BC’s family justice system has traditionally focused on judicial decision-making and an adversarial approach to disputes. Too often it negatively affects the physical and mental health of adults and children. Despite myriads of reports, the system has failed to change itself sufficiently to address this reality. We are seeking funding for the BC Family Justice Innovation Lab, initiated by a group of reform-minded justice system leaders in 2014. Its goal is to improve the well-being of BC children and families experiencing separation and divorce. Its core approach is experimental (developing and evaluating scalable prototypes), systemic (defining the system from the perspective of families) and participatory (engaging cross-sector organizations and system users).
The first three initiatives under the Lab's umbrella focus on providing families with viable and affordable collaborative approaches to resolution of their problems outside of court:
1. Northern Navigator project (collaboration of a local community social service organization, mediators and the judiciary) assesses the needs of family litigants and refer them to mediation before court
2. Collaborative Practice Pro Bono project provides free interdisciplinary collaborative practice services to families
3. Family Mediation Sliding Scale project offers affordable mediation services.
The Lab will generate systemic learning through developmental evaluation and nurture scaleable prototypes.