Earlier this year, Counsel for Justice (CFJ) announced that the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA) Domestic Violence Legal Services Project (DVP) was awarded a $10,000 grant by the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists Foundation (Foundation) to support its efforts to provide pro bono legal services to victims of domestic violence and elder abuse in Los Angeles County.

“We are extremely grateful to the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists Foundation for awarding this $10,000 grant to support the efforts of LACBA’s Domestic Violence Legal Services Project to help clients take their first step to breaking away from their abuser,” said CFJ President Mark Garscia. “This $10,000 is one of the largest awards the Foundation has granted and will support DVP’s efforts to meet the ever increasing demand for TROs and other services for victims of domestic violence.”

“The Association of Certified Family Law Specialists Foundation selected LACBA’s Domestic Violence Legal Services Project to receive this grant because it is effectively providing needed services to diverse and underserved abused litigants in a creative and pro-active manner,” said Foundation President Joseph J. Bell. “We believe that this award will have a substantial positive effect on the Domestic Violence Legal Services Project’s ability to directly serve an increasing number of clients.”

Last year alone, DVP staff and volunteers guided 4,222 clients through the complex and difficult processes of obtaining temporary restraining orders, stay-away orders, move-out orders, child custody and visitation orders, and support orders.

“Our involvement at a crucial point in the process assures both access to the court and resolution of petitions in a timely manner, relieving an enormous burden from the court attempting to process what would otherwise be an incomplete or inaccurate petition, which could result in delay of protection orders being issued,” said DVP Director Sara Rondon. “Without the help of our pro bono volunteers, many of the people DVP sees would find these complex petitions intimidating and daunting, leaving many to feel hopeless with nowhere else to turn.”

The Foundation was formed by the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists (ACFLS), an independent non-profit organization composed of certified family law specialists dedicated to promoting and preserving the practice of family law in California. In 2014, Los Angeles family law Judge Thomas Trent Lewis, an ACFLS fellow, suggested that ACFLS consider a greater legacy and do something to positively support not just ACFLS members, but all those who come in contact with California family courts. The Foundation was created as a separate entity from ACFLS. Grants such as those awarded to DVP are due to the generosity of ACFLS members who are encouraged to donate an amount equal to one billable hour each year.

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