Getting legal aid if your children are (or may be) taken away

Important: If the Ministry of Children and Family Development removes your child(ren) from your home or tells you they plan to do so, talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.

If you can't afford one, you may be able to get a free lawyer. Contact your local legal aid office to find out how to apply in person.

  • See the Legal Aid BC website to find the address of your local legal aid office.
  • Or look in the white pages of your phone book under "Legal Aid — Legal Services Society" or the yellow pages under "Lawyers — Legal Aid — Legal Services Society."

You can also apply for a lawyer over the phone by calling the LSS Call Centre:

604-408-2172 (Greater Vancouver)
1-866-577-2525 (call no charge, elsewhere in BC)

If you have trouble speaking or understanding English, ask for an interpreter when you call.

You can get a free lawyer if your income is below a certain level (see Do I qualify for legal representation on the LSS website), and:

  • You believe the ministry is about to take your children away from you.
  • You're trying to work out an agreement with the ministry and you need advice from a lawyer about what to do.
  • You have worked out an agreement with the ministry and they want you to sign it.
  • The ministry plans to apply for a supervision order for your child.
  • The ministry has removed your child from your home.
  • You want to see your child, who is in foster care, more often.
  • Your circumstances have changed and you want to bring your child back home from permanent foster care.
  • The ministry has applied to give permanent custody of your child, who is in continuing custody of the ministry, to someone who you don't believe should have custody.

For more information about parents' and children's rights, read the booklet Parents' Rights, Kids' Rights: A Parent's Guide to Child Protection Law in BC online, or ask for a free copy at your local legal aid office.

This website has lots of information about many different family law issues. Look at some of the other sections of the website to find out more.

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