CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Families in Charleston will soon have access to pro bono legal assistance.

The State Journal ( ) reports that a new service seeks to provide free aid to west side residents who need legal advice on civil issues including eviction, custody issues and rental conditions.

The program will be provided through a new partnership between Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary School and Legal Aid of West Virginia, which is currently soliciting attorneys to provide the services.

Legal Aid spokeswoman Kate White said the service will fill a need identified by the Handle With Care initiative, a program that alerts school staffers when a child has been exposed to a traumatic event. The initiative is a collaboration among the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia, school staff and the community.

“We are very, very excited,” said Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary School nurse Janet Allio. “We often have times when grandparents or other family members are actually raising children and do not have legal guardianship. That can cause problems getting medical and psychological care.”

The program is being funded through a two-year $279,000 grant from the Legal Services Corporation.

White said the grant will provide the staff capacity and time needed to recruit attorneys who will meet with west side residents in person to assist them with forms and documentation.

Information from: The State Journal,

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