The staff at the Legal Services Society’s new Parents Legal Centre offices work with parents facing the possibility that their children may be removed from their home in child protection cases. The aim is to keep more families together.

Keeping families together: Legal and advocacy efforts helping parents

Child protection assistance, supports available through new Parents Legal Centre offices

Increasing the chances that Indigenous and other families in crisis can stay together is a primary focus of a new service offered by the Legal Services Society of B.C.

If there’s a possibility your children may be removed from your home by the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD), or they have already been placed in foster care, you may be eligible for help from legal and advocacy staff at the new Parents Legal Centres (PLC) in Duncan and Campbell River.

Nearly 60 per cent of children in foster care in B.C. are Indigenous. The PLC’s goal is to provide aboriginal parents with legal representation and other supports earlier in the child protection process.

Acknowledging your family’s challenges

Lawyer Katrina Harry, who opened the first PLC in Vancouver in 2015, says centre staff are there to help you tackle some of the issues that can lead to child safety concerns.

“The root of many such cases is poverty – not neglect,” says Harry, who is Indigenous. “Sometimes a family just needs a decent roof over their head, but because good low-cost housing is hard to find, parents may lose their children. If we can solve the housing issue for a client, then children can be at home.”

Here’s other examples how the PLC can help:

  • Advocates play a major role A mother of two, struggling to comply with a Supervision Order, is overwhelmed in advance of a meeting with the social worker. A PLC advocate accompanies the mom to the meeting and explains that to keep the mom on track, she needs help with bus tickets to get her kids to and from appointments. The advocate also requests a food voucher, which allows the mom to buy a birthday cake for her child. The emotional support of the advocate helps parents meet the requirements of Supervision Orders and keep the children at home.
  • Teaming up to help An addicted mother expecting her first child draws concern from MCFD. Despite maintaining her sobriety plans for two months, she has no fixed address, no partner and no local family. A PLC lawyer advises about her rights and obligations, while a PLC advocate attends her meetings with the social worker, helping the mother address protection concerns and securing assistance with housing, income and parenting. A Safety Plan is created post-birth that allows the mother to keep her child and receive needed supports to follow through on that plan.

Service available to all families that qualify

While the focus has been on helping address the child protection crisis in over-represented Indigenous communities, PLC services are available to any parents at risk of having children removed from their home, as long as you meet the eligibility guidelines.

To get more details and speak to someone about your case or someone else who needs assistance, call the Duncan office at 778-455-5070 or the Campbell River office at 778-336-9480. You can also drop in to either PLC (click links for map). You can also follow Legal Services Society on Facebook.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

North Island Rising: Port McNeill council needs to step up their game

“the ‘newbie’ label has long worn off and it is time for some to step up their game.”

Port Hardy RCMP still looking for suspect in liquor store break and enter theft

The theft happened around midnight back on Jan. 28, 2020.

‘Spacecapades’ Ice Carnival is coming to the Chilton Regional Arena in Port McNeill

‘Spacecapades’ will feature 18 different acts and an intermission in the middle of the show.

Bradshaw’s Photo Highlight: Otters in the water

“It seemed as though the older otters were more willing to be photographed”

Bantams win first game of playoff finals against Thunderbirds

“The team would appreciate a big show of support”

Toddler killed in Squamish grocery store parking lot

Child’s mother taken to hospital but her condition is not known

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

B.C. mother, daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Bald eagle hit by train in northern B.C. has a chance of survival

The raptor has been taken to OWL in the Lower Mainland for recovery

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Hundreds of B.C. firefighters ‘climb the wall’ for BC Lung Association

The charity fundraiser saw participants climbing up 48 storeys

Most Read