Family Court Evaluations
For several years, Lurline was contracted to write Parenting Capacity Assessments for Calgary Child & Family Services in child protection matters. She is formally trained and received supervision to evaluate parenting capacity.
After moving back to BC, Lurline has immersed herself in the areas of family law, family mediation, parenting coordination, including evaluating children's needs for family court and in custody and access matters. As an experienced professional in family, child and adolescent counselling, she understands the complex needs of today's kids, parents and families. She attempts to offer clarity and guidance through the family court report process, to get the answers to resolve disputes and prevent future conflicts. As a child specialist, she is able to offer a comfortable, developmentally-appropriate and sensitive approach when working with her young clients in these matters.
Lurline is a roster member for Hear the Child Society and a member of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, which is the international association of professionals dedicated to the resolution of family conflict.
Lurline offers different types of court reports depending on what needs to be answered and clarified for the legal professionals and for the family.
Hear the Child Reports
Basic Voice of the Child Reports
Full Section 211 Voice of the Child Reports
Parenting Capacity Assessments
The child’s voice and perspectives can add richness to the conversations that parents and legal professionals need to develop meaningful plans that work for everyone impacted by the family situation.
Hear the Child Reports (FLA Section 202a)
These reports are a written account of the child's perspective about the issues that effect them. As a play therapist, Lurline can offer a child-friendly, comfortable environment and a developmentally-tailored interview to encourage open and honest expression of the child's wishes, wants and needs.
These reports are strictly non-evaluative. No opinions or impressions can be offered. I collect minimal information prior to meeting the child then decide on the questions and record the interview. These reports take approximately 6 hours to prepare for one child. A Hear the Child Report can answer questions about what the child feels is working or not working, and looks at what changes might improve the child's living situation. The child's report is not intended to make the court's decision -- it is only a piece of all the information that can be considered.
Hear the Child reports must be used with caution. They may not be very effective in high conflict situations. They rarely help when there are serious concerns about parenting capacity (mental health or safety), or when there are questions about parental alienation or estrangement. It is important to consider whether the child can meaningfully participate. Hear the Child reports are not appropriate if the child is not capable of expressing preferences.
Views of the Child (Section 211)
These used to be called custody and access reports, today, they are focused on understanding what is in the best interest of the child. Whenever possible ,the child's perspective is included through interviews. These reports also include a broader picture of the home environment, caregivers and the family system, using other sources of information than in a Hear the Child report. The assessor can consider whether there is estrangement or alienation occurring, or whether the child has been influenced to express a specific view or preference.
Typically Views of the Child reports include: parent interviews, parent-child observations, reviewing relevant documentation and the collection of information from outside sources (professionals, family, friends, etc.). This evaluative report can be a Brief Focused Assessment model that offers a more descriptive approach and they are best when there are narrowly defined issues in the dispute.
These basic Views of the Child Evaluations do not include formal psychological measures of parenting capacity, relationship, mental health, safety or substance dependency. When there are time and financial constraints a briefer Basic S.211 can offer a good solution for some families or it can be a first step to determining whether something more comprehensive is necessary.
Full Views of the Child (Full Section 211)
This is a complete assessment of the child's needs and the family situation. In addition to the basic Views of the Child report, the Full S.211 assessment includes specialized instruments and measures to provide information about parenting, safety, attachment and mental health. As these reports require the scoring and consideration of the results and how they may support or limit parenting, they can be time consuming and costly. The Full S.211 should be reserved for situations where there are specific concerns related to parenting capacity (e.g.; mental health, safety and substance dependency). These assessments can answer questions about how specific limitations may or may not impact the child and considers how one might support more successful parenting whenever possible.