Parents Legal Centers (PLCs) help parents with child protection matters in communities, provide legal services and often work with other agencies to address the specific needs of their clients. There are ten PLCs, including the one that services the Smithers/Hazelton and Houston areas.
“In Smithers at the PLC, we focus on building strong relationships with our clients,” Megan Olson, managing lawyer said. “This creates trust for them to keep moving forward and strengthen their families. The majority of our clients come to us during one of the most difficult moments of their life. Our purpose for being here is to help them through this process in a supportive, positive manner.”
“We collaborate with other service providers in the community and complement the services they provide. We refer clients to get additional help, as well as help build relationships. Our clients often come to us isolated and distrustful. We work to bridge the relationships with people who can help them.
“For example, a mom comes to us having just left a violent relationship. We can meet her at the Transition House, and help connect her to counseling and housing services. We explain the legal process and, together, we come up with a plan for her to safely start her new life with her children.
“Joined by our advocate, she meets with the social worker from the Ministry of Children and Family Development and shares what she has been working on. Ultimately, the kids stay with their parents and we have worked to keep things from escalating to court or from the kids having to spend time away from their mom.”
In another example, they meet a dad in court.
“We provide legal representation for him in the court process and successfully advocate for the children to return to him under a