Family Justice Collaborative
On October 30, 2019 , A2JBC’s Leadership Group agreed to a Statement of Commitment to leadership on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the Family Justice System, aimed at improving child well-being.
This has led to the developing idea that A2JBC host a cross-sectors Collaborative to transform the family justice system by focusing it on reducing adversity, enhancing resilience and supporting families. The BC justice sector cannot do this on its own. It needs the expertise and resources of other sectors such as health and education, both at the provincial and community level.
Brain science tells us about the disastrous immediate, long-term and intergenerational impacts on children and families of toxic stress resulting from childhood trauma. Parental separation and divorce, family dysfunction, domestic violence are all Adverse Childhood Experiences that are subject to the family justice system. Resilience in children and adults is what helps reduce the negative impact of childhood trauma. Adults, who themselves have experienced the impact of trauma need support to help them minimize the impact of that trauma on their children.
Looked at from the perspective of families, legal issues are secondary to their social, relationship, parental and financial issues. The family justice system - through its siloed focus on legal solutions and its adversarial-based processes and culture - unwittingly increases adversity, reduces resilience for families and children, and doesn’t adequately support them as they struggle with the disastrous negative impacts of childhood trauma.
If we care about the well-being of children that has to stop, and the justice sector has to play its role, along with others, in stopping it. The strategy for how to do that is unfolding. It won’t be easy, but it must be done!
At the most recent meeting of the A2JBC Leadership Group on October 30, 2019, I was grateful for the opportunity to hear the perspective of experts, advocates and justice system participants on the topic of adverse childhood experience. The challenge posed to the group was how we—as leaders inside and outside of the justice system—can address the issue of the adverse impact on children of parental conflict and anxiety during the transition of parental separation.…Read More
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