FSU, attorneys team up to assist children July 1, 2002 Regular News FSU, attorneys team up to assist children What do special education and health care have to do with each other?Plenty when it comes to helping children, say the lawyers and law students at the Children’s Advocacy Center at the Florida State University College of Law.Thanks to a $60,000 grant from The Florida Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of The Florida Bar, the Children’s Advocacy Center’s Special Education/Health Care Law Project is flourishing.“I can’t say enough about what an important grant this is in the state of Florida,” said Clinical Professor Paolo Annino, co-director of the Children’s Advocacy Center.“These are children who would have been injured or not receiving services needed to flourish, but for The Florida Bar Foundation grant. That $60,000 grant really is our backbone, the keel of our ship.”There are 41 ongoing cases involving the neediest of children – homeless children, abused and neglected children in the dependency system, and pregnant teenagers.One recent case Annino described is a 4-year-old severely autistic child, who runs away, jumps out of car windows and loves to sit in the middle of the road.“His mom and dad are wonderul working folks, out there trying to keep their heads above water,” Annino said.“But they have their hands full and have two other autistic children. The 4-year-old needs a behaviorial management plan, and to get that you have to have a Medicaid waiver.”But the state of Florida refused to grant such a waiver, Annino said, because there was no crisis.“They were saying he hadn’t been hospitalized yet — the very thing we’re trying to avoid.”So Annino and his students represented the child at a contested hearing before an administrative law judge June 13, and they await a ruling.While Annino has no trouble getting grants for pamphlets, education, and community outreach, it is difficult to get money for litigation on behalf of children.“A lot of places don’t feel comfortable about children having legal rights and going into court. But the Foundation does,” a grateful Annino said.What makes this project unique is the way it links special education and health care, because at least one-third of the kids the Children’s Advocacy Center represent have both special education and health care issues.Described as a model for the state and nation, the project has joined forces with the Leon County Health Department, the Public Defender’s Office, the Guardian ad Litem Program, and the Child Protection Team to address special education and health care issues. This collaboration has given the Children’s Advocacy Center access to essential information to help vulnerable children who often fall through the cracks.The work is carried out by Annino, a full-time clinical professor, a part-time program assistant and two dozen law students, who are required to work a minimum of 20 hours a week on the project.They address the systematic violation of federal rights of disabled children by litigating individual cases in Northwest Florida, primarily by using the legal vehicles of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).A key objective is trying to keep the child in school, when school districts are routinely expelling special education children.And they navigate the bureaucratic maze on behalf of eligible children to enroll in Healthy Kids and make sure they are receiving the health care services they need.“A large part of health care advocacy is outreach: finding the children who have fallen through the cracks,” according to the Center’s successful grant proposal.The health department deputizes the law students to act as volunteer health department officers, giving them access to the Leon County School’s National School Lunch Program applications, which every poor child’s guardian must sign in order for the child to receive a subsidized breakfast/lunch.“This federal form asks whether the child has health care insurance. My students have copied several hundreds of these forms,” Annino said. “The Children’s Advocacy Center had created a protocol, a questionnaire, and a ‘telemarketing’ script. The students telephone the numbers and offer our services to get the child enrolled in a subsidized health care plan. If the guardians want our services, we schedule an in-person interview at the CAC. During the interview, we provide full legal services. In addition to health care, we inquire about educational, delinquency, dependency, and disability issues.”Another way the law students find children in need of services is setting up a booth at the annual North Florida Fair, offering health care advocacy to parents and children who walk by.They also receive clients by referrals from Legal Services of North Florida for SSI cases, a majority of which also have special education and health care access issues.The Public Defender’s Office has assisted in obtaining school and medical records, and has actively participated with the CAC in negotiations with the School District and Medicaid office.A new collaboration with the Child Protection Team will bring more referrals of special education and health care cases to the CAC. In return, the CAC has agreed to provide the Children Protection Team with ongoing advice on abuse, neglect, and abandonment cases.The Guardian ad Litem Program has referred cases to the CAC and has been a great source of information on children, as well as being tremendous allies in foster care cases.“They have supported us in arguing before the court for appropriate placement and services for our children,” Annino said.“FSU’s health care access project can be and should be replicated across the state,” he said. “It has great potential for success: to enroll a large group of children, who fall through the gaps, for health care services.”
Ex-coach of the Black Stars and Black Starlets, Otto Pfister has named Ghana’s Abedi Ayew ‘Pele’ and Samuel Eto’o Fils as the best players he has ever coached.With over 40 years of experience in coaching, German tactician, Otto Pfister believes Abedi ‘Pele’ and Samuel Eto’o are two priceless assets he had in teams he coached.In an interview on Citi TV’s The Tracker, the 82-year-old revealed that the duo of Abedi ‘Pele’ and Samuel Eto’o and cannot be compared.“I think Abedi Pele and Samuel Eto’o are the best players I have ever coached. They are absolutely on top. However, you cannot say Abedi is better than Eto’o or Eto’o is better than Abedi. They are two different players who play in two different positions.To German international, the two are the best he has ever although he has coached a lot of African stars. Samuel Eto’o was a top striker in his time. He won two UEFA Champions League trophies, one with Barcelona and the other with Inter Milan. Abedi Pele too won the same trophy with Olympique Marseille. But Abedi Pele for me in his position was a genius.Abedi was so strong, he had skills, anticipation. He can score, he was a true hero was for me. In his time, he was one of the best playmakers in the world.I have also managed top players like Tony Yeboah, Geremi Njitap, Tony Baffoe, Opoku Nti, Hossam Hassan, and Emmanuel Adebayor who were all great players.But on top of all the players I have coached, I will say Abedi Pele and Samuel Eto’o. Same level but Abedi was a wonderful player.BackgroundThe German tactician coached the Black Stars of Ghana from 1992-1993 and also handled the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon from 2007-2009.