According to her community worker, teenager Bobby was on the road to prison – a fate that meets many young people exiting the Child Protection system. Bobby was already homeless, had accumulated 32 criminal charges and owed over $4000 of fines and debt. When she reluctantly met LawRight volunteer lawyers in the company of her community worker, she couldn’t look them in the eye or sit still long enough to ask for help. But the lawyers persisted.
After one year of meeting with Bobby at a beach park, the lawyers had sorted out the debts, sorted out all the criminal charges, made an application for housing and helped Bobby access her Child Safety records. Bobby learnt that her intellectual disabilities had never been properly diagnosed.
After 2 years, the lawyers had connected Bobby to disability services and supported her to challenge a complex family violence dispute.
After 3 years, Bobby contacts her lawyers herself, when she needs them. She became pregnant and worked with the lawyers to persuade Child Safety not to remove the child at birth. She is currently in stable housing, commits no crimes and is a loving mum who welcomes the wrap-around support of disability, child safety and legal services.
Bobby was helped by LegalPod, which currently provides 48 young people exiting state care with their own “pod’ of volunteer lawyers. LegalPod aims to reduce the 88% homelessness risk of this cohort by giving young people a persistent lawyer who will address the housing, income, health and criminal problems which prevent a stable transition to independence. 11 law firms and 11 community agencies collaborate with LegalPod.