Page 13: Because life goes on … helping children and youth live with separation and divorce

Section 11 - Resources

Linking You to What You Need

Fortunately, there are a number of excellent online resources, provincial and territorial services, books, guides, and community programs that are available to help you and your children. Online resources are available anywhere, if you have access to a computer and Internet service or a smart phone. However, the availability of provincial/territorial or community programs varies depending on where you live in Canada.

Over time, books and articles become out of date and Internet links to relevant websites or online resources can change or no longer function. This can become very frustrating when you are looking for timely and trustworthy information or assistance. This resource section is designed to help you find up-to-date information by yourself. Things can change quickly, including your needs. Using your computer or smart phone as your guide, you can stay up-to-date. And, ask for help. You may be surprised by the amount of resources and resource people available to help you when you need it.

If you don’t have a computer with Internet service or a smart phone, your local library is the best place to go. A librarian can show you how to use the Internet; get you set up on a library computer; and show you to the section of the library that has books related to parenting after separation. (See box An Internet Site You’ll Want to Know About.)

An Internet Site You’ll Want to Know About

The Families Change website, produced by the Justice Education Society of British Columbia, is a very helpful age-appropriate resource that provides information on separation and divorce for teens, parents and professionals. Animation, text, audio and video combine to help families and youth better cope with separation or divorce.

This innovative website, available in both English and French, provides general information and does not replace the specialized advice of lawyers and other experts.

To visit this site, use your search engine of choice, typing in the words “Families Change Canada.” Once on the Internet site, you will find the following interactive programs:

  • A Kids’ Guide to Separation and Divorce is designed to help children aged 5 to 12 to understand what is happening to their family.
  • A Teen Guide to Parental Separation & Divorce is designed to help preteens and teens to deal with the changes happening in their family.
  • Change ville is an interactive game for children and youth which guides young people through the changes and feelings they might experience during their parents’ separation.
  • A Parent Guide to Separation and Divorce provides information on dealing with change, feelings and emotions; how to tell the children; and child support.
  • A comprehensive Online Parenting After Separation Course covers the same topics as the in-person workshops available in British Columbia. The information offered in this course will be of interest to all parents in Canada. This online course is available in English, Punjabi and Mandarin.
  • A comprehensive online course on Parenting After Separation: Finances that includes a downloadable handbook for parents on managing finances after separation.
  • And more.

What Do I Do When …

I need to find quality child care.

Using your search engine, type “Finding Quality Child Care – A Guide for Parents in Canada”.

This comprehensive and practical site provides information for parents in Canada looking for quality child care that’s affordable and meets the needs of their families. Find out about how to find child care in your province or territory (including fees, subsidies and eligibility requirements); general information about child care in Canada; and what the best evidence says about quality. When you are on the site’s home page, simply follow the prompts to watch an instruction video, learn more about who pays for child care in Canada, find child care in your province or territory, and some tips on how to find the best care for your child.

I’m looking for local support or assistance.

Your family doctor is a good resource for information on a number of topics and can provide you with referrals to specialists, programs and services in the community. A community health centre, if there is one located in your area, is also a good source of information and support.

Your children’s early learning program or school is another good source of information and support. In particular, school systems often hire psychologists, nurses, counsellors or other child-serving professionals. Contact the local program or school or speak to your child’s teacher.

Family Justice Services in your province or territory may also be able to provide you with information or services that you need. (See below for information on how to find out about these services in your area.)

There are a number of self-help groups (some well-known, others less so) that may be meeting in your area. In addition, local hospitals and community centres offer special lectures or meetings on topics that may be of interest to you. Search the Internet by typing in “support group on (add topic) in (add name of community or closest city).” Or try searching for “programs on (add topic) in (add name of community or closest city).”

I have financial needs.

If you find yourself in a situation in which you need financial assistance, the best way to get information is to use your search engine, typing in “financial assistance, Government of (and add the name of your province or territory).” You will find information on the kinds of available financial assistance in your particular jurisdiction, eligibility requirements, and how to apply.

In addition, the online course on Parenting After Separation: Finances (see above) may also be of use to you.

I’m considering getting back together as a couple.

If you or your partner are having second thoughts or want to explore getting back together, you are encouraged to seek guidance from trained therapists, mediators or health professionals.

Using your search engine, type in “best books on marital relationships” or best books on relationship problems.” Read the book reviews to find out if a book seems right for you. For couples’ counselling resources in your area, use your search engine, typing in “marriage counsellors” or “couples’ counselling” in (add your town or nearest city). In addition, your family doctor may have recommendations on specific counsellors, therapists or workshops.

I need legal services and information.

Justice Canada’s Internet site provides useful information on family law, including such topics as child support and parenting arrangements after separation or divorce. It also links you to government family law resources, legal aid services, and legal information in your province or territory. In addition, Justice Canada has produced some excellent resources for parents and children, including:

  • Making Plans: A Guide to Parenting Arrangements After Separation or Divorce
  • Parenting Plan Tool
  • Parenting Plan Checklist
  • What Happens Next? Information for Kids About Separation and Divorce
  • What Happens Next? Calendar for Kids to Keep Track of Important Dates When Your Parents Split Up
  • The Federal Child Support Guidelines: Step-by-Step
  • Inventory of Government-Based Family Justice Services (updated annually, this resource connects you to relevant services and resources near you)

To find this information, use your search engine, typing in the words “Justice Canada Family law”. Once you are on the Family Law webpage, you can search the site, looking for tabs that match your interests, such as “publications, child support, family justice services” or “custody and parenting.”

Legal information. In addition to the legal information provided by Justice Canada and your province or territory’s family justice services, Public Legal Education and Information Organizations (PLEIs) are also a good source of information. Located in each province and territory, PLEIs offer free legal information for the general public, including family law information specific to your province or territory.

To locate the PLEI in your area, type in “PLEI in (add name of your province or territory).”

Lawyer referrals and legal advice. If you need help finding a lawyer in your area who specializes in family law, your province or territory may have a lawyer referral service that can help you find one. Using your search engine, type in “lawyer referral services in (add your city)” or try “lawyer referral services in (add your province or territory).” Some referral services charge a small fee for the initial consultation service, while others are free of charge. You can also use your search engine to look for “family law lawyers in (add your town or closest city).”

Another option is to contact your province or territory’s Law Society. Just type in “Law Society of (add the name of your province or territory).”

When choosing a lawyer, talk to potential family law lawyers about their style to see if they are a good fit for you. For example, some lawyers focus their practice on mediation, negotiation and taking a collaborative approach to resolving issues.

I want to connect with family law services in my province or territory.

A wide variety of family justice services are provided by your province or territory. These services, including mediation, parent education programs and child or spousal support assistance, may help you get information and resolve issues without going to court. Some family justice services are listed in the “Family Law” section of the Government of Canada website. More services may be listed on the website of your provincial or territorial government.

I can’t afford legal services.

Legal aid promotes access to justice for economically disadvantaged persons. To find out if you are eligible for legal aid services, contact the province or territory’s legal aid office nearest you. If this search doesn’t work, try searching for “Legal Aid in (add name of your province or territory).”

I want recommendations on books or articles on parenting after separation, step parenting, blended families, or other topics.

If your province conducts parenting after separation courses, they are a good way to find out about other trustworthy sources of information on topics of interest to you.

Another way to find out about good books, articles or websites on topics related to parenting children after separation is to use your search engine, typing in words such as “best books (or articles) on parenting after separation or divorce, on step parenting, on blended families, on children and divorce,” etc. If your search locates books that have been reviewed by experts or readers, taking the time to read the reviews may help determine if any of these books are right for you.

You also can ask your local librarian for assistance on choosing some good books that meet your specific needs or interests.

I want recommendations on books or websites that are appropriate for children and youth.

Fortunately, there are a number of excellent resources for children and youth related to their parents’ separation. Some of the books have become classics, while other resources are newer and even interactive. To begin your search, look at the resources for children and youth available on the British Columbia Internet site called Families Change and Justice Canada’s resource for Children called What Happens Next? (see box “An Internet Site You’ll Want to Know About”). Sesame Street offers excellent resources for children from the ages of 2 to 8. To learn more about their resources and watch short videos on the topic, search for “Sesame Street, divorce.”

To find other books or web-based resources for children of all ages, search the Internet for “best books for children on divorce” or consult with a children’s librarian.

One parent is moving away. What should I do?.

Justice Canada’s resource Making Plans: A Guide to Parenting Arrangements After Separation or Divorce contains some helpful information about what to do when one parent wants to move away.

Using your search engine, type in “Making Plans: A Guide to Parenting Arrangements After Separation,” Justice Canada. Once you open or download the document, look at the table of contents for the topic “When one parent wants to move away,” found under the section called “Special Issues.”

I am looking for more general information on adult and child health, mental health and well-being.

  • The Canadian Paediatric Society’s (CPS) Internet site for parents called Caring for Kids provides information developed by paediatricians on topics from growing and learning, behaviour and parenting, to teen health.
  • The Canadian Mental Health Association’s Internet site provides downloadable brochures on various mental health issues, including on children, youth and depression; feeling angry; getting help; grieving; mental health for life; and stress.
  • The Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development’s Internet site includes a comprehensive online encyclopedia of topics on early childhood development. Once on the site, find and click on the tab “Early Childhood A – Z.” This online encyclopedia includes topics such as attachment, resilience, and parenting skills related to separation and divorce.

My family is experiencing violence.

The best place to start is with Justice Canada’s Internet site on Family Violence. Using your search engine, type in “Justice Canada, Family Violence.” Then click on the tab “Family Violence.” This comprehensive section contains information on:

  • learning more about family violence
  • getting help with family violence
  • finding available government resources (at all levels)
  • age-appropriate information for children and youth
    • for ages 10 to 12
    • for ages 13 and up

Search this Internet site until you find or are linked to the information and assistance you need. In an emergency, call 9-1-1.

See next section for more online resources!

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