Children's safety is the number one priority under a new court application process for individuals applying for guardianship under the Family Law Act.
As recommended by B.C.'s Representative for Children and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond in a 2011 report, the B.C. government is strengthening the process for individuals who apply to be the legal guardian of a child so that the child's safety is better protected.
Individuals who apply to be a child's guardian, generally those who are non-parents, will be required to file an affidavit that provides information about themselves and their past and current care of children.
The applicant must attach the following to their affidavit:
- An independently-conducted check of the applicant's involvement in child protection proceedings by the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
- A list of any protection orders that have been made against the applicant and filed in the Protection Order Registry.
- A criminal record check of the applicant.
Enhancing this application process will help ensure that the judge is aware of whether or not the person applying to be a child's guardian has a history of child protection concerns or a criminal record, helping keep vulnerable children safe.
The new application process becomes effective on March 18, 2013, the same day B.C.'s Family Law Act comes into force.
The Family Law Act is part of B.C.'s Family Agenda. Under B.C.'s Family Agenda, government is strengthening policies, programs and services to protect families from crime and violence that affect the family unit. To learn more, visit: www.familiesfirstbc.ca
- The Family Law Act places the safety and best interests of the child first when families are going through separation and divorce.
- The Family Law Act was passed unanimously in B.C.'s legislature on Nov. 23, 2011, and will replace the outdated Family Relations Act.
B.C.'s new Family Law Act: http://www.ag.gov.bc.ca/legislation/family-law/index.htm
Ministry of Justice