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Formative Evaluation of a Medical-Legal Partnership on the Westside of Chicago

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2021
42 pages

This report describes the purpose, functions, and data collection of the Under the Rainbow (UTR) Legal Council Medical Legal Partnership (MLP), a pediatric trauma-based therapy program within Sinai Chicago’s Behavioral Health Department that is “a healthcare delivery model that incorporates legal services as a key component of healthcare.”


The goal of this MLP is to provide training and support to providers on legal and social barriers to health and provide free legal assistance to patients. This is based in a recognition that access to judicial and legal services is an often overlooked social determinant of health that can contribute to improved health outcomes for patients. The partnership places an attorney on a child’s treatment team to promote early identification of and intervention to address any legal and social barriers to addressing unmet healthcare needs of the child. The UTR partnership specializes in assessing and treating youth with histories of neglect, abuse, and other traumas, while expanding their services to include youth with mental and behavioral health issues. This report describes the roles and responsibilities of UTR clinicians and staff, along with legal council MLP staff roles and responsibilities. A figure shows the process for an MLP client in receiving legal services. Legal training and capacity-building for UTR staff are also explained. Among issues that have been included in sessions are bullying in school, special education, housing, public benefits, remote learning plans, and termination of public benefits. Program data can be used for quality improvement activities by either partner organization. The MLP uses program data from both UTR and MLP. These data can be used for quality improvement activities by either partner organization. 1 figure, 1 table, and appended forms

Date Published: September 1, 2021