We are delighted that 15 people officially launched the BC Hear the Child Society’s Roster of Child Interviewers on May 10, 2012 at the offices of Brown Henderson Melbye in Victoria.
The launch event participants included a BC Provincial Court Judge, and a Nanaimo participant.
Six Victorians are on the Launch Roster list and now available to be called upon to conduct non-evaluative child interviews:
- Trudi Brown
- Kay Melbye
- Crystal Buchan
- Mary Mouat
- Bobbi Poushinsky
- Eugene Raponi
The non-evaluative child interview has been a valuable tool for those who have used it to date. A couple of examples that were shared:
- the non-evaluative interview served as an ”ice-breaker” in re-establishing relationships between a child, father and grandparent that was a critical event in the grandparent’s life as relayed on his death bed; and
- the mere act of listening to a child in a dispute can make a positive difference to the child’s well-being as attested to by a parent who made a point of calling the child interviewer after the proceeding to relay this message.
Situations where it may not be appropriate to interview a child are where the child is too young, or when the issue in dispute between the parties does not affect the child.
There was some great discussion about the Roster and how it will work. One participant asked, “how can we make sure there is the perception of neutrality when dealing with lay litigant cases? For example, is there some arrangement to pay the chlid interviewer’s fees into court, and then the court can pay the interviewer so the interviewer does not know which party paid for the child’s interview?”. Another idea is for a Roster member from a different firm who is not acting as the interviewer to receive the funds “in trust” for the child interviewer so the interviewer does not know who paid for the interview.
The BC Hear the Child Society Roster of child interviewers is a complement to the services provided by the Province’s Family Justice Counsellors. For those who have the ability to pay for this service, non-evaluative child interviews and reports can be completed as quickly as a few days. It was estimated that interviewing one child can cost anywhere between $500 and $1000.
The Society is beginning with the Launch Roster to get things up and running. An application will be available on the Society’s website sometime in June for others who are interested in joining the Roster. Successful applicants will be added on a rolling basis. A Victoria practice group will be established to continue to share and develop the practice.
A recent BC Court of Appeal decision was raised at the session: Stav v. Stav, 2012 BCCA 154 (CanLII) also available at: http://canlii.ca/t/fqvv9. The case involved mobility and addressed the views of a 14 year old boy, collected through a private non-evaluative child interviewer in Vancouver.
Thank you to all who helped celebrate the launch of the Society’s Child Interviewer Roster in Victoria!