Krista’s situation was looking dire when she first came to Vancouver’s Parents Legal Centre (PLC). Her children had been removed from her home under a Continuing Custody Order (CCO), which meant her children were placed in foster care indefinitely. The Ministry of Children and Family Development had concerns about ongoing substance abuse, mental health issues, and for not participating in services to address the concerns.
“I was basically feeling pretty hopeless and I had no help or resources. I was closed off to the community, and not receiving help for my children,” Krista explained.
She was, however, doing her best to address the child protection concerns by attending alcohol and drug counselling, workshops, and a recovery housing program. She also had a support worker who was checking in with her about her progress. By the time she was ready to cancel the CCO, her children had been in care for almost nine years.
Krista came into the PLC to get her children back after doing the hard work of staying clean and sober. To get her children back, she went to a mediation with her PLC lawyer, and to court with support letters and evidence that she had addressed the concerns that led to her children’s removal in the first place. Working with the PLC’s lawyer, Krista was successful in cancelling the Continuing Custody Order and her children coming back home to her for good.
“The PLC helped me gain custody of my children. They told me my rights as a parent and my rights when dealing with the ministry and court applications, and things like that,” she said.
“It’s a much needed service for moms and parents who don’t really know what to do when they have their children removed or want to gain custody.”
“Everyone is very compassionate and has a lot of empathy — and everyone is very welcoming and warm when I make appointments,” Krista added.