Cleveland, OH (4-26-23) – The wheels on the bus are bringing free legal help to Auglaize County, just one of thirty stops planned on the 2023 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. After a successful tour across the state last summer, the program is sponsoring the Ohio Justice Bus and the JusticeMobile legal buses. Stops in communities across Ohio will begin in April and continue through June, offering legal advice to kinship and post-adoptive families.
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. Callers to OhioKAN describe challenges of how bringing new children into their home can have expected and unexpected legal consequences. What we have learned from legal professionals is that a good number of these situations can be remedied with brief legal advice, or even a little bit of help filling out paperwork.”
At each location, attorneys will assist caregivers with advice about civil legal concerns that might arise from kinship or adoption. Last year visitors to the buses brought questions on matters of custody and guardianship, safety, public benefits, changes in wills or estate planning, support with legal forms, and many other shifting circumstances that occur when relatives and others step forward and provide a home to a child.
This unique partnership between the legal buses and OhioKAN allows the program to serve individuals at a community level, while building local networks of resources and improving access to services where it is needed most. More than one-third of caregivers who have received navigation services from OhioKAN in the past year describe having challenging legal needs.
Simonsen says –
“The OhioKAN team looks forward to being there alongside the legal buses and local host organizations, welcoming caregivers and helping them find solutions to their unique situations. 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 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 which include social service providers, educational organizations, libraries, food banks and community events. In Auglaize County the host site is at Wapakoneta Family YMCA located at 1100 Defiance Street in Wapakoneta. The JusticeMobile will provide “first come, first served” appointments on Friday, April 28th, between the hours of 4 and 8 p.m. Those seeking services should bring any documents relevant to their legal concern.
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.
For more information on the Ohio Justice Bus or the JusticeMobile, visit their websites: www.ohiojusticebus.org and www.justicemobile.org.