification refers to the reunion of children in foster care with their families after parents have shown they can provide a safe and nurturing environment. For children, timely reunification is important: brain scans of elderly adults who were separated from parents as children show structural changes in their brains that have lasted a lifetime. Families […]

New landlord-tenant laws, foster care reform, and restored driver’s licenses: new Virginia laws take effect July 1

Today, hundreds of new laws that passed during this year’s General Assembly go into effect, from new landlord-tenant laws to foster care reform. Here are a few to note. Other New Laws Related to VPLC Focus Areas Medicaid and Mental Health: An adopted budget increases reimbursements for Medicaid primary care physicians and licensed mental health […]

Aging and fraud: how to fend off scammers as we grow older

As we age, we become more vulnerable to scammers. According to a report by NPR, as few as one in 44 cases of financial scams are ever reported, and older people lose anywhere from $2.9 billion to $36 billion each year from financial exploitation. It’s a scary prospect, knowing that many adults with no cognitive […]

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