Somewhere in Washington last year, a little girl was in trouble. Her father in jail, her mother severely addicted to meth, Mya* spent her days getting dragged from drug house to drug house.
Mya is blind.
Mya’s grandma, Joyce*, longed to protect her granddaughter, but didn’t know how. Getting custody is a tricky process. Joyce did her best to figure out what to do, but she had a tough time understanding the legal terminology and processes. She needed help from someone familiar with the law — but unfortunately, as a retiree with next to no income, she couldn’t afford a lawyer.
(*Names changed to protect identity.)
Many people like Joyce and Mya need legal help they can’t afford. The 2015 Washington State Civil Legal Needs Study Update estimates that every year 71% of low-income households in Washington face at least one civil legal crisis, affecting nearly 1,000,000 individuals altogether. These people are at risk of losing their homes, their jobs, or even their safety due to their legal problems, but the state doesn’t provide them with representation during legal proceedings because they aren’t accused of a crime. When a low-income person’s basic needs are at stake, legal aid can make a life-saving difference.
For Joyce and Mya, legal aid turned the tide. A local civil legal aid program connected Joyce to the legal resources necessary to successfully get custody. A volunteer attorney helped Joyce prepare a compelling case and represent herself in court. Thanks to her preparation, Joyce won custody, and Mya escaped a life of danger and neglect. Legal aid gave Mya the chance to grow into a healthy young woman, thanks to a safe home and the loving care of her grandma.
All across the state this year, people like Joyce and Mya will need help with legal issues they can’t resolve on their own. An abused mother will need safety for herself and her children. A family threatened with wrongful eviction will face homelessness. A veteran will lose access to his benefits. By giving to the Campaign, you can help make sure legal aid is available to these people when it matters most.