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Conducting Mental Health Training; Writing, Researching and Compiling Mental Health Handbooks

Some attorneys and judges, particularly those not focused exclusively on criminal practice, are unaware of Louisiana laws governing identification, diversion, and treatment of people with mental illness or mental retardation

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Conducting Mental Health Training; Writing, Researching and Compiling Mental Health Handbooks

Some attorneys and judges, particularly those not focused exclusively on criminal practice, are unaware of Louisiana laws governing identification, diversion, and treatment of people with mental illness or mental retardation. Recognizing the need for training and support in this area, Louisiana Appleseed is collaborating with other area organizations to create a Louisiana-focused handbook that will serve as a guide for practitioners when representing clients with mental health issues and mental retardation. Louisiana Appleseed will compile, print and deliver the manual. In addition, Appleseed plans to hold free Continuing Legal Education classes on the topic. Louisiana public defenders, as well as private practitioners and mental health workers, eagerly anticipate the handbooks and training sessions, recognizing the great need to learn how to best serve clients with these issues.

Project Partners: Louisiana Justice Coalition, Loyola School of Law, LSU School of Social Work, Texas Appleseed, Tulane Law School Criminal Clinic, Louisiana Public Defender Board and Adams and Reese LLP

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Ensuring Equitable Funding For Special Needs Children

Comprehensive and coordinated special education remains a major problem across public schools in Louisiana.

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Ensuring Equitable Funding For Special Needs Children

Comprehensive and coordinated special education remains a major problem across public schools in Louisiana. One issue arises due to the fact that special education money in some districts is allotted at the district level instead of following students to the schools they attend, resulting in inconsistent support for schools serving students with multiple types of disabilities. Money is not allocated based on student needs and the neediest students do not receive the services the funding is intended to provide.

Louisiana Appleseed and the Louisiana Bar Foundation have recruited volunteer attorneys to: (1) research Louisiana Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) formulas and school budgets; (2) understand current policies across the state; and (3) develop policy recommendations to promote equitable distribution of funds. Appleseed, along with its community partners from the Cowen Institute and Loyola Law School, will then advocate at the state and district level to see that special needs children are not overlooked in Louisiana’s school funding. Results will include public awareness of this issue and an allocation system that does not negatively impact those students with the most special needs.

Project partners: Cowen Institute, Louisiana Bar Foundation, Loyola School of Law

Increasing Latino Access to Community Colleges

Despite the labor shortage in Louisiana, many new and returning residents lack the job skills and career counseling necessary to attain the most desirable jobs.

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Increasing Latino Access to Community Colleges

Despite the labor shortage in Louisiana, many new and returning residents lack the job skills and career counseling necessary to attain the most desirable jobs. The community college system is a vital part of developing a strong, stable and well-trained working and middle class – those who lack access to it are missing out on a powerful wealth-generating tool. While there are programs available to members of the Latino community, they go largely unused due to the difficulty many Louisiana community colleges have effectively recruiting and educating the Latino community about these programs.

At the request of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS), Louisiana Appleseed is working with school leaders to identify and implement programs aimed at attracting a larger number of Latino students and develop a strategic plan for outreach, program design and appeal. The administration at LCTCS has made this project a top priority.

Project partners: Louisiana Community and Technical College System, Ford Foundation, University of Virginia School of Law and Stone Pigman

Publication(s) Available

Increasing Latino access to financial institutions, through education, outreach and advocacy

Latino immigrants are statistically much less likely to have bank accounts than the remainder of the population and therefore often pay exorbitant fees to cash checks and send remittances.

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Increasing Latino access to financial institutions, through education, outreach and advocacy

Latino immigrants are statistically much less likely to have bank accounts than the remainder of the population and therefore often pay exorbitant fees to cash checks and send remittances, must sometimes resort to predatory lending services, are unable to build assets and credit histories and have recently become easy targets for robbery. Based on the work of other Appleseed Centers, this project links banking institutions with members of the growing Latino population to increase access to financial institutions.

In 2009, Louisiana Appleseed released a LA Appleseed Immigrant Banking Report and conducted financial education programs aimed at increasing Latino access to financial institutions. The report highlights the economic importance of immigrants both locally and nationally and provides specific recommendations to financial institutions for increasing immigrant access to their services. Appleseed has used this report as a tool to advocate for the increased financial service and product options available through mainstream financial institutions for the Latino population. The project also provides financial institutions with guidance on regulatory issues pertaining to the implementation of these programs.

In 2011, Louisiana Appleseed, in partnership with the Southeast Louisiana Alliance for Economic Inclusion (AEI), published “Find Your Financial Future: Louisiana Banks and Credit Unions.” Part of our Financial Access initiative, this statewide directory is a guide for consumers to learn more about Louisiana banks’ and credit unions’ offerings, especially free and low-cost services geared towards the unbanked and under-banked.

Project partners: Catholic Charities/Hispanic Apostolate, Credit Bureau of Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge Area Foundation, Greater New Orleans Foundation, Puentes New Orleans and the law firms of Adams and Reese, Baker Donelson and Skadden Arps.

Banking Report Download
Financial Future Download

Publication(s) Available

Wage Claim Project

Louisiana Appleseed is developing a project to address the growing number of wage claim issues.

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Wage Claim Project

Louisiana Appleseed is developing a project to address the growing number of wage claim issues. Due to the increased number of unlicensed contractors and higher number of Latino immigrants, local legal service providers are seeing an increased number of cases in which construction workers are not paid for the work they do. Some attorneys are reluctant to accept this type of work because they are unfamiliar with the laws pertaining to the subject. The Pro Bono Project and Louisiana Appleseed volunteers have conducted research, have drafted and published a Wage Claim Training Guide. This guide will provide attorneys with the knowledge they need to represent their clients effectively. Appleseed and its partners have also used the guide in a well-attended free CLE class on the subject. Long term goals of this project include advocacy for reform in wage theft laws, practices and procedures.

Project partners: The Pro Bono Project and Loyola Law Clinic.

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