The South Miami Children’s Clinic has been providing high quality medical care to uninsured children living in South Miami since it opened its doors in March 2007. Like many health care providers in the U.S. who take care of children from low-income families, the clinic is now offering free services from a new specialist: a lawyer.
Along with the general pediatric care, including sick visits, well child exams, immunizations and school and sports physicals provided by board-certified pediatrician and medical director, Dr. Tina Carroll- Scott, attorney Kevin Probst conducts weekly intakes and client meetings at South Miami Children’s Clinic to provide the clinic’s families with free legal services.
The goal of this medical-legal partnership, known as the Children’s Health Advocacy Project (CHAP-Miami), is to improve the health and well-being of South Miami children and their families by addressing the social determinants and non-medical factors that are often barriers to good health.
Since the Project began in September 2010, Probst, an attorney with Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. (LSGMI), has helped families with issues ranging from substandard housing and evictions, appropriate education services, unemployment compensation, social security and disability benefits, to other public benefits such as food stamps and income supports.
“In some cases, the basic needs of these families have not been met,” said Dr. Scott, a graduate of Princeton University and Boston University School of Medicine. “It’s important to start from the bottom up and resolve these underlying issues, so parents can then focus on their children’s health.”
Probst added, “Dr. Scott provides preventive medicine and I provide preventive law. Our goal is to help families identify and resolve problems before they become a physical or mental health crisis.”
Probst sees an average of five families per week and has assisted more than 60 families since the partnership’s inception. A graduate of the University of Miami School of Law, Probst developed the CHAP-Miami as an Equal Justice Works Fellow, sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, LLP and the Florida Bar Foundation.
The medical services provided by South Miami Children’s Clinic have been made possible by the generous support and donations of Jim and Susan Carr, The Lennar Foundation, United Healthcare, Baptist Health South Florida and the City of South Miami, which donated the clinic’s building. Since Probst’s fellowship ends in August 2011, he and Dr. Scott are looking for new funding and support to keep the medical- legal partnership going, as well.
“Our families have welcomed Kevin and this service with open arms,” said Dr. Scott. “They are so happy to have someone advocating for them, someone who is in their corner. Kevin is helping parents resolve issues that are keeping them from taking care of their children’s health. As a result, children’s health issues are improving and chronic issues are decreasing.”
For more information on how you can support the South Miami Children’s Clinic medical-legal partnership, call LSGMI’s Deputy Director, Margaret Zehren, at 305- 438-2503. The clinic is located at 6701 SW 58 Place in South Miami and is open Monday – Friday.
To learn more about the medical services offered at the clinic, call 305-662-5988 or visit www.southmiamichildrensclinic.com.