When parents separate, significant decisions are typically made impacting the day-to-day lives of the children involved. Finding ways to include children’s participation in these decisions is often referred to as promoting “the Voice of the Child”.
There is growing recognition in the social science research literature on the value of children expressing their views and preferences and parents’ considering their input during their post-separation planning. This is particularly the case among older children who may wish to share their views about major decisions impacting their lives. Parents are also more likely to settle their disputes if they understand how their children see their situation and understand what is important to them.
Given the recent demand in meeting with children prior to drafting post-separation parenting plans, clinicians at Mackenzie Clinic will meet with the children to understand their views and preferences. The clinician will ensure the child(ren) understand their role to avoid feeling potential loyalty conflicts or pressure during this difficult time.
A report will be prepared and issued to parents and respective counsel. This report shall detail the themes discussed with the child, and his or her perspectives on a range of issues identified during the meetings. On its own, a Voice of the Child Report does not provide a thorough mental health assessment or a complete analysis of the child’s needs or best interests.