The Family Law Assistance Network (FLAN)--a partnership between Legal Aid, The D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center, and the D.C. Affordable Law Firm-- has reached a milestone of 1,000 referrals since its start in March 2020.
The FLAN was first conceptualized in early 2019, when attorneys from the partner organizations collaborated to create a court-based program to provide same-day advice and representation for litigants with cases in the Domestic Relations Branch (DRB) of D.C. Superior Court. Many other branches, like the Parentage and Child Support Branch and the Domestic Violence Division, already offered similar services, so the attorneys saw a need that was not being met.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, FLAN had been poised and ready to open the doors to its physical court-based office and begin assisting litigants. Instead, FLAN quickly pivoted to all virtual services and began tackling high-stakes emergencies that arose in the early days of the pandemic and has continued to serve litigants with custody, visitation, and divorce needs since that time.
Over the past 15 months, the FLAN has received 1,000 referrals for help. Referrals have come from Judges, the Family Court Self-Help Center in D.C. Superior Court, other legal services organizations, direct calls by litigants, and FLAN outreach. Legal Aid is thrilled to work with our partners to achieve this milestone, and the FLAN looks forward to our next challenges.