Fueled in part by the opioid crisis, an increasing number of grandparents and other relatives need to get custody of Hamilton County children and don't have the legal background needed to fill out all the forms. They are now benefiting from Juvenile Court's new Custody and Companionship Clinic which offers free legal help.
The Clinic is a partnership between the courts, Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati, the Volunteer Lawyers Project and the Hamilton County Law Library.
Volunteer lawyers staff the clinic and offer on-the-spot legal advice, guidance on evidence they'll need in court, and help drafting agreements and pleadings.
"It's important to the kids. It's important to the families. Obviously people are coming to court with a significant problem that needs to be addressed and we're trying to help them through that," according to Administrative Judge John Williams.
Managing Attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Cincinnati Kelly Malone says the paperwork help saves a lot of time and stress. Otherwise they would be doing it themselves. "If they could manage to get them filled out they might get into court and find out that they didn't do the paperwork correctly."
The clinic, on the first floor of 800 Broadway Ave., Cincinnati, 45202, has helped more than 400 people in its first month.
It's open Mondays from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.