OJEN is pleased to announce new funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) to pilot the Family Law for Young Mothers program in the Hamilton area.
Family Law for Young Mothers: Challenge and Change, is program for vulnerable young women who are pregnant or have babies. While becoming a mother is in itself enormously challenging, many of the young women in this program will also have to deal with legal issues such as custody, child support, access and child protection. With few financial and emotional resources, navigating the family law system can be overwhelming and intimidating.
The Family Law for Young Mothers program prepares the participants to manage the legal aspects of their lives with confidence. Over six sessions they will explore a range of family law topics with the support of family law lawyers. They will gain familiarity with family law procedures through a variety of experiential justice education activities. At the same time they will build personal advocacy skills.
The program is designed to empower the young mothers and challenge their perspectives of the family law system. However, it equally benefits the legal professionals with whom they engage. By discussing their experiences navigating the family law system, the young mothers have an opportunity to address ways in which the system could improve. Working together, they can find better ways for people working in the legal system to address the legal needs and challenges faced by young parents.
In the culminating session, the participants will share their lived experiences to an audience of community and justice professional stakeholders and propose solutions to make the family law system more supportive of their community.
The OTF grant allows OJEN to run the program with three community partners in the Hamilton area. OJEN is currently working with the Hamilton OJEN Committee to design a program that is responsive to the needs of the community.