Voice of the Child reports (also know as VOC reports), are generally requested by courts to learn about the child’s unique views and wishes about one or two particular subjects. VOCs have been welcomed in Ontario as they are a simple and cost effective way for children’s voices to be heard in the courts, without the length and cost of a regular parenting time and decision making (formerly known as a custody access) assessment.
In general, VOC reports take ten hours or less to complete and can be completed in under thirty days. A full evaluation can take more than six months or longer to complete.
A VOC report is ideal for families and courts who have worked through many other areas but still have a few outstanding issues to cover. The issues are generally restricted to obtaining the children’s views and wishes about one to two specific issues and prevent the child from having to testify at court, a process that is extremely stressful for children and can cause long term negative impacts.
WHAT IS INVOLVED?
In general, the clinician will meet with the child(ren) twice. Each caregiver will bring the child to the our offices (on separate interview dates) where the child will be interviewed by a trained clinician. After spending some time getting to know the clinician and the office space, children will be asked a variety of questions about the presenting issues. Clinicians are highly trained to avoid asking questions where children will feel they need to choose sides between parents. They will not be asked who they want to live with, nor will they be asked any leading questions.
Parents, although they bring their child(ren) to the appointment (or have the children in their care for virtual interviews) are not interviewed to protect the interview process, and to ensure that it is only the children’s voices and wishes that are reflected in the report. Clinicians will book interviews directly with parents, but will refrain from engaging in discussion about the court case or the parents’ opinions or views. The entire report must remain focused on the child.
WHAT IS THE COST FOR A VOICE OF THE CHILD REPORT?
Voice of the Child reports are billed at a flat rate of $2000 plus HST for one child. Each additional child is billed at $300/per report plus HST. Parents can be billed separately so that each can pay their own share, or one parent can pay for the entire cost. All payment must be provided in full prior to interviews being scheduled. Payment can be made by email transfer, or certified check.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
Once we’ve agreed that we are a good fit to work together, interviews with the children will be arranged. The entire process should be completed with the report sworn and filed with the court and served on all parties within 30 days of the interviews beginning.
HOW DO I MAKE A REFERRAL?
Referrals are made by contacting us directly at 548-688-1310 or by emailing email@example.com Referrals can be made directly by parents, the court, or counsel. All referrals will be carefully screened for any conflict of interest within 7 days of referral. You will be notified if your file has been accepted or declined in writing.