Nova Scotia Legal Aid (NSLA) is pleased to announce its recent hire of Charnell Brooks as our first African Nova Scotian Social Worker (ASW). In this new role as the ASW, Charnell will be responsible for the delivery of social work services to our African Nova Scotian clients. Charnell will provide social work expertise to assist our staff and our African Nova Scotian clients, in particular those involved with the Children and Family Services Act, Criminal Code, Youth Criminal Justice Act, and Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
Charnell will also be connecting with African Nova Scotian communities and service providers around the Province both to promote the services NSLA can provide and to ensure familiarity with services available to our clients.
On the importance of this new role for NSLA, Executive Director, Megan Longley, QC – ”Given the over-representation of African Nova Scotians in criminal and child protection systems it is essential that our staff are supported in providing the best service to clients and the best information to courts. Until we understand and share the history and cultural context of our clients, barriers to meaningful access to justice will remain in place”.
Charnell Brooks holds a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Dalhousie University and has over 12 years of experience working with marginalized and vulnerable populations and most recently worked as a social worker with the Department of Community Services. In June 2016, she was asked to present the amended Children and Family Services Act to African Nova Scotia communities.
In its Strategic Plan, NSLA recognizes African Nova Scotians are over-represented in criminal and child protection systems. The historical uniqueness of African Nova Scotian community and experience, which includes generations of systemic racism, means culturally aware and competent service must be delivered to our clients.
The creation of an African Nova Scotian Social Worker (ASW) to work with and support clients in the criminal and child protection systems is supported by a grant from the Law Foundation of Nova Scotia.
For more information, please contact Charlene Moore QC, Service Delivery Director, Nova Scotia Legal Aid at 902-420-6589, email: Charlene.Moore@nslegalaid.ca or visit the Nova Scotia Legal Aid website: www.nslegalaid.ca