Access to Justice: Interpreters for the Deaf

The SC Access to Justice Commission is pleased to collaborate with the SC School for the Deaf and Blind (SCSDB), SC Court Administration, the SC Association of the Deaf (SCAD), the SC Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (SCRID), SC Legal Services (SCLS), the SC Bar Public Services Division, and Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc. (P&A) to ensure that all Deaf South Carolinians have equal access to the civil court system.

Part of that collaboration was to increase the number of qualified American Sign Language Interpreters in the courts. Well, as you may recall, last summer, the SCSDB partnered with Richland County to help 25 sign language interpreters work toward nationally recognized legal certification. And earlier this month, that’s exactly what occurred.

From January 6, 2011 through January 9, 2011, 25 sign language interpreters gathered in Richland County for “Foundations of Court Interpreting” by Carla Mathers, who is licensed to practice law in Maryland and D.C. and holds a Comprehensive Skills Certificate (CSC) and a Specialist Certificate:  Legal (SC:L) and has written a book about legal interpreting.

And the collaborators remain committed to providing quality sign language interpretation in the courts.

And many thanks to The State for its coverage of this topic!

-RFW

Domestic Violence Awareness Month – Richland County Bar Helps!

Thanks to Guest Blogger Elizabeth Cook! And my apologies for not uploading earlier.

The Richland County Bar Association is hosting a fundraiser on October 22, during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, to raise money for Sistercare, a local organization that provides services for battered women and their children—and we need your help!  Please join us for a shrimp boil and silent auction to benefit Sistercare on Thursday, October 22, 2009, at 6:00 at the University House.  We’re going to have a great time enjoying a delicious shrimp boil and fried chicken with fixin’s from Seawell’s, the traditional Bluegrass music of The Carolina Rebels, door prizes, and bidding on an array of auction items.

Please take the time to view this brief video to learn about victim services in South Carolina, Sistercare and how your support can help them provide much-needed legal services to battered women in the midlands.

Sistercare has lost a significant portion of its grant funding, like so many other service organizations during the recent economic downturn.  This loss of funding is directly impacting Sistercare’s ability to provide legal services and support to the women it serves.  Your tax-deductible contribution will be used to supplement Sistercare’s budget for legal work, allowing Sistercare’s attorneys and court advocates to better represent the interests of its clients.  Sistercare is dependent on donations from individuals and groups to survive right now—please consider donating to this worthy cause.

For more information about Sistercare, visit www.sistercare.com .  For more information about the shrimp boil and to make a reservation or donation, contact the Richland County Bar at 771-9801 or mail your check to Richland County Bar, PO Box 7632, Columbia, South Carolina 29202.  Thank you in advance for supporting the indispensable services provided by Sistercare.  We look forward to seeing you on October 22nd; your donation will truly make a difference!

 

PS – Spoke with Elizabeth Cook. They raised $3,000 for Sistercare with this fundraiser.

Congratulations Commissioner Frierson!

The Honorable Rosalyn W. Frierson
The Honorable Rosalyn W. Frierson

In case you missed the story in The State last week, SC Access to Justice Commissioner Rosalyn W. Frierson, Director of South Carolina Court Administration, was appointed to the Board of Directors of the National Center for State Courts.

The National Center for State Courts works to improve the administration of justice through leadership and service to state courts, and courts around the world.  

Congratulations Commissioner Frierson!

-RFW

Father’s Day Focus: South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families

For the last few weeks, in my daily newspaper, I’ve seen ads reminding me that Father’s Day is coming and I should purchase that special gift for my father.

Happy Fathers Day: Here's a nice tie!
Happy Fathers Day: Here's a nice tie!

Well, my dad isn’t much for material gifts – goods or services. His repeated message to me is to be a happy, healthy, responsible and well-adjusted adult. And he’s offered me the gift of a stable role model, a provider for my family and someone who is available to talk to when things aren’t going so well or when something brings me joy. I’m lucky to have him in my life.

And that got me thinking, thinking about families where fathers aren’t always around.

Last spring the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission held public hearings around the state. And several fathers, participants in programs with the South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families, spoke up about the legal gaps they encounter.

  • Father #1 currently has a wife and four children at home, but also two children from a previous relationship. He pays his monthly child support. He does not have any visitation rights. He asked for help to be able to see his children.
  • Father #2 was incarcerated for being in arrears for his child support payments. As a result he was placed into the program and has been diligently working with the program.
  • Father #3 meets the federal poverty guidelines even though he is working. He has been diligently paying his child support for 3 years and still does not have any visitation.
  • Father #4 paid child support for years without any visitation. He came to the program for assistance with visitation. Communication with his child’s mother was at a stand-still. He was unable to make any headway until he came to the Fatherhood program and learned skills to communicate with his child’s mother. As a result of his new skills, he was finally able to obtain visitation.

Another father participated in the SCETV special program on The Big Picture which focused on the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission and Self-Represented Litigants.

The Center performs a needed service – uniting children with their fathers.  And that’s something good to remember this Father’s Day.

-RFW

For more information about the Center for Fathers and Families, you may want to review the history of the center. The Center was developed from “Reducing Poverty through Father Engagement,” which was launched in 1997.

Berkowitz & Knapp: Op-Ed Take 2


Last December, Commissioner Sue Berkowitz and Columbia Business Leader Frank Knapp co-wrote an Op-Ed on Medical Spending. This morning they teamed up for a second Op-Ed – Berkowitz and Knapp: Hidden Health Tax Must End. It’s well worth the read.

-RFW

Congratulations Professor Robert T. Bockman!

Yesterday South Carolina honored Professor Robert T. Bockman with the Order of the Palmetto, one of the two highest civilian honors in the state. South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal presented the prestigious award to Professor Bockman, who had been nominated by his law school students.

Thanks to both The State and The Daily Gamecock for their coverage.

-RFW

Estimate in: NACA “Saves the Dream” for 12,000

A follow-up story in The State estimates that the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America aka NACA assisted roughly 12,000 people this weekend.

If you were unable to make it to the Coliseum this weekend, don’t fret.  You can visit NACA online at www.naca.com or call toll-free 1-888-302-NACA.

-RFW

PS – For earlier coverage of this story, click here.