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 man trapped under ATV for days shows promise at Victoria hospital

Out of induced coma, 41-year-old is smiling, squeezing hands and enjoying sunshine

Crime on the rise? Here’s Port Hardy RCMP’s third quarter report for 2019

The Port Hardy RCMP has so far opened 3,349 files in 2019, with only the fourth quarter left.

Tri-Port honours the fallen on Remembrance Day

Check out the North Island Gazette’s Remembrance Day photo gallery from Port… Continue reading

Alumni vs. Midgets hamper game set for Nov. 23 in Port McNeill

“We really want to make this a special day on the North Island”

VIDEO: 12th annual Port Hardy Wild hockey tournament finals

The Wild vs. Whalers and Warriors vs. Flyers from last weekend’s tournament.

VIDEO: B.C. couple creates three-storey ‘doggie mansion’ for their five pups

Group of seven, who Kylee Ryan has dubbed as the ‘wandering paws,’ have a neat setup in Jade City

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

B.C. First Nations drop out of court challenge, sign deals with Trans Mountain

Upper Nicola Band says deal represents a ‘significant step forward’

Ski resorts selling mountain water is a risky move, critics say

Alberta allowed ski resort in Kananaskis Country to sell about 50 million litres to third party

Most Read