A new Self-Help Legal Access Center and a new children’s waiting room at Santa Monica Courthouse are designed to help thousands of Los Angeles County residents who need to conduct court business and cannot afford legal assistance or childcare.

There is no charge for using either service.

“Court customers will greatly benefit from both facilities, and we are proud to offer the services to them,” said West District Supervising Judge Linda K. Lefkowitz.

With the support of Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved funding for the self-help facility, the county’s sixth such facility.

“The new self-help legal access center will provide self-represented litigants with the assistance they need to complete court documents quickly, efficiently and effectively,” said Yaroslavsky.

Funding for the children’s waiting room operating costs — and other county courthouse children’s waiting rooms — is generated by a $3 filing fee.

The self-help center is funded by the county’s Department of Consumer Affairs and is staffed by Neighborhood Legal Services.

An attorney, a paralegal and trained volunteers will provide people with information about preparing legal forms, appearing in court and learning courtroom procedures.

The children’s waiting room opens this week and accommodates children ages two-and-a-half to 13, who may stay while their parents or guardians conduct business in the courthouse. The facility is staffed by the Knowledge Learning Corp.

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