Centre for Children & Families in the Justice System
200 - 254 Pall Mall St.
London N6A 5P6 Ontario
Contact person: Cunningham, Alison
- Commune, community project
- Social policy/disabled persons
- Women's policy
The Centre for Children & Families in the Justice System is an NGO dedicated to helping children, teenagers and families involved in the criminal or civil legal systems. We provide services in the local area and also conduct applied research, develop training resources, deliver training services and do fee-for-service case consultation. Our resources and research are available at no cost on the Internet. We specialize in domestic violence and how it effects children. Some of our service areas:
- Child Welfare Assessment Services: As defined in the Child & Family Services Act of Ontario, members of this team multi-disciplinary assess parenting capacity in families involved with a Children's Aid Society (CAS) for child protection reasons. The goal is to offer an opinion to the Court or to the CAS (or both) about issues such as where the children should live, with whom, and under what conditions. A detailed report is generated and the author may also be called to testify if the matter goes to trial. The Centre has conducted child welfare assessments since 1980.
- Child Witness Project: Members of this team help children and adolescents called to testify as victims or witnesses in criminal court, usually in cases of physical or sexual abuse or domestic violence. Referrals are also accepted for capacity assessments, expert testimony, clinical victim impact statements, and criminal injuries reports. The preparation protocol includes education, stress reduction, coping strategies, emotional support and advocacy. The CWP has been in operation since 1987.
- Clinical Consultation to the Courts: In a variety of criminal and civil cases, usually involving interpersonal violence, Centre staff assists the courts through assessment, consultation or expert testimony. Cases may involve criminal trials; youth criminal court trials (see also Youth Justice Assessment below); custody disputes (see also London Custody & Access Project); child protection cases (see also Child Welfare Assessment above); and civil litigation for past abuse and/or third-party liability. The Child Witness Project assesses issues such as developmental ability of children to testify. Areas include: impact of childhood abuse or family violence; institutional abuse; clergy abuse; delayed disclosure; parenting capacity; and, criminal responsibility etc.
Alison Cunningham is the Director of Research & Planning.
For other net participants we offer expert guidance through trained staff, deliver a lecture, procure expert information and establish new contacts in the following field: social services, mental health, research. Research reports and training resources available on the Internet (English and French).