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March 31, 2020 Practice Points

Tips to Ensure Your Child Clients Have Access to Technology

Children’s lawyers need to ensure their clients have resources that they need during this outbreak.

By Cathy Krebs

We are monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation as it relates to law and litigation. Find more resources and articles on our COVID-19 portal. For the duration of the crisis, all coronavirus-related articles are outside the Section of Litigation paywall and available to all readers.

This list will continue to be updated as more resources are identified. If you have resources to add, contact us.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, having the right technology and access to the internet is essential as it will help youth access visits with family, education, and court hearings. Lawyers need to be checking in with each of their child clients to ensure that they have a laptop, iPad or at a minimum a phone, and access to the internet. If your client does not, here are some tips to get you started on ensuring that they secure the right technology.

Resources for Securing the Right Technology

One Simple Wish is working to get laptops into the hands of displaced students. Contact them by email at [email protected]. They can also help by connecting you with donors who may be able to fill other small needs.

Check with local and state charities. Some are providing laptops to children and families right now (for example, here is a story from Houston, Texas). If you are not sure where to start you could try Find Help, which provides direction to local organizations.

Check with your local and state educational systems to see what technology and internet access they are providing their students. Many school districts have begun distributing lap tops (here are two examples in Tucson, Arizona, and Chicago, Illinois). Indeed more school districts may begin supporting new access as the recent Congressional Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act (March 23, 2020) provides funds to local jurisdictions that can be used to purchase

educational technology and internet access for students, which may include assistive technology or adaptive equipment, that aids in regular and substantive educational interactions between students and their classroom instructor; provide ongoing professional development to staff in how to effectively provide quality online academic instruction; provide assistance for children and families to promote technology and internet access for students, which may equitable participation in 4 quality online learning.

Free or Affordable Internet Services

Comcast is offering free broadband internet to low-income households. To qualify for Internet Essentials, youth must be eligible for public assistance programs such as the National School Lunch Program, Medicaid, or SNAP.

Spectrum is also offering free internet for students in K-12.

Cox is offering the first month of its low-income internet program Connect2Compte for free.

More resources for free or affordable internet can be found.

Cathy Krebs is the director of the Children's Rights Litigation Committee.

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