Anne came to the Vancouver Parents Legal Centre (PLC) to gain custody of her children, who were removed by the Ministry of Children and Family Development because of concerns about drug use in the home.
By this time she had already addressed the child protection concerns by attending alcohol and drug counselling, parenting and family workshops, undergoing random urine drug screens, and completing a drug and alcohol outpatient program with the Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of BC.
Even though Anne had made the necessary changes to her life and wanted her children back at home, she was nervous.
“I felt a sense of desperation because I didn’t know what it would look like, what my children returning to my care would be like,” she said.
Anne said she appreciated the PLC lawyer’s “honesty of what [the process of getting the children back] really looks like and what really happens based on his experience with previous clients.”
“The PLC helped me navigate the legal process and requirements and meetings to be done in order to move forward with the social worker’s file on my case and ultimately have my children returned to me,” she added.
The ministry did return Anne’s children to her care, initially under a supervision court order, which meant a government social worker could show up unannounced at any time to observe how they were doing.
Anne’s done so well, however, that the ministry did not renew the supervision order, allowing her to care for her children without supervision.
Of the PLC, Anne said: “More parents should be able to access it, and to understand [the legal terms] in a way they know, instead of being alienated from the legal process and the lingo that is used that we are sometimes unfamiliar with.”