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.

Comments are closed

Just Posted

VIDEO: North Island Bantam Eagles tie Dawson Creek Canucks in front of massive hometown crowd in Port Hardy

The Tier 3 Bantam Championships continued in style last night at the Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena.

Port Hardy RCMP’s 2018 fourth quarter crime stats are in

Port Hardy RCMP Staff Sgt. Wes Olsen spoke to Port Hardy council March 12.

Port Alice’s Scotiabank branch closing for good next month

Port Alice is going through a transition to a more diversified economy that includes tourism.

VIDEO: North Island Bantam Eagles blast Kelowna Rockets in first game of the Championships in Port Hardy

The Eagles are back in action at 7:30 p.m. tonight against the Dawson Creek KFC Canucks.

VIDEO: RCMP ask kids to help name soon-to-be police dogs

13 German shepherd puppies will be born this year

Disappearance of Merritt cowboy now deemed suspicious: police

Ben Tyner was reported missing when his riderless horse was discovered on a logging road

Distillers hope federal budget scraps alcohol escalator tax

Tax hike set for April 1, marking third automatic increase in three years time

Kids found playing darts with syringes in Vancouver Island park

Saanich police is urging people to throw out their syringes properly and safely

BC Ferries has no plans to implement debit for vehicle ticket payments

Debit accepted for foot passengers, on-board purchases for all vessels

‘The whole city has changed:’ B.C. woman in New Zealand reacts to mosque attacks

An expatriate and Muslim students at UBC Okanagan deeply affected by white supremacist shooting

Trudeau condemns hateful, ‘toxic segments’ of society after New Zealand shooting

Prime Minister expressed sorrow at the many attacks in recent years

Air Canada grounds its Boeing Max 8s until at least July 1 to provide certainty

Airlines around the world have been working to redeploy their fleets since their Max 8s were grounded last week

Budget to tout Liberal economic record, provide distraction from SNC furor

This is the Liberal government’s fourth and final budget before the election

Most Read