Children have the right to be heard as part of the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the child, ratified by Canada (Article 12), the Divorce Act, CYFSA, and the CLRA.
Including the voice of the child can increase the parent's understanding of the child’s needs and wishes with more accuracy, while the professional works with the parents to decrease conflict while they consider the child’s voice. Parents may often present opposing views about the child’s needs and wishes. Completing the voice of the child in this context can help alleviate this problem and help the parents to focus on the child’s needs and wellbeing.
A "Voice of the child report" is where the wishes of the child may be brought into the mediation, arbitration or litigation process by Stephen who is neutral third party. A Voice of the Child Report is one way to give children a chance to be heard in family law proceedings and have a say about what their views, wishes and preferences are. Children often wish to have a voice but not make the decisions about parenting plans. So we must give children the opportunity to have a voice should they choose to do so.
During this process, Stephen will ask each parent to bring the child/ren to his office where Stephen will spend time with the child/ren getting to know him or her. Sometimes, an observation visit my occur with the child/ren in each parent's home prior to the individual interviews occurring. Children often wish to have a voice but not make the decisions about parenting plans. So we must give children the opportunity to have a voice should they choose to do so.
Prior to a written report being prepared, Stephen will meet with the parents and the lawyers to provide verbal feedback about the child's views, wishes and preferences around parenting issues. Stephen has particular expertise in understanding, explaining and putting the child/ren's views, wishes and preferences into context, according to their developmental age and stage. He will ensure that he shares their authentic voice. Stephen has extensive experience interviewing children of all ages from preschoolers to teenagers and children who have special needs including autism, learning or developmental disabilities, behavioural, mental health issues and physical disabilities.