Child Welfare - Stride Tips
Get a Lawyer:
It is essential to have a lawyer as soon as possible. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It’s not black and white and you need someone to support you. If costs are a problem, speak to the lawyer about filing for an Okanagan Application which allows advanced fees to be paid to the lawyers for cases filed against the Government. A lawyer in Edmonton, Robert Lee has successfully used the Okanagan application in cases related to child welfare.
Go to an Organization to seek help:
Children and Youth Advocate
- Main line: (780) 422-6056
Métis Child and Family Services
- Main Line: (780) 452-6100
Native Counselling Services
- Main Line: (780) 451-4002
Creating Hope Society
- Main Line: (780) 477-7961
Multicultural Health Brokers Cooperative Family Support for intervention services
- Main line: (780) 423-1973
Document ALL interactions with Child and Family Services:
Enter the day, time, and content of each email, each mail, each phone call you make, each phone call you receive, and all other personal interactions you have with Child and Family Services. Record all your phone calls if you can. You need to protect yourself by having a complete and strong story of how things have happened. These records will serve as a way to back yourself up. Create a diary of every call and interaction. Keep records of calls made (e.g. phone bill) so you can prove when they and you called. “The system protects itself over the child and family.”
Have witnesses and tape conversations:
It is essential to have people that can witness your interactions when you talk with child welfare. Witnesses can help record your conversation.You can record your conversations with Child and Family Services without disclosing that you are recording. Tape recording is critical. Evidence will help you in the end. Do not let them know you are recording or having people witness. You might be accused of been antagonistic and/or confrontational.
Do not let them forget your file:
Families need to be proactive and “in their face” (persistent) to push for kinship care and to ensure that Child and Family Services does not forget that you are there. Call them frequently and insist with your requests. Mark it down when you call them, and record the conversation if possible.
Being persistent is not the same as being rude. The family of the child that has been removed has to be very nice to Child and Family Services in all interactions. When you leave from your interactions with Child and Family Services, you can figure out your strategy. Remember that they are also taking notes every time you talk to them. If Child and Family Services finds you “challenging”, difficult, etc, they will stop calling you.
Once kids are in care, it is very hard to get them out:
The longer the child is out of the home, the harder it is to get them back in your house.
NOTE: These notes were taken from a “Know your Rights” session on child welfare with lawyers held February 2017.