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NAACP to offer free legal aid to St. Louis County kids

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CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) – Children appearing in St. Louis County family courts soon can get free legal representation under a program being unveiled by the county’s NAACP chapter.

The move will be detailed during an NAACP-sponsored community leadership brunch Friday.

That’s exactly one week after the U.S. Department of Justice released a report critical of the county’s family court system. The department found that black youths there are treated harsher than whites, and that juveniles often are deprived of constitutional rights.

The investigation was initiated in 2013 amid complaints that black youths were treated unfairly in the family court, which handles about 6,000 youth cases each year.

Calling that report’s findings “troubling,” the county’s NAACP says it will work with local attorneys to provide pro bono help for youths.

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