Women helping Women
You are invited: Join us for a breakfast at the Palace Hotel on September 19, 2017.
We will explore the legal challenges facing low-income women in San Francisco and how you can help make a difference.
Hosted by Jessica Jacob, board member, Justice & Diversity Center of The Bar Association of San Francisco
RSVP using the form to the right.
If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Steve Love, Director of Donor and Community Engagement, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (415) 782-8917.
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
8:30 to 10:00 a.m.
2 New Montgomery Street
Justice & Diversity Center
Justice & Diversity Center
Special Client Guest Speaker
Join us to learn more about the legal challenges facing low-income women in San Francisco and how you can help.
The Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) provides life-changing and life-saving services to at-risk and low-income women in San Francisco. Each year, JDC changes the lives of nearly 1,300 San Francisco women and their children, many of them domestic violence survivors, through its Family Law Project.
Leveling the Legal Playing Field
The Justice & Diversity Center of the Bar Association of The Bar Association of San Francisco (JDC) is committed to leveling the playing field in Family Law. According to Family Law Supervising Attorney, Stephanie Bilinski, “We seek to reach as many low-income litigants as possible, through collaborations with the court and other nonprofits. We bring our services to potential clients, rather than waiting for referrals.”
JDC’s innovative Sargent Shriver Custody Project (SASH), an example of one of our partnerships with the court, seeks to level the playing field for family law pro se litigants. Launched in 2011, SASH was one of ten pilot projects in California funded by the Judicial Council of California to assess whether providing counsel in certain civil cases improves court efficiencies and increases the quality of justice obtained by the parties.
Through SASH, JDC staff based in the courthouse and expert family law volunteers provide representation in custody actions in which a parent is seeking sole legal or physical custody of a child, and the opposing side is represented.
This SASH client’s story confirms that indeed access to justice is obtained when a low-income person is represented in court.
“Susie,” a young mother with two children, one of whom has special needs, was involved in a high-conflict custody case where the father had reported the mother’s family to Child Protective Services (CPS). Following the report, the father attempted to put restrictions on the mother’s time with the children.
Susie, who was severely intimidated by her ex-husband and his attorney, turned to SASH Supervising Attorney Javier Bastidas for assistance. With his help, Susie presented information to the CPS caseworker that showed the true dynamics of the parents’ emotionally and psychologically abusive relationship. It also became clear that the father was involving the children in the custody conflict in inappropriate ways.
With the assistance of a SASH social worker, Susie was placed with a domestic violence counselor, a safety plan was created, and she obtained full control over the timeshare with the children. In the end, the parents and their attorneys came together during a four-way conference to create a comprehensive parenting plan that helped ensure the children’s overall welfare.
Without the representation the SASH project provided, it is unlikely that such a fair and just stipulation could have ever been reached.
By the Numbers: JDC at a Glance