Views of the Child reports are being increasingly used in Canada and other countries as a means of directly obtaining the child’s perspective on disputes between their parents and/or guardians. The reports provide information about the child’s perspective based on one or more interviews with a social worker. Yet, little research exists about their use and impact, the benefits and limitations of the approach, and less about what factors need to be considered in establishing practices and protocols to safely advance children’s views before the court. This article draws on the direct experiences of 24 children between the ages of 6–17 years about their views and preferences during family breakdown. The children describe how they wanted to speak to someone about their views and preferences, raised questions about the accuracy of the reporting of their views, the need for protecting their confidentiality by having a say of what is included in the report, and their support for children’s participation in decision-making post-separation. Practice, research and policy considerations are also highlighted in order for children’s participation to be truly meaningful to them, their parents and the courts.
- Child custody
- Views of the Child