Medical-legal partnership interventions and child development: Cross-sector partnerships to address social determinants of health

Institute for Child Success

The challenges facing the healthcare delivery system are multifaceted and complex, with a wide range of stakeholders looking to both improve public health while reducing costs and burdens on the healthcare system. Medical-Legal Partnerships off er an innovative, cost-efficient approach by layering medical diagnosis and treatment with an examination and remediation of environmental factors in patients’ lives causing them to be or stay sick. Medical-Legal Partnerships (MLPs) go beyond treating symptoms to address root contextual causes that limit child and family health and well-being. Through a holistic approach, MLPs foster immediate and long-term health while removing barriers to supporting healthy child development and healthy families.This paper outlines the structure, services, and outcomes associated with Medical-Legal Partnerships, explores the growth and utilization of MLPs in South Carolina as a case study to inform other efforts, highlights the impact of social determinants of health and child development, and identifies opportunities to strengthen MLP service delivery for improved public health.

K.A. Ruble, K. Mitchell, K. Sease. Medical-Legal Partnership Interventions and Child Development: Cross-sector Partnerships to Address Social Determinants of Health. Greenville, SC: Institute for Child Success. 2018. Available online.

Publication Year: 
Resource Type: 
Issue Briefs & Reports
Study Design: 
Other Study Design
Social Determinant of Health: 
Legal Services
Screening Research: