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California Veterans Legal Task Force

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Crime & Law, Legal Services

Mission: Organize and coordinate free legal services for california veterans.

Programs: Successfully completed three years of service with the san diego superior court veterans treatment review calendar pilot program. Cvltfs work included program team coordinator; program evaluation; and recruiting, training and supervising the program mentors. Began new san diego based veterans legal assistance and referral clinic (vlarc) providing omnibus legal assistance to veterans in san diego county jail. Conducted legal assessments, recruited pro bono counsel, completed applications for various benefits to assist veterans transitioning from jail to remove barriers to successful citizenship. In october, cvltf began regular presentations and consultations with inmates in san diego county jails veterans moving forward program, a special housing unit for veterans in custody. The program partners sheriffs staff, the us department of veterans affairs and local nonprofits to offer intensive programming, case management, and transition planning to help veterans who are being released from custody remove obstacles to success. Cvltf consults and works with inmates to remove legal barriers that prevent unemployment and homelessness and lead to recidivism. Created and strengthened partnerships with the us department of veterans affairs and the county of san diego to add cvltf veterans legal assistance and referral (vlarc) clinics for veterans to their programs and facilities. Continue to provide community and statewide technical assistance to public officials and lawmakers on legal issues of concern to military, veterans, and their families. Cvltf consultants provided data, educational information, and testimony to california state assembly and senate members and federal congressional representatives. In partnership with swords to plowshares (san francisco), public counsel los angeles, and the california department of veterans affairs, cvltf completed and published free web based mentor training program for peer support providers in veterans treatment courts and other legal venues. Revamped cvltf. Org website to provide research, video and educational information to veterans and their advocates at the intersection of mental health/trauma and the justice system. Provided guidance, education and technical advice that led to two new veterans treatment courts in californias sacramento and solano counties. Partnered with grassroots groups to foster the development of veterans treatment courts throughout the state of california. Participated in meetings with officials in butte, calaveras, contra costa, marin, monterey, sacramento, san joaquin, san luis obispo, santa cruz, sonoma, stanislaus, tuolumne, del norte, and yolo counties providing technical assistance to help explore the possibilities of vtcs in those counties. Cvltf created summary document to advise operating veterans treatment courts on the use of new laws that affect veterans including pc 1001. 80 misdemeanor diversion. In other activity related to veterans in criminal justice, cvltf consultants attended the veterans stand down in monterey county, gave presentations to judges and other justice professionals, visited the san francisco county jail to observe their veterans special housing unit (cover program), and provided talks on alternative sentencing for veterans in california. California governors interagency council on veterans (icv) cvltf consultant duncan macvicar served as the co-chair of the governors interagency council on veterans veterans justice subgroup (veterans health workgroup). In this role, he played a key part in initiatives designed to improve the knowledge and abilities of criminal defense counsel to represent veterans in courts including acquiring and posting sample briefs, liaisons with the california public defenders association, and promoting education for attorneys and advocates. Through the subgroup work, cvltf continues to advocate for affordable legal clinics for veterans; gain continuing legal education credits for army one source webinars on military cultural competency; promote the use of the vas veteran re-entry search service (vrss) in county jails; and provide for ca department of justices response to notification of restoration of rights under pc 1170. 9(h). Mr. Macvicar also represented the icv as a delegate to samhsas justice-involved service members and veterans implementation academy. San diego veterans coalition. Cvltf executive director jude litzenberger served as the second vice-chair (membership) of the coalition which coordinates the myriad of services for military, veterans and their families by nearly 150 partner organizations in san diego county. Sdvc is oft cited as a national model for best practices in community based organizations that coordinate services for veterans.

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