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A Voice of the Child Report is a non-evaluative report prepared for parents or the Court after meeting with the children of parents who have separated. The purpose of a VCR is to assist in the resolution of parenting plans. Any party (parent/guardian), lawyer, or Judge can request the preparation of a VCR at any point in the process of dispute resolution or litigation. However, it is at the discretion of the VCR practitioner and child whether they are completed.
VCR’s help parents learn the child’s views, perspectives and preferences for consideration in negotiation, mediation, litigation and other dispute resolution processes between parents/guardians. A VCR can be very useful in the early stages of separation to allow the parents to gain a better understanding of the child’s views and assist with settlement. Even if the parenting plan changes over time, parenting plans put in place soon after the separation typically help to reduce conflict and improve the situation for the child.
Most parents appreciate hearing their children’s views and agree that it is in the children’s best interests to be heard. Parents often appreciate that the VCR is about what their child has to say and is not a full parenting plan evaluation about the strengths and limitations of each parent’s parenting abilities. VCR’s can be most useful when there are no complex ‘clinical’ issues (e.g., mental health, addiction, child abuse). If complex concerns exist, a more in-depth Parenting Plan
Evaluation may be more appropriate. In confidential meetings/interviews, the VCR practitioner allows the child to determine what information is shared with the parents and what is not to be shared. Such assurances of confidentiality can encourage children to be more comfortable and open to sharing. Most children want to have their voice heard and considered. VCR’s are limited in scope and do not constitute an assessment of any kind. Collateral information is not sought nor are recommendations made by the VCR practitioner.
A VCR is typically not completed under the following circumstances:
• When there are criminal charges against a parent and where the child might have to testify in criminal court; - there are criminal charges against a parent and bail conditions prohibit contact with the child;
- if there is any other legal reason.
• When there is a recently completed Parenting Plan Evaluation under section 30 of the Children Law Reform Act or a clinical investigation under section 112 of the Courts of Justice Act. • If there may be repercussions to the child for participating.
The discretion for completing the VCR remains with the VCR practitioner and the child. A VCR will only be completed if both parents/guardians consent and there is consent for participation from the child. As with any meeting with a child, disclosures about a safety issue or potential safety issue
We have moved our Norwich office to 19 Baldwin Street, Tillsonburg.
Now two amazing offices (Woodstock and Tillsonburg) to serve Oxford County and surrounding areas.