We help children and families of all shapes and sizes.
The stress and disruption to families dealing with the Children’s Aid Society is like no other. We firmly believe that families need and deserve strong and effective representation at every step of a child protection proceeding.
We work closely with parents, grandparents and First Nations to protect a child’s best interests and ensure, whenever possible, that families stay together. We have experience in facilitating the least disruptive options for families, including Aboriginal customary care, kinship placements, and creative custody arrangements.
If your child, or a child in your family or community has been apprehended by the Children’s Aid Society it is essential to immediately retain a lawyer. The days following the apprehension are critical. We have the expertise and drive to work quickly to have the child returned, when appropriate.
Seeking legal advice before, during or following family breakdown can be stressful, time consuming and expensive. It can also exacerbate conflict and escalate family tensions.
We can help alleviate some of these issues. When children are involved, we take a child-centred approach and encourage all parties to keep their focus on the best interests of the children.
We believe in collaborative conflict resolution whenever possible. But we do not step away from a fight. There are times when our clients' rights and entitlements must be protected through litigation. We are principled, aggressive and determined to ensuring our clients receive a just and fair outcome.
We also support and encourage incorporating cultural practices into familiy conflict resolution, when appropriate. We work with families to facilitate this, with particular experience supporting and working with Aboriginal families.
Call us now to assess your situation:
Tel: (416) 260-3030
Fax: (647) 689-3286
We are located in the heart of Toronto, and serve clients across the province. You can find our offices at:
36 Toronto Street
Or, email us:
Sarah Clarke has supported and advocated for children and families throughout her career. Her practice focuses on all matters of family law, focusing on child protection, complex custody and access, and divorce and separation. Sarah also has experience working with and for First Nations and Indigenous communities in the context of child welfare and adoption proceedings. In addition to her law degree, Sarah holds a Master of Social Work.
Sarah was called to the bar in 2009. She commenced her practice in commercial litigation at a multinational Bay Street firm, where she first began representing the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society. Sarah's work was recognized by L'expert Magazine with a Platinum Zenith Award and by Canadian Lawyer Magazine as one of the Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers in Canada (2016). Sarah also received the Ontario Bar Association President's Award as a member of the Caring Society legal team (2017).
Sarah has acted in diverse civil, family and Indigenous matters, and has appeared before all levels of court in Ontario, the Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada. Sarah has spoken at numerous conferences across Canada regarding Indigenous child welfare and the child welfare system. She is also an adjunct academic staff at Queen's Faculty of Law.
Sarah is a member of the Board of Directors with the Ontario Association of Child Protection Lawyers (Toronto), as well as a member of the Canadian Bar Association, the Ontario Bar Association, and the Advocates' Society.
Alessandra joined Clarke Child & Family Law in 2018, and is a 2019/2020 articling student. She received her LL.B from the University of Glasgow in 2017. Prior to attending law school, Alessandra worked as an Instructor Therapist for Children with Autism and developmental delays within the private sector in Toronto. She obtained her Post Graduate degree in Behaviour Science and Technology and her Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminology with a concentration in law from Carleton University. Outside of law, Alessandra enjoys cooking, running, traveling and weight training.
Aleshia Johnson is a legal assistant at Clarke Child & Family Law. Aleshia graduated from Tyndale University College with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 2014. She has worked at various firms over the years providing file management support to legal counsel and law clerks. Aleshia is a member of the Six Nations of the Grand River and represents the Mohawk Tribe and Turtle Clan. She is passionate about community service, particularly in areas related to Indigenous peoples, social justice and advocacy work. Aleshia currently volunteers for an international justice and peace organization that promotes human dignity and the peaceful resolution of conflict worldwide.
Spenser Chalmers graduated from Durham College with a Law Clerk Advanced Diploma in 2010. He worked for three years at large corporate/commercial firm before joining Clarke Child & Family Law as a law clerk. Spenser drafts conference briefs, correspondence and affidavits. He prepares and assembles affidavits of documents, undertaking and refusals lists, motion materials and books of authorities. He also assists with various aspects of trial preparation, file management and client relations.
Alanna is an associate at Clarke Child & Family Law. Alanna graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 2015. She practiced in corporate law during her articles and as a first year associate. In 2017, Alanna returned to school to obtain a Master of Social Work degree at the University of Toronto, focusing her education on children and families. She had a student placement at a child protection agency, where she obtained a greater appreciation for the importance of advocating on behalf of families. In her spare time, Alanna volunteers for an organization that provides legal advice and social services to women who are subject to domestic abuse.