LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Staff attorneys with the Los Angeles Unified School District will be allowed to voluntarily provide free legal services to unaccompanied minors who live within the district and are facing the threat of deportation.

The school board voted 6-1 Tuesday night to approved the program, which was sparked by the arrival in the United States of thousands
of children from El Salvador, Honduras and other countries last year.

An estimated 3,000 of the those underage refugees are living in Los Angeles County, with many of them having enrolled in LAUSD schools, according to district officials. Most of the children are between 15 and 17 years of age, with some as young as 5 years old.

Under the program announced last month, 10 LAUSD attorneys will be expected to take on individual cases for an average of one to three hours a week. They will make up their work hours by working late or on weekends, according to the district.

“Our lawyers, like our cafeteria workers and teachers, are important advocates to assist in meeting the needs of our youth and creating access to
justice, learning and achievement,” LAUSD board member Monica Garcia said. “I challenge other districts across the nation to do the same.”

It wasn’t immediately made clear when the program would get underway.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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