Sarah Halsell, J.D.
State Legal Services Developer
The Legal Services Developer provides leadership in developing legal assistance programs for persons 60 years of age and older and promotes the continued development of statewide legal services delivery systems that coordinate efforts of the statewide Senior Legal Helpline, Title IIIB legal resources, private bar pro bono activities, and self-help legal resources to ensure maximum impact from limited resources.
Effective coordination of the legal service delivery system with the aging network helps connect the best possible low-cost or free legal resources in Florida’s communities to help at-risk seniors avoid legal pitfalls that may threaten their independence and direct them to important benefits and protections that can enhance their quality of life.
- Older Americans Act, Title III Legal Services
Title III of the Older Americans Act makes funds available specifically for legal assistance to the elderly. The Legal Services Developer provides oversight of the Title III legal assistance programs and assures that at-risk older people have access to the civil justice system. The activities of these legal programs and the Legal Services Developer help in supporting those most vulnerable older people enabling them to retain autonomy, remain in the community and assists in the prevention of many kinds of abuses against older people.
- Florida Senior Legal Helpline
The Department partners with Bay Area Legal Services, Inc., of Tampa on a toll-free helpline to increase access to legal advice and referrals for underserved Florida seniors. The Senior Legal Helpline provides free legal advice and brief services by telephone to eligible Florida residents age 60 and older for civil (not criminal) legal problems. The helpline (1-888-895-7873) is available each weekday.