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Family Justice Pathfinder

“From small beginnings to transformative change”

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The “Path” referred to in this initiative is the path of families experiencing separation or divorce. The big vision of the Pathfinder initiative is that all BC families who are on that path, wherever they live, are connected to the services they need so that they can navigate through separation and divorce in a way that promotes, rather than undermines the well-being of family members.

The strategy is to start small. Working in partnership with justice system stakeholders and families, the project learns from those who have lived experience with separation and the justice system; identifies opportunities for serving families better; and selects smaller components of a larger Pathfinder design to experiment with. Once the smaller components have been tested and modified so that they work for families, they will be integrated into a larger design that again is tested and modified until it demonstrably serves the larger Kamloops population and, if adapted to local conditions, could serve families province-wide.

In the fall of 2016, A2JBC took the lead in putting together a funding application to government, on behalf of 18 justice system entities (within government and external to government), all of whom agreed to provide in-kind contributions to the project. While the application was not immediately successful, it led to the Ministry of Attorney General assigning resources to develop the project further.

A project board has been created, including two government leaders, two non-government leaders and two individuals representing the public who have had lived experience of the family justice system.

On August 30, 2017, the initial meeting of Kamloops service providers was held to map the existing services in the Kamloops area. Through the fall of 2017, interviews and workshops were held with Kamloops service providers and family members. Based on what was learned and other research, three interrelated components of the larger vision have been identified for prototyping:

  1. A “Guided Pathway” online tool to provide information to family members to increase their capacity to resolve specific issues on their own;
  2. An online referral tool to direct family members to the local and remote services they need; and
  3. A connected local service provider network to make and receive referrals, and coach and assist families along their pathways through separation and divorce.

The project is taking a user-centred, service design approach and the Ministry of Justice has provided in-house expertise in this area, as well as contracting with Kari Boyle, the coordinator of the BC Family Justice Innovation Lab and a member of the A2JBC Leadership Group. A2JBC will continue to support the project through its Pathfinder Working Group. (Members)