A National Resource to Support Excellence in Community Action
Last Revised: Jul 30, 2011 - Initial Posting: Aug 23, 2005

CAPLAW provides expert legal assistance nationwide for Community Action Agencies.


CAPLAWThrough its in-house legal staff and network of private attorneys, CAPLAW provides direct legal consultation, technical assistance, trainings and publications on a wide variety of legal and management topics affecting Community Action Agencies (CAAs).

This assistance enables CAAs to operate legally sound organizations and to promote the effective participation of low-income people in the planning and delivery of CAA programs and services, thereby enhancing CAAs' ability to provide the nation's poor with opportunities to improve their quality of life and achieve their full potential.

CAPLAW Services Include:

  • Individualized legal consultation with CAA’s and their attorneys
  • Annual national training conference for executive directors, fiscal and human resources directors, program managers, board members and attorneys, as well as CAA association staff and state and federal government officials
  • Workshops and Webinars
    • Legal training workshops at state, regional, and national CAA association conferences, including:
      • CAPLAW Legal Liability Audit for Community Action Agencies
      • Looking for Excellence in Nonprofit Governance
      • Lobbying and Political Activity
      • For-Profit Training for Non-Profits
    • Webinars – periodic presentations that participants view on their computers over the Internet while listening on the telephone to presenters discuss the information on the slides and answer audience questions.  To enable CAAs across the country to access high-quality training while minimizing travel costs, CAPLAW has conducted a number of web and audio conferences.  Attendees follow along with Power Point slides or over the internet as presenters discuss the conference information. Topics have included:
      • Davis-Bacon Update
      • Complying with the New 403(b) Plan Rules
      • Head Start Reauthorization
      • Federal Grant Law
      • Fair Labor Standards Act
      • Internal Controls: Get Ready for the ARRA Spotlight
      • Roadmap to Recovery Act, Financial Compliance
    • Interactive Training Modules

CAPLAW Membership

Membership in CAPLAW is open to all CAA’s, as well as State and Regional CAA Associations.  Dues vary according to agency funding levels (CAA’s) or number of member CAA’s (Associations).  Some benefits of membership are:

  • Consultation with CAPLAW Legal Counsel
  • CAPLAW Assistance with a Legal Liability Audit
  • Technical Assistance for CAAs' local counsel
  • Educational Programs and Materials
  • e-Bulletins and other publications – a series of brief email reports on current legal developments affecting CAAs
  • Discounts on conference and web conference registration

CAPLAW Website

CAPLAW's website features numerous useful tools for CAAs, including:

Model Policies on the CAPLAW website Include:

  • Sample Head Start Grievance Procedures
  • Conflict of Interest Policy and Agreement for Directors and Staff of the Community Action Agency (Provided to CAPLAW by Joel Kaleva, Esq., of Crowley, Haughey Hanson, Toole & Dietrich in Missoula, Montana. 406-523-3600)
  • Sample Conflict of Interest Policy for CAA/Head Start Grantee Board of Directors
  • Sample Conflict of Interest Policy for CAA/Head Senior Staff
  • Sample Complaint Resolution Policy for CAA/Head Start Grantee Board of Directors
  • CAA Political Activity Policy
  • Sample Board of Directors Application/Questionnaire for CAA Head Start Grantee
  • Information Technology Resources Policy

CAPLAW Member Resources

CAPLAW members enjoy many additional resource in addition to direct legal consultation, including:

  • Archived Legal Update Newsletters
  • E-Bulletins
  • Conference hand-outs and materials

CAPLAW also provides links to other resources useful to CAAs:

  • ARRA
  • Community Action Network
  • Community Services Block Grant (CSBG)
  • Davis-Bacon
  • Employment Law
  • Financial Management
  • Governance
  • Grant Law
  • Head Start
  • Health Care Reform
  • Lobbying and Political Activity
  • Open Meetings and Public Records
  • Tax Law
  • Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)
  • Other Topics of Interest

By enabling CAA’s to operate legally sound organizations, CAPLAW protects and enhances CAAs' ability to provide the nation’s poor with opportunities to improve their quality of life and achieve their full potential.

CAPLAW consults with CAA's and their attorneys on a wide range of legal issues.  Examples of individualized legal consultation with CAA’s and their attorneys include:

  • Resolution of issues regarding funding non-CAA organizations with CSBG funds
  • Analysis of the legality of removing a region from a CAA’s service area or reducing CSBG funds without following statutory requirements
  • Advising local counsel on defense of employment discrimination lawsuit brought by former Head Start Director and on resolution of governance issues with Head Start Policy Council
  • Reviewing by-laws for compliance with current CSBG law
  • Advising on application of Hatch Act and other political activity and lobbying rules
  • Successfully advocating on behalf of CAA for reversal of decision to disallow pension costs in indirect cost proposal

Eleanor Evans, Executive Director