Lima, OH (6-21-22)– The wheels on the bus are bringing legal help to Mercer County, just one of thirty stops planned on a Legal Bus Tour, sponsored by OhioKAN. OhioKAN is a flexible and responsive kinship and adoption navigator program designed to assist children, caregivers, and families statewide. It launched in the fall of 2020. OhioKAN is sponsoring the Ohio Justice Bus and the JusticeMobile legal buses in May and June as they travel about the state offering legal advice to kinship and post-adoptive families.

In Mercer County, the host site is the Mercer County Educational Service Center, at 540 E Market St, Celina. The Ohio Justice Bus will provide “first come, first served” appointments on Wedneday, June 29, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Those seeking services are recommended to bring any documents they may have that are relevant to their legal concern.

At each location, the legal buses will provide two legal professionals to assist caregivers with advice about legal concerns that might arise from kinship or adoption, including custody and guardianship, changes in wills or estate planning, legal paperwork support, or any other shifting circumstances as a result of taking children into their homes.

Jo Ellen Simonsen, Regional Director at OhioKAN

“A kinship caregiver is any relative or other willing person who acts as the primary caregiver for a child, when the child’s parent cannot for some reason. What we have learned from listening to caregivers and legal professionals is that a good number of situations can be remedied with brief legal advice, or even a little bit of help filling out paperwork.”

This unique partnership allows OhioKAN to serve individuals at a community level, building local networks of resources and improving access to services where it is needed most. Nearly 40% of caregivers who have received navigation services from OhioKAN describe having challenging legal needs.

Simonsen added-

“The OhioKAN team looks forward to being there alongside the legal buses and meeting members of our community. We are so excited to share more about OhioKAN’s kinship and navigator program and how it can help link our community to resources they need and deserve.”

Anyone in the community may attend and request legal advice, not just kinship families. Both OhioKAN and legal bus services are provided at no cost to the individual, with funding support provided by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS). Upcoming legal bus tour dates can be found on OhioKAN’s website at www.ohiokan.jfs.ohio.gov/legal-bus-tour, or on the Ohio Justice Bus and JusticeMobile websites.

Partners of the legal bus tour include OhioKAN, the JusticeMobile, the Ohio Justice Bus from the Ohio Access to Justice Foundation, and thirty community-based host sites. Host sites include social service providers, educational organizations, libraries, food banks and community events.

OhioKAN Navigators work throughout ten OhioKAN Regions, combining local knowledge with statewide resources to link caregivers to helpful resources, including daily living needs, financial benefits they may be entitled to, or caregiver and child support services. Learn more at https://OhioKAN.jfs.ohio.gov or by calling 1-844-OHIO-K-A-N (644-6526).

For more information on the Ohio Justice Bus, visit their website at www.ohiojusticebus.org. For more information on JusticeMobile, visit their website at www.justicemobile.org.