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Kennedy Krieger Institute

What happens when a child with an intellectual or developmental disability becomes a young adult? How do they – and their families – traverse educational and health care changes, learn about public benefits and access adult services in the Baltimore area?

Each year, Kennedy Krieger Institute serves more than 3,000 young adults, aged 18 or over, through its clinical and educational services. But it was clear many of them were not prepared for the transitions they faced, said Maureen van Stone, associate director of The Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities (MCDD) at Kennedy Krieger.

This past spring, MCDD partnered with the University of Baltimore School of Law to help families with these legal issues. Twenty families signed up for a one-hour informational seminar led by UB professor Angela Vallario and Louise Michauz Gonzales, a partner at Hylton & Gonzales. Topics included drafting wills and trusts, special needs trusts, powers of attorney, advance directives and more.

Volunteer attorneys and UB students then paired up with families to help them draft these essential documents.

“While my goals of creating a partnership and implementing a pilot program were achieved, there is significant work that remains to be completed,” van Stone said. The program received funding from the University of Baltimore Foundation to continue throughout this academic year and she and Vallario are researching the future legal needs of those who attended the pilot program.