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Helping Indigenous families stay together

A new family legal clinic is coming to town to help First Nations families stay together.

The clinic is open on Main Street in Smithers and will service families from Smithers to Hazelton.

Katrina Harry, Managing Lawyer of the Parents Legal Center in Vancouver, said the clinic is for any parent who qualifies for social assistance.

However, the focus she says is First Nations children because they make up over 60% of all kids in foster care.

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“With early intervention, we are hoping to address that issue to make it easier for parents to remain in the family unit and for families to reunite to address issues outside of the court process,” said Harry.

She said the clinic is trying to get involved as early as possible when families are dealing with social workers.

The clinic has more than just lawyers; there is a managing lawyer, aboriginal community legal worker, and an intake worker.

Harry said the team works together to address social workers concerns like lack of housing and addiction to assist parents in getting the help they need.

“Hopefully we have a positive impact on the families that we work with so we are looking to have a cultural shift in the way we are able to assist parents,” said Harry.

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