There are a lot of important elements regarding the court process from a Program Advocate Systems Navigator Worker (PASNW) perspective. When we receive court notices it always starts out as information gathering. We rely on the Ministry of Social Services’ Child Protection Worker to provide us with most of the information we need regarding our family’s and children in the form of ward reviews, case reviews, telephone conferences and/or a lot of email exchanges. Other times we get information from the family themselves-if they reach out to us, or we get some information during court. When receiving the information, we analyze the family’s situation and as a PASN worker, figure out where our unit fits in to help support them during the court process. Every family is different so that means their needs are also different. We help support the family by connecting them to the Non-Transferred Support Unit when they need support for case planning. We connect the family file to the Community and Family Connections Unit when we need to find a family or community placement for the children. We also connect families to other community supports if needed. If the family reaches out to us needing help with court we can assist them during the process by connecting them with legal aid counsel, appearing for them in court on their behalf, being a support person for them during court or simply connecting them with their child protection worker.
As a PASN worker we are trained to know court procedures, legal terminology, the process of court and practising court etiquette when attending Child Protection Court. As a parent who is served for court and required to attend- this process can be intimidating for them. Child Protection Court moves very quickly, and it can be hard to hear or understand the legal language that is used. We can help prepare families for how the court process will be so that it is not so overwhelming and so that they do not feel unheard.
The PASNW unit covers courts all over Saskatchewan and Canada. We attend the docket court weekly in Regna and Saskatoon and attend court in Prince Albert, North Battleford, Yorkton, Kamsack, Fort Qu’Appelle, Moose Jaw, Swift Current and interprovincially throughout Canada as court notices are received.