B.C. introduces new legal centre for parents in child protection system
Officials announced the opening of a new Parents Legal Centre, which will serve parents or guardians involved with the Ministry of Children and Family Development and the protection of children, in downtown Vancouver on Friday, March 27, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, March 28, 2015 12:38PM PDT
Last Updated Saturday, March 28, 2015 1:18PM PDT
VANCOUVER - The B.C. government is hoping to reduce the number of child-protection cases going to court by opening a new legal centre for parents.
The Parents Legal Centre is a pilot project that will be located in the Vancouver law courts and will be staffed by a lawyer, an intake worker and an advocate.
Parents or guardians involved with the Ministry of Children and Family Development or an aboriginal agency will be able to access information, advice, referrals and some legal representation at the centre.
The Legal Services Society will operate the $300,000 centre, as one of several pilot projects funded by the Ministry of Justice's previously announced injection of $6 million over three years.
Attorney General Suzanne Anton says the overall goal is early intervention to resolve disputes in child protection cases, so that the courts become a "valuable last resort."
Kasari Govender of West Coast LEAF says the new centre is a positive step, but it's only a "tiny drop in the bucket" compared to what's needed to fix the critical legal aid shortage in B.C.