Options to Hear Children

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There is a difference between young people under the age of 19 being given an opportunity to provide input, and making the decision about their best interests. Their views can be heard and considered by the adults who make the decisions in different family justice forums such as:

There are a variety of ways that families and decision-makers can create opportunities to hear from young people in these processes. For example, the young person can be invited to share his or her views and:

While these options exist, many children are still not given an opportunity to be heard in British Columbia. Some of the reasons for this are that it can be expensive, take too much time, or people lack the necessary training to properly listen to children’s views. The BC Hear the Child Society is working to bridge this gap and has established a roster of neutral professionals trained to listen to children and assist families and decision-makers.

The child may say what he or she wants to say, and nothing more. Absent any child protection concerns, which we are under a duty to disclose, our roster members report as objectively and exactly as possible – and only – what the child authorizes us to say.

BC Hear the Child Society Roster members do not replace assessors or mental health professionals. Rather, they provide a basic service to support every child’s right to have an opportunity to be heard [see Family Law Act ss.37(2)(b), 41(k)(ii) and 202].