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Issue 2, 2010

TRANSITIONS

812 Broughton St. Victoria, BC V8W 1E4 250.386.4331 www.bcfit.org

Toll-Free Legal Information Line 1-877-386-4333

Charitable Registration # 11 888 6340RR0001

What is BC

Families in Transition?

We are a not-for-profit organization in the heart of downtown Victoria that serves well over 10,000 people per year of all ages. We provide help in rebuilding lives and moving forward when people face turmoil in their family relationships, whether their goal is to stay together or move apart. Many people don’t know what they need when they call us; they only know their family relationships are a source of pain or trouble and they need help. We are unique in that we have a wide range of programs and services all under one roof, and can provide professional counselling, legal support, and education whether a family is striving to make their relationships stronger, get through a separation or divorce, or move on with new family members. Our team is made up of highly trained, experienced, and compassionate professionals who are committed to the very highest standards of service for everyone. Altogether there are more than 40 of us on our team, and more than half are professionals who volunteer their time. First established in 1978 as Divorce Lifeline, we became the Separation and Divorce Resource Centre in 1994 and expanded to become BC Families in Transition in 2007. During the last 4 years we have grown at a rapid rate and our referrals from outside sources have quadrupled.

Vision Statement BC Families in Transition is the province’s premier agency for all family members facing change and challenges in their relationships. BCFIT’s professional staff combines current knowledge with training to provide a wide range of caring, timely, and effective services.

Mission Statement BC Families in Transition helps children, youth, and adults manage the challenges of separation, divorce, or transition to a new family structure. Our highly qualified staff, working with other community agencies, provides information and practical and emotional support so people facing these challenges can make the decisions that are best for everyone. BCFIT believes all individuals can find ways to move forward in their lives when family relationships have changed or are changing.


Legal Support Services Program Our legal advocates make a difference in people's lives by providing valuable legal information and support during difficult family transitions. Whether you are feeling intimidated by meeting with a lawyer, are uncertain of court procedures, or are wondering how your finances will be impacted by a separation or divorce, our legal support staff is here to help. Meet Our Legal Support Team! Our legal advocates are excellent professional • Pam Rudy, Legal Advocate & Legal Support resources who bring an abundance of expertise to Services Coordinator their advocacy work at BCFIT. Their cumulative • Marie-Christine, Legal Advocate & background covers areas such as family violence, Legal Information Line Attendant child protection, mediation, and supervised access • Laura Luz - Legal Advocate • Douglas Woodall - Legal Advocate Our team provides legal information and support There is currently no waitlist for legal support in the following areas: appointments, and consultations can usually be  Pre-separation Consultation booked within a week of your call.  Preparation to see a Lawyer Our Toll-Free Legal Support Information Line is  Family Court Preparation open Mondays & Thursdays from 9:00 am - 4:30  Family Court Orientation pm and answers inquiries pertaining to family law.  Court Accompaniment We offer this service in both English and French.  Financial Preparation Call 1.877.386.4333. One of the many services our team provides is *Please be advised that our team cannot provide informational workshops in the family-law field. legal advice. What we can do is explain terms, We also offer financial support and workshops to discuss procedures and alternatives, and provide help you balance your budget, learn the facts about information about other community programs. property and assets division, as well as spousal/child support.We can also arrange For more information, or to book an mediation to resolve family disputes, through our appointment, call 250.386.4331. partnership with the South Island Dispute Resolution Society.

We Need Help We help thousands of families every year in the Greater Victoria community, providing children and adults with professional counselling, legal support, crisis intervention, information, and referrals. And we do this on a budget that amounts to less than $1 per week for each person we help. We want to make sure we’re able to assist everyone who needs it, and to do that, we need donations from people like you. You can make a donation by calling us at (250)386-4331, e-mailing us at info@bcfit.org, visiting us on the web at www.bcfit.org, or filling out the form below and mailing it to us. Thank you very much for your help.


STAFF PROFILE: Pam Rudy Pam Rudy; Legal Support Services Coordinator is an integral part of the BCFIT family, and has brought her expertise and commitment to every position she has held at the centre in her many years of dedicated service. Pam started with BC Families in Transition as a volunteer in 1987 in an offsite court support program. Two years later she joined the staff in the role of Volunteer Coordinator, went on to stand twice as Acting Executive Director and is currently the Legal Support Services Coordinator. A large part of her current role at BCFIT involves direct client service, which she finds one of the most rewarding aspects of her job. She assists clients by discussing family law issues, defining difficult legal terminology, helping people to understand court decisions and how they are made, and answering questions surrounding custody and property issues. She also connects people who don't have a lawyer with duty counsel, and provides support and procedural advice concerning legal matters. Pam was born in Port Alberni and moved to Victoria to attend UVic; there she received her Bachelor of Education degree and went on to teach at the elementary level. Her interpersonal and communication skills benefited from this teaching experience, which she brings to her work at BCFIT. She is also a former Need Crisis Line volunteer, a position which she believes helped prepare her for the role she currently fills at BCFIT. What Pam likes best about BCFIT is the fact that it offers triple services—counselling, legal information, and public education—under one roof. It offers support so that people are able to make steps on their own. She likes to think of sessions at BCFIT as a "pebble in the pond" for her clients--producing a "ripple effect" that will hopefully lead to continuous positive change in the lives of those who come through the doors. She finds her greatest reward in the feedback people give. Even in very difficult and transitional times, she has found clients to be extremely grateful and positive about their experience at BCFIT. Aside from being quite humble, Pam's greatest strengths are her ability to listen and her sense of calmness. Outside of work, Pam is active in the Victoria community. She choreographs as well as performs international folk dance, and she has appeared at the Heritage Day Festival in Victoria, the Seattle Folklife Festival. She has also given volunteer performances for local senior care residences. She has two grandchildren and says one of her favourite hobbies these days is grandparenting! BCFIT is lucky to have such an experienced and warmhearted individual as Pam in its excellent Legal Support Services Team.

Our legal advocates make a difference in people's lives by providing valuable legal information and support during difficult family transitions. Whether you are feeling intimidated by meeting with a lawyer, are uncertain of court procedures, or are wondering how your finances will be impacted by a separation or divorce, our legal support staff is here to help.


Check out our programs Balancing the Budget Balancing the Budget is a flexible, 4 part program to help adults understand and make decisions about the financial aspects of their separation or divorce. It includes • An initial Legal Support Services appointment • A 3 hour financial planning workshop for parents whose relationships have changed or are changing • Up to 2 appointments with a certified financial planner who specializes in separation and divorce work • A follow-up Legal Support Services appointment to make sure your needs have been addressed Clients have the option of choosing either or both the workshop and the appointments with the certified financial planner. This year we are expanding the scope of this program, to help couples who want to remain together but need to find a way to start talking about finances.

Individual and Family Counselling Evolutions & Single Again Professional counselling for adults, Budglancing the Budget children, youth, couples, and families for Balancing the Budget relationship challenges: the aBudget •Balancing Dealing with major change such as separation, divorce, or transition to a new family structure • Dealing with family conflict • Working through issues in an attempt to stay together • Working through relatively minor relationship issues proactively • Working through grief and loss associated with relationships • Specialized forms of counselling for children: play therapy and expressive arts therapy We offer some evening appointments in addition to regular office hours. In the near future we will have some evening appointments, too!

Parenting after Separation Evolutions Evolutions is an 8-week guided group presented that helps you let go of the past, claim the present, and plan for your future. Recovery from the loss of a relationship usually depends on active involvement in one’s healing process. By healing in a group you can learn from people who are going through a similar experience. Sharing thoughts, feelings and experiences helps in the recovery process. During 16 hours of discussion and learning the group will explore: • • • •

Grief and the Loss of a Relationship Telling Our Story Healthy Emotions – Including Anger Coping Strategies and Self-Care

Are you a parent currently going through separation? Are you helping children adjust to changes after a family separation? Would you like information about options for resolving family disputes, including mediation, counseling and court? Parenting after Separation is a FREE 3-hour information session to help you make informed choices about your separation, taking into account the best interests of your children. This program is available to adults who are dealing with issues of child custody, access, guardianship and/or support. If you and your expartner both register, you will be scheduled for separate sessions.

Legal Support Services We have 4 talented advocates with collectively over 100 years of experience to help you with: • Understanding the bewildering jungle of the family law system • Choosing a legal option • Pre-separation consultation • Preparation to see a lawyer or mediator • Assistance in developing a parenting plan • Assistance in filling out financial statements • Orientation to Family or Supreme Court • Court Accompaniment • TOLL-FREE Information Line in English and French: 1-877-386-4333 Mon/Thurs

Parenting with a New Partner Are you in a new relationship and finding parenting with your new partner a challenge? This is an 8-week group program that offers emotional and practical support to help parents successfully navigate the unique challenges that often arise when parenting with a new partner. Held one evening a week from 6:00 – 8:00pm.

A sliding fee scale is available, as well as payment plans for group programs. For more information about our programs or to book a face-to-face meeting to talk about them, please contact BC Families in Transition at 250.386.4331 or info@bcfit.org. offe

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Check out our programs

Caught in the Middle

Children often experience a range of feelings when parents separate: confusion, guilt, anger, loss, abandonment and anxiety. Typically they have difficulty understanding or expressing these feelings and can be torn by divided loyalty. The primary focus of our Caught in the Middle program is the parent-child relationship. It offers all family members the opportunity to express their feelings about the changes happening within family. Caught in the Middle has been operating for over 20 years and we believe some of the key ingredients are: •

Parents and children, and sometimes grandparents too, are all in separate groups. Parents attend individually for the first 2 weeks, and the children participate in their own groups beginning in week 3. The grandparents’ group is scheduled separately depending on the availability of the group members. This is an 11-week program. o The children’s groups are based on age and siblings are not placed in the same group so feelings can be freely expressed. o Former partners, although invited to attend, are not invited to attend on the same night. o The child must attend with one parent consistently. o All participants have an initial intake interview. o Groups are small – children’s groups range from 3 to 6 participants and parent and grandparent groups typically 4 to 6.

Parents explore communication skills, ways to take care of themselves, ways to build healthy boundaries, ways to take the child “out of the middle,” problem-solving techniques, separation through the eyes of the child, and how to understand and manage feelings in the parent-child relationship. Children explore how to cope with difficult feelings including anger, distinguish between parents’ problems and children’s problems, and develop tools to help them do this as well as to relax.


Individual, Couple and Family Counselling All ages all family types We provide counselling services to individuals, couples, children, teens, grandparents, single mothers and fathers. Our services are available to those whose marriages or family relationships are changing—whether the hope is to separate peacefully or stay together. Often we see couples who are trying to keep their marriages together but are having difficulties. We see families struggling with financial difficulties, children and teens who feel trapped in the middle of their parents’ conflict, and couples seeking support and resources during separation. BCFIT is fully equipped to help in any of these situations because we have a highly-developed counselling and legal support team. Couples Counselling Counselling has been proven quite effective in strengthening and rebuilding existing relationships, and can also be extremely helpful during a difficult period of separation. Couples seeking assistance during separation or divorce may experience a sense of personal reflection, gain or insight, allowing each partner to view the relationship's end with renewed positivity. Whether in rebuilding, reinforcing, or redefining a relationship, the couple may deal more effectively with financial, legal and parental issues after having strengthened through counselling. Individual Counselling and Family Counselling Family counselling assists all members with resolving their personal and family issues, while also offering methods and techniques to help deal with the stresses that cause family conflicts to develop. Problem-solving sessions not only strengthen the family as a unit, but also empower each member to be listened to and respected. BCFIT also provides individual counselling sessions to those seeking one-onone support in times of family struggle. Play Therapy and Expressive Arts Therapy for Children A strong and emergent practice, play therapy allows a child to express and work through feelings of anger, frustration, stress and anxiety through different forms of "play." At BCFIT we provide a safe, confidential, and caring environment for a child to play without undue limitations. Activities used in play therapy and expressive arts therapy range from finger-painting, puppets, games, and sand trays to "drumming" or "throwing." Through these sessions, the child is empowered to use more positive resources to cope with difficulties and acquires the tools needed to deal with everyday.


Volunteer Profile: Rhoda Waddington

Rhoda began volunteering at BC Families in Transition in 2007 when she came into contact with BCFIT at a “charity fair” looking for volunteers. Having previously been a social worker with a background in early childhood education, Rhoda has always had a strong desire to help children and people in need. Therefore, when she saw the booth BC Families in Transition had set up displaying pictures of children and families, she immediately became curious and approached the booth. Upon learning more about BCFIT, Rhoda was captivated and right away knew she wanted to offer herself up as a volunteer. Ever since then Rhoda has been volunteering her time with us to help those families who need it most. This however has not always been such an easy task considering Rhoda lives on Pender Island. Every Thursday Rhoda waits for the 9:00am ferry which brings her to Victoria where she volunteers from 11:30 am to 4:30 pm every week. “I love it here, even when I’m tired I’ll come,” she remarks. That kind of attitude speaks to the passion Rhoda has for helping others. When Rhoda’s not volunteering her time at BC Families in Transition she enjoys offering it up to help other non-profits. Once a week she helps out at a preschool in Sidney. She is also an active member of the BC Lions Society for children with disabilities; she says she enjoys this because “it’s all about the kids.” Rhoda has also been an enthusiastic member of the Secular Franciscan Order for 28 years. When Rhoda’s not busy volunteering her time she enjoys spending it with her fellow weavers at her Wednesday weave group in Sidney. She also loves spending it with her “4 pack,” a group of friends she has had for the past 25 years. “We’re all crazy, that’s what keeps us together,” she quips. Her amazing attitude and view on life is what makes her such an extraordinary person, as well as an enormous asset to the BCFIT team.

Thank you to all who contributed to the second edition of our newsletter: Amy Collins, Hellen Diaz, Dr. H. Digby Clarke, Rhoda Waddington, Pam Rudy, Leslie McGrath, and Richard Routledge.


Please send to: BC Families in Transition– 812 Broughton St., Victoria, BC V8W 1E4 I am providing support for BC Families in Transition in the amount of: $___________ once monthly (please send me an authorization form) Payment please find a cheque payable to: BC Families in Transition Please charge my Card Number Expiry Date Signature

VISA

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Donor Information Name Address

Telephone E-mail


Would you and your family like to share your experience of separation or divorce? BC Families and Transition is making a video to help parents talk to their kids about separation and divorce. We are looking for families who have been through separation or divorce, who are willing to participate in an interview where they can share their knowledge, thoughts, and experiences, in order to help others who are facing similar family transitions. These interviews are intended to provide knowledge from the real experts: mothers, fathers, and children who have been through separation or divorce. What do you wish someone would have told you when you were facing these challenging times? This is your chance to share that wisdom! Each interview will be conducted by a licensed clinical counsellor from BCFIT. Interviews are open to all ages, and will be relatively short--approximately 15-20 minutes. Interviews can be conducted at BC Families in Transition (812 Broughton Street, in downtown Victoria, right across from the Royal Theater). Or, we can come to you and conduct an interview in your home, if that is more comfortable for you. A $100 payment will be provided to compensate you for your time. If you have time and knowledge to share, please contact us by calling (250) 386-4331.


BC Families In Transition (BCFIT) Newsletter Issue 2