718 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 77 PART 5 SEPTEMBER 2019
ACCESS TO JUSTICE FOR CHILDREN: EQUIPPING ADULTS TO SUPPORT
CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN JUSTICE PROCESSES
CLEBC is pleased to host once again the Access to Justice for Children Conference
on March 5 and 6, 2020. The aim of this program is to equip legal
professionals to uphold the rights of children and youth in justice processes.
The conference chairs are Suzanne Williams of Brown Henderson Melbye
(Victoria); Halie (Kwanxwa’logwa) Bruce of Cedar and Sage Law Corporation
(Chilliwack); and the Honourable Donna J. Martinson, Q.C., retired
justice of the Supreme Court of B.C.
Suzanne Williams notes that “stresses on the justice system have caused an
access to justice crisis in Canada … While adults and children both face the
same access to justice issues, children encounter additional barriers, whether
due to their lack of standing or access to resources and legal assistance.”
Williams believes that “in order to strengthen children’s access to justice
in the face of these challenges, legal educators must better equip adults
working with children in the justice system. By doing so, they can recognize,
uphold and implement the rights and well-being of children in practice.”
While each child can benefit from a well-trained legal professional,
“an even greater impact in breaking down access to justice barriers can
occur if these professionals work from a common framework”.
The Access to Justice for Children Conference will provide participants
with a common knowledge framework to identify and adapt practices
depending on a child’s unique context, including culture, child and brain
development, and rights, such as best interests of the child. It will include
skills training on listening to children and supporting their meaningful participation
in decisions that affect them. Organizations collaborating to present
this conference include the Aboriginal Family Healing Court
Conference, the Children’s Law section of the CBABC, the Hear the Child
Society of BC, the Legal Services Society of BC, the Mediate BC Child Protection
Mediation Roster, the BC Parenting Coordinators Roster, the Ministry
of Children and Family Development, and the Child and Youth Legal
Centre operated by the Society for Children and Youth.
The program will be of interest to lawyers in all practice areas, judges,
family justice counsellors, mediators, arbitrators, parenting coordinators,
psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, law students and anyone else
whose work impacts children.
We encourage you to save March 5 and 6, 2020 in your calendar, and we
look forward to seeing you there.
For more information, please visit <www.cle.bc.ca/1656> or contact
Teresa Sheward at <email@example.com>.