Sharing the knowledge: LAA hosts day-long child welfare law seminar

“Ensuring that clients involved in the child welfare system receive high quality representation is very important to Legal Aid Alberta.”

Communications and Public Relations
May 28, 2021

Legal Aid Alberta (LAA) has hosted its first day-long virtual training session on child welfare law, with about 100 staff and roster lawyers from northern Alberta in attendance. 

“Child welfare is one of our priority areas in family law and an area where we have significant expertise,” LAA CEO and President John Panusa said during opening remarks at the May 26 event. 

Panusa says LAA is continually contributing to the wellbeing of society by providing resources that improve the quality of legal services in Alberta.  

The 19 speakers came from a variety of fields and backgrounds, from judges, psychologists, and roster lawyers to some of LAA’s most experienced lawyers in this area of law. 

Speakers touched on a multitude of topics relating to child welfare law such as: 

  • How to manage a child welfare file 
  • Interviewing techniques 
  • The basics to making decisions about running initial custody 
  • Dealing with assessors  
  • The trial procedure  
  • Dealing with appeals 

Attendees learned everything they need to know about running a child welfare case from beginning to end, preparing them to expect the unexpected, and handle particularly sensitive cases. 

Child welfare cases are often fraught with complicated circumstances on their own. The presenters emphasized how lawyers can learn to prioritize the wellbeing of children and clients during this trying time of their lives.  

“Our goal wherever possible is to reunite families.” Andrea Doyle, Legal Aid Alberta

“Our goal wherever possible is to reunite families,” said event coordinator Andrea Doyle, LAA’s senior advisory counsel for family and immigration. “Ensuring that clients who are involved in the child welfare system receive high quality representation is very important to Legal Aid Alberta.” 

The event included a closing panel discussion with Provincial Court Judge J. Lloyd,  family law practitioners Jayne Janzen, April Kellett and Kathleen Linton, and LAA staff lawyer Doug McLachlan. 

“These training sessions are a part of our commitment to being a centre of excellence by providing free opportunities for continuing legal education for our staff and our roster lawyers,” Panusa said. 

“The fact that there is such a desire for continuing professional development among staff and roster is inspiring,” added Doyle, “and LAA is well situated to provide this.” 

A second training session for lawyers in southern Alberta will take place on June 25, 2021.

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