Pro bono lawyers from Baker McKenzie, in partnership with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri and Enterprise Holdings, have released a state-specific handbook for vulnerable youth in Missouri

Global law firm Baker McKenzie, in partnership with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri (LSEM) and Enterprise Holdings Inc. (EHI), today announced the publication of the Missouri Homeless Youth Handbook during a launch event held at EHI's headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. The Handbook is an online resource designed to equip young people and their advocates with accessible information about their legal rights and resources for a more stable future.

Homelessness creates endless social and economic challenges for youth, including increased risk of involvement with the justice system. In Missouri schools, 32,674 students were estimated to be experiencing some form of homelessness over the course of the 2020-2021 school year.

Covering topics including education, domestic and dating violence, health care, and more, the Homeless Youth Handbook is written in easy-to-understand language and presented in a searchable, question-and-answer format. The resource will be shared with schools, libraries, public agencies, social advocates and others throughout Missouri.

"This Handbook will make a difference in the lives of young Missourians seeking answers and resources during the most vulnerable times of their lives," said Amanda Schneider, Managing Attorney at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri. "It removes a major barrier by providing access to accurate information in a format that young people can navigate and understand on their own. It also guides them to the best organizations in the state of Missouri where they can receive additional assistance."

"The Missouri Homeless Youth Handbook has the power to help a young person located in any part of the state," said Mike Andrew, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Enterprise Holdings. "Our team was eager to participate in this project knowing it has the potential to help homeless children and teens on such a large scale. Nearly 30 volunteers from EHI's Legal team donated more than 400 hours of pro bono effort to research, write, and edit the handbook."

The Missouri edition of the Homeless Youth Handbook marks the 13th version of the resource, which is now available in 12 states and Washington, DC. Learn more about the Homeless Youth Handbook project here.

“We are thrilled that this partnership has allowed us to expand the availability of the Homeless Youth Handbook to Missouri," said Colin Murray, North America Chief Executive Officer at Baker McKenzie. "The collaboration of in-house counsel, a non-profit organization and our own lawyers exemplifies how, by combining our resources and leveraging our strengths, we can make a meaningful difference for a highly vulnerable population. This project aligns perfectly with our Firm's focus on protecting and empowering vulnerable youth around the world."

Added Jaclyn Pampel, Baker McKenzie Pro Bono Partner, "We thank our partners at LSEM and EHI for the time and talent they dedicated to the Missouri Homeless Youth Handbook. This was a huge undertaking, and thanks to their efforts we are able to offer clear, critical guidance to youth in the state of Missouri."

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