The AFCC is an interdisciplinary and international association of professionals dedicated to the resolution of family conflict. AFCC members share a strong commitment to education, innovation and collaboration in order to benefit communities, empower families, and promote a healthy future for children.
Our vision is a justice system in which all professionals work collaboratively through education, support and access to services to achieve the best possible outcome for children and families.
AFCC-O continues to initiate and participate in important research, and hold symposiums to identify changes and new initiatives that will be beneficial to Ontario families.
The Board of Directors is excited to share that Laura Spivack and Prof. Michael Saini are the successful recipients of the AFCC-O research grant for the 2023-2025 funding cycle. Their project entitled Adapting the Trauma Informed Principles to Family Court: A Survey Examining Professionals Perception will examine trauma-informed practices within the family court system.
The researchers indicate that due to ongoing trauma, systemic factors, and mental health diagnoses, many families struggle to fully participate in decision-making about their lives and the lives of their children. These individuals also often feel disenfranchised within the Family Court System. The researchers suggest that developing a trauma-informed care approach within the Family Court System, while challenging, would better meet the needs of individuals using the system. Trauma-Informed Care involves five guiding principles: safety, choice, collaboration, trustworthiness, and empowerment (Harris & Fallot, 2001). These principles are commonly applied in various other systems and environments (e.g., mental health, hospitals, residential treatment).
The research of Ms. Spivack and Prof. Saini will involve the creation and implementation of a novel survey tool to evaluate adherence to trauma-informed principles within the Ontario Family Court System. The researchers will then provide recommendations for the Ontario Family Court System to foster a trauma-informed environment.
VIEW – “Supervised Access as a Stepping Stone Rather than a Destination” by Nicholas Bala, Michael Saini and Sarah Spitz (2016 research paper funded by AFCC-O).
On 22 May, 2018 the Liberal government introduced Bill C-78 to Parliament, which will, if enacted, amend the parenting provisions of the Divorce Act, the first significant change to this part of the legislation since it came into effect in 1986. Bill C-78 will affect the making of orders and agreements concerning children and parenting, including provisions that will:
There are likely to be Parliamentary hearings on Bill C-78 in the Fall 2018, with enactment likely by the Winter of 2019. However, there is never certainty about the process of enacting legislation. There are contentious issues, including proposals for the inclusion of a presumption of “equal parenting time,” which is not in the present Bill.
See AFCC-O Response to Bill C-78 to view AFCC-O’s submissions to Canada’s Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, September 10, 2018.
See Bala Divorce Reform June 2018 for a discussion parenting provisions of Bill C-78, and an argument against a presumption of “equal parenting time”.
See John Boyd Overview of Bill C78 – Pt 1 – June 2018 – A summary of parenting provisions of Bill C-78.
See John Boyd Overview of Bill C78 – Pt 2 – June 2018 – A summary of other provisions of Bill C-78, including provisions relating to support issues, interjurisdictional agreements and treaties.
The Challenge of High Conflict Family Cases Involving a Child Protection Agency: A Review of Literature and an Analysis of Reported Ontario Cases – By Claire Houston and Nicholas Bala, February 17, 2015
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