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This section contains legal information on topics relating to divorce, child custody, and parenting.
Last Updated: Jun 27, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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Overview of Family Law & Parenting

First Nations family

This LibGuide page on Family Law & Parenting encompasses a broad array of resources pertaining to a multitude of topics where the law and families intersect, which include parents' rights, child welfare, family violence, divorce, and others. Here you can access different guides for Aboriginals on what their rights and obligations are and to provide support for raising a family in a happy and positive environment. You are also able to watch some of our very own BearPaw Media videos that touch upon some of these topics.


Child Welfare

The following resources provide information on the well-being and status of children. Some resources are applicable to children in general and others have an Aboriginal focus. Hover your mouse over each PDF for more information on the document in question.


Raising the Spirit: Cultural Connections Plans for Aboriginal Children (Alberta) (BearPaw Media)

"Narrated by Tom Jackson and illustrated by Aaron Paquette, this video helps new parents of Aboriginal children understand what a Cultural Connection Plan is, why it’s important, and how to successfully incorporate their child’s culture into their home. The website link also includes supplementary material that will help in understanding and creating the best plan possible!

To order this video go to:"


Children's Rights in a Foster Home (BearPaw Media)

""Children's Rights in a Foster Home" is for children and youth in foster care or living in a kinship care home in Alberta. It explains what should and should not happen when you live with another family, so that you know your rights."


Becoming A Foster Care Family - Alberta (BearPaw Media)

""Becoming a Foster Care Family - Alberta" is for potential or new foster care families. It explores the rights and responsibilities of a foster parent as well as what to expect."


Mediation - Divorce in Alberta (BearPaw Media)

"This brief informational animation explains how mediation works when going through a divorce in Alberta. To order the full length video Divorce 101 in Alberta go to"


Biological Parents and Apprehension in Alberta (BearPaw Media)

""Biological parent's rights dealing with Child and Youth Services Alberta" is for biological families families experiencing a child's apprehension. It explores the rights and responsibilities of a biological parent as well as what to expect."


Parenting and the Law (BearPaw Media)

"In this piece we will introduce Section 43 of the criminal code of Canada and why it has become an important part of the family structure and the significance of its existence. To order the full length video "Parenting and Discipline" please go to"


Taking Control Pt. 1: Complaint About Child Abuse in Alberta (BearPaw Media)

"This video explains what happens when a complaint is made against you to Children and Youth Services in Alberta. To order the full video 'Taking Control' go to"


Taking Control Pt. 3: Apprehension (BearPaw Media)

"This video explains what happens when a child is apprehened by Children and Family Services in Alberta. To order the full video 'Taking Control' go to"

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A New Hope: Applying to Terminate a PGO (Alberta) (BearPaw Media)

Sometimes, in order to be a healthy parent, people must go through a healing journey. A New Hope looks at laws that give former guardians the opportunity to bring their family together again, after losing their children under a permanent guardianship order (PGO).


Domestic Abuse & Family Violence

The following resources provide information on different forms of family violence, which includes abuse towards children, the elderly, women, and men which can be of a physical, sexual, and/or emotional nature. This selection of documents helps the user identify what constitutes abuse, how to recognize it, and steps you can take to report it and prevent it. Hover your mouse over each document for a brief summary.


Hidden: Elder Abuse in Aboriginal Communities (BearPaw Media)

"Elder abuse is an alarming form of mistreatment not easily recognized. This BearPaw Media production focuses on how elder abuse hurts individuals and destroys families. This docu-drama features the wise voices of community elders as they talk about the important role of elders in a traditional Aboriginal culture and how this kind of abuse is especially destructive to entire communities. To order this video please go to"


Your Voice Counts: Children and Youth Appealing a Court Order (BearPaw Media)

"This video explains 3 types of elder abuse although there are many kinds. Learn when to report abuse to the police. To order the full length version called "Hidden - Elder Abuse in Aboriginal Communities" please go to"



The following resources provide legal information and guides on the divorce process in Canada and Alberta, specifically. Also features some guides specifically for children whose parents are going through a divorce.


Divorce 101 in Alberta (BearPaw Media)

"The divorce process can be a complicated and overwhelming situation. Divorce 101 in Alberta is an informative and easy-to-understand animated video that guides the viewer through the divorce process. Many Aboriginal families do not have adequate resources to immediately hire a lawyer to commence or complete a divorce. This video will inform people of the steps to take by self-representing themselves, utilizing a mediator, or when to hire a lawyer. Guidelines about child custody orders, access orders, and child maintenance fees will be discussed so each parent knows what their child is entitled to should a divorce happen. This video also touches on property division and spousal support.

To order a DVD of this video go to"


Traditional Parenting (BearPaw Media)

"In this piece we will briefly look at some traditional insights into parenting and concepts of discipline and its views within a traditional structure. To order the full length video "Parenting and Discipline" please go to"


Selected Titles From The BearPaw Library

Cover Art
Children Of The Dragonfly: Native American Voices On Child Custody And Education - Robert Bensen (Editor)
Call Number: 305.897 CHI 2001
ISBN: 9780816520138
Publication Date: 2001-03-01
"Sometimes the losses of childhood can be recovered only in the flight of the dragonfly. Native American children have long been subject to removal from their homes for placement in residential schools and, more recently, in foster or adoptive homes. The governments of both the United States and Canada, having reduced Native nations to the legal status of dependent children, historically have asserted a surrogate parentalism over Native children themselves. "

Cover Art
Domestic Violence Handbook: for Police and Crown Prosecutors in Alberta - Alberta Justice and Solicitor General
Call Number: 362.71 DOM 2005
ISBN: 9780778541523
Publication Date: 2005
"This handbook is a compilation of the research, best practices, and knowledge that experts in the area of family violence would agree are essential to effective response by the criminal justice system.
The Alberta Government's dedication to ending family violence is ongoing, and as such, this electronic handbook will continue to be updated."

Cover Art
The Art and Science of Child Custody Evaluations - Jonathan W. Gould; David A. Martindale
Call Number: 346.73017322 GOU 2007
ISBN: 9781593854881
Publication Date: 2007-07-10
Addressing key topics in child custody evalution, this book provides essential knowledge for practitioners who want to meet the highest standards for both scientific validity and legal admissibility. The authors are leading experts who describe the latest data-based approaches to understanding and assessing relevant child, parent, and family factors. Going beyond the basics, the book gives in-depth attention to controversial, frequently encountered issues, such as how to evaluate allegations of domestic violence, child sexual abuse, and child alienation. Also covered are the challenges of interviewing children effectively and working in the adversarial forensic context. A user-friendly appendix contains sample letters and statements of understanding with permission to photocopy.


Taking Control Pt. 2: Family Enhancement Agreement (BearPaw Media)

"This video explains what a Family Enhancement Agreement is with Children and Family Services. To order the full video 'Taking Control' go to"



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