Family Court Reports

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 receives supervision to evaluate parenting capacity.

 

After moving back to BC, Lurline has immersed herself in several areas related to family law including evaluating children's needs for family court in matters that consider parenting time and decision-making. As an experienced professional in family, child and adolescent counselling, she understands the complex needs of today's kids, parents and families. She works to offer clarity and guidance through the family court report process to get the answers needed 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 the BC 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 reports depending on what needs to be answered and clarified for the legal professionals and for the family keeping the best interests of children the focus.

Clients and even many professionals are still confused about the differences between a ‘Hear the Child Report’, a ‘Section 211 Report’ and a ‘Views of the Child Report’? In their paper, ‘Voices of Children: How, When, Why and a Few Other Questions’ Carla Lewis (Board member) and Floriana Kennelly address this issue. Their description follows.

Image by Anna Kolosyuk
  • Hear the Child Reports 

  • Views of the Child Reports

  • Full Section 211 Views of the Child Reports

  • Parenting Capacity Assessments

The child’s voice and perspectives can add richness to the conversations that parents and legal professionals all need in order to develop meaningful plans that work for everyone affected by the family situation.

Which Family Court Report does my family need? Download this Comparison Chart

Hear the Child Reports (FLA Section 202a)

 

A Hear the Child report is a non-evaluative narrative report, that contains only the comments of the child or children without interpretation, analysis or recommendations. There is no assessment, evaluation, recommendation nor conclusion in a Hear the Child report.

Hear the Child reports are authorized by Section 37 of the Family Law Act, relating to children’s best interests, and Section 202 regarding children’s evidence, and NOT by Section 211. A Hear the Child report may also be ordered under Section 224(1)(b), as a specified service.

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.

Minimal information is collected from guardians or legal professionals prior to meeting the child. Based on what information is being sought,  the interview questions are chosen and the interviews are recorded. 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 legal decision -- it is only a single piece of all the information that can be considered.

 

Hear the Child reports must be used with caution. They are not be very effective in high conflict situations. They rarely help when there are serious concerns about parenting capacity (mental health, substance issues or child safety), or when there are issues with parent-child contact, resistance or estrangement. It is also important to consider whether a child can meaningfully participate based on their stage of development or specific limitations -- Hear the Child reports are not appropriate if the child is not capable of expressing their preferences or understanding what they are participating in. 

Hear the Child Information Sheet

First Aid

Views of the Child 

A Views of the Child  is NOT an abbreviated Section 211 report because it only addresses Section 211(b) for the Family Law Act.

 

Section 211(b): The views of a child in relation to a family law dispute

Therefore, a Views of the Child report will NOT address the child’s needs nor comment on the parents’ ability to provide for the child’s needs. Children are assessed and the guardians are interviewed only for background about the children not the parents.  Recommendations about children's best interests cannot be made because there is insufficient information on the children’s needs and the guardians’ relative abilities to meet the child's needs. 


Views of the Child reports, like Section 211 reports, are still considered expert reports so the report preparer must meet the requirements of an ‘expert’ under the Supreme Court Family Rules if this type of report is intended to be used for family court purposes.

Typically Views of the Child reports, like Section 211 reports, include: parent interviews, child interviews and parent-child observations in home.

Full Section 211 Views of the Child

Section 211 of the Family Law Act states that a court may appoint a person, designated under the Act, to assess, one or more of the following:

 

  • the needs of a child in relation to a family law dispute;

  • the views of a child in relation to a family law dispute;

  • the ability and willingness of a party to a family law dispute to satisfy a child’s needs.

 

A Section 211 report may contain a record of interviews with children, parents, extended family members or other collaterals, home visits, the results of psychological testing, as well as an analysis of the family dynamics and provides recommendations about parenting arrangements.

Section 211 reports are expert reports and the report preparer must meet the requirements of an ‘expert’ under Rule 13 of the Supreme Court Family Rules if this form of report is to be used for court purposes.

A Section 211 is a complete assessment of the child's needs and the family situation. This includes an evaluation of parenting, safety, attachment and mental health. Since these reports are so thorough and provide expert recommendations, they are both time consuming and costly. The Full S.211  should be reserved for situations where there are complex concerns such as high levels of conflict, parent-child contact problems or when mental health and safety questions exist. These assessments are designed to provide a picture about how specific parenting limitations may or may not impact the child and considers how one might support more successful parenting when serious concerns do exist.