2019 KLS Annual Report - Message from KLS Executive Director
In the first quarter of 2020, as I sit in my basement, watching staff continue to meet the urgent needs of our clients, despite an abrupt work from home move and with Courts closed, it is hard to celebrate last year. It is hard to remember last year.
Still, I will try to use this opportunity to highlight the many accomplishments of 2019 and there were several. In chronological order, I highlight:
Spring: We filmed and posted five videos to assist self-represented persons in preparing for and appearing in Court. Most popular is Divorce 101, a crash course in paperwork, legal terms, timelines and resources. These have been viewed nearly 700 times.
June: We began accepting clients into the Kansas Clean Slate program, a collaboration with the Access to Justice Lab of Harvard Law School. The program assists Kansans in obtaining expungements and tracks the impact of the expungement on their lives over the next three years. We continue to recruit clients for this project, through which we are providing attorney support for the expungement at no charge.
October: We saw a major expansion of our Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) program, which provides emergency legal assistance such as filing for restraining or protective orders, obtaining emergency custody orders and visitation rights for victims of crime. The program also includes our Elder Rights Project, focused on elder abuse in Kansas.
October: Our Trivia Night fundraiser expanded statewide, with events in five of our field office locations. This will become an annual event as local firms challenge for bragging rights. KU won the KBA-sponsored Law School Challenge.
October: KLS was approved as a host agency for retired, inactive, and now single employer-licensed attorneys, under Rule 712B. We were also able to file applications to sponsor nearly 30 attorneys to provide pro bono assistance to KLS clients.
November: We began our Kin-Tech Family First project, a partnership with the Department for Children and Families funded through the historic Family First Prevention Act, a national initiative. This project is designed to divert children from foster care, by creating formal alternate care arrangements and supporting those families who take on the financial burden of raising children.
If it seems like the year was loaded toward the end, you would be right.
Next year, this time, I will be bragging again, about our great staff and how they accomplished a near seamless transition of services from office to home in March, 2020. Staff understands that our clients need us and continue to provide much needed legal services every day.
Marilyn Harp, Executive Director