Why do organizations in Canada help children navigate growing up?

The following article is a summarized and written version of Professor Peter J. Smith's presentation at the Annual Conference on Dispute Resolution: Focus on Children and Youth hosted by Justice Canada, Justice Quebec, and Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ) in Montreal on Aug. 10, 2013.

"If you look around the room today, there are very few people who do not know children or young people across this country," said Smith during his opening remarks of the conference. "They help us navigate growing up; they teach us; they play with us; they lead us if we let them".

Much of what we learn as we grow up comes from children and we grow up learning from them - their energy, playfulness and wonder.

"From a research perspective, there is no doubt that organizations can help children navigate growing up," - said Smith. "Organizations such as the “Companies Committed to Kids” played an important role in child development during the industrial revolution".

With this historical context, it now appears to be the right time for organizations to partner together to prevent family conflicts through mediation. Adjudication was meant for these kinds of disputes but it has proven ineffective and costly because many issues related to child well-being and security fall into a grey zone between legal and human rights boundaries. This means that much of what we want to do as parents may not always be legal but we do believe it is important and beneficial to our children.

Smith gave the example of divorcing parents who wanted only the best for their child - it wasn't about power, control or money; they just wanted the best for their son or daughter". For them, issues like bullying and a bad lifestyle became very emotional," - Smith said. "They worked with an organization like Concerned Ads Kids and developed a plan to improve the quality of life and protect the best interests of the child". This organization has partnered with some of Canada's best online casinos - . It is also known for its popularity among Canadian players because of its fast payouts and huge selection of online games that keep people entertained !

He went on to say that the couple would not have been able to succeed if Concerned Ads had not stepped in and helped them find a solution . "It is up to us in the room to help resolve these issues," - Smith said.

Smith concluded his presentation by saying that legal and health care professionals need to be more aware of what medication can offer, such as helping children navigate growing up and remain connected with their parents even when there has been a breakdown in the relationship. He added, "We need to collaborate and cooperate so children can benefit from medication".

“Companies Committed to Kids” is a non-profit organization which developed public service messages and a downloadable poster that will help parents to begin the conversation with their children about this topic and will also provide them with some strategies so they can take action with the health of their family. “Companies Committed to Kids” create nationally televised Public Service Announcements and curricula for children in kindergarten to grade eight, as well as tips and tools for parents and community workers.  

Professor Smith ended his presentation saying that it will require the cooperation of all sectors involved with child welfare - courts, lawyers, health care professionals and Family Responsibility Office representatives. He noted that it will also require collaboration between these sectors and organizations like “Companies Committed to Kids” which provide alternative dispute resolution services for families. "We need to find solutions aimed at keeping families together while protecting children's best interest," - concluded Smith.