Ontario

We are pleased to inform you that the ACC Ontario Chapter is teaming up with Pro Bono Law Ontario (PBLO) to provide in-house counsel with opportunities to serve their community through pro bono work. PBLO is a charitable organization that promotes access to justice in Ontario by creating and promoting opportunities for lawyers to provide pro bono legal services to persons of limited means.

May 2012

The latest opportunity, the Older Youth Adoption Project, addresses the need for pro bono adoption services to help Ontario foster parents of limited means adopt their foster children. Detailed information is below.

To get started, we invite you to attend an engaging CLE presentation by our special guests, The Hon. Mr. Justice Joseph C.M. James (retired); Robin Vogel , staff lawyer at Catholic Childrens' Aid Society; and Matt Cohen, Director of Litigation Projects, PBLO. This program will provide you with the background you need to help make a difference in a young person's life.

Date: Thursday, June 21, 2012

Location: The Advocates' Society, 480 University Avenue, Suite 1700 in Toronto

Agenda: 2:30 pm registration; 3:00 - 5:00 pm session

CPD Hours: Accredited by the LSUC for 1.0 Professionalism Hour and up to 1.75 Substantive Hours

Description

  • This project addresses the need for pro bono adoption services to help Ontario foster parents of limited means adopt their foster children.

Volunteers Needed

  • 12-20

Estimated time commitment

  • Attend 2 hour CLE presentation
  • Accept at least one referral within a 12 month period.
  • Up to 20 hours per year

Background

  • In Ontario, 9211 children are placed in foster homes by the Children's Aid Society. Many of these children remain in foster homes until their 18th birthday, when they are no longer eligible for state care. At that time, a significant proportion of these youth are forced prematurely into independence. They are disproportionately represented among the poor, the homeless and the incarcerated. Although legally adults, they are often developmentally and emotionally several years behind their non-foster peers.
  • Fortunately, a growing number of children have foster parents who wish to adopt them. Adoption enables these young people to become healthy, mature adults as members of a permanent, loving family. Ontario's Children's Aid Societies are doing their best to facilitate these adoptions, but the need for Independent Legal Advice for low-income parents and children remains a costly barrier for families.
  • PBLO intends to address this barrier to justice by developing a panel of pro bono lawyers to provide ILA to prospective adopters and adoptees and to provide assistance in processing the adoption application. To facilitate, the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto (CCAST) has offered to provide mentorship and CPD to volunteer lawyers.

Support Provided

PBLO will:

  • Coordinate client intake and referral to volunteer lawyers;
  • Perform case management; and
  • Manage insurance
  • CLE will be provided to volunteers
  • CCAST has drafted an Adoption Procedural Manual that explains the two equal parts of an adult adoption: Independent Legal Advice to the prospective adoptee; and help for adoptive parents to process the adoption application. Each pro bono adoption requires the participation of two volunteer lawyers to carry out both aspects of the adoption. This manual would be the primary source of procedural training for participating volunteer lawyers.
  • A mentor resource will be available for consultations during the scope of the volunteer's activities.

Insurance

  • LawPRO extends malpractice coverage to lawyers participating in registered PBLO projects. The extension is automatic, meaning that lawyers do not have to report their participation prior to accepting a file. Insurance is arranged on a file by file basis by PBLO at no cost to the pro bono participant. For further information available at the LawPRO website, click here.

LSUC CLE Credit Available

  • This program has been accredited for 1.0 Professionalism Hour and up to 1.75 Substantive Hours.

For more information, contact:

  • For answers to frequently asked questions, click here.

  • For a printer-friendly version of the program description, click here.

  • For a sample Pro Bono Policy that you could use for your department, click here.

  • John Matheson, Volunteer, ACC Ontario Chapter 416-864-7112 x2223

  • Yonit Fuhrmann, Deputy Director, Pro Bono Law Ontario , 416-977-4448 x224, Yonit@pblo.org


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