What is a Views of the Child Report?*
(*Also known as a Hear the Child Report or Voice of the Child Report)
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 12, states that “Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.”
Hear the Child Reports are supported by sections 37, 202 and 224(1)(b) of the BC Family Law Act. Section 37 of the Act directs that, in making decisions about parenting arrangements or contact with a child, a decision-maker must consider only the best interests of the child. This section states that a child’s views must be considered unless inappropriate to do so.
Views of the Child reports are non-evaluative reports that present the child’s feelings and desires about their living situation. They do not include an assessment of the parents' capabilities or capacity to parent effectively or appropriately. The interviewer does not share opinions and does not make recommendations. A Voice of the Child Report does not presume that the child should have decision-making power around custody and access, however, the report allows the child’s perspective and preferences to be considered by the adults who are making decisions about the child’s best interests.
Views of the Child reports are often ordered by the court, requested by MCFD, or may be requested by mutual consent by a child’s parents/guardians. If one parent wishes to have a Views of the Child report and the other does not, a court order is required to proceed.
Views of the Child reports are conducted by a trained, neutral and impartial person, usually a child therapist or lawyer.