Hear the Child Reports

Ontario law requires that the views of children must be considered when decisions are being made that affect them, unless it would be inappropriate to do so. One way to obtain the views of a child or a youth is to obtain a Hear the Child Report (“HTC Report”).

A HTC Report is a non-evaluative, verbatim report of the views of the child on issues related to family transition or breakdown, for the purpose of having that child or youth’s views considered when decisions are made about their best interests.

Riverdale Mediation’s professionals are trained to interview children and prepare HTC Reports for the purpose of court, mediation, arbitration or parenting coordination. We will prepare our own Reports as parenting coordinators in appropriate cases.

The child has control over what is included in the Report and nothing is put into the Report without the child’s permission.

A HTC Report does not contain recommendations or evaluations. It does not state any opinions or assessments of the interviewer.

HTC Reports have been used by the Courts and private professionals for many years in British Columbia, via the BC Hear the Child Society.

Here is a Youtube video that explains the process.

How Can I Request a HTC Report?

The Report can be done by agreement between Riverdale and the child’s parents or guardians. That Agreement can be found on our website.

Even if a court, parenting coordinators or arbitrators has ordered a HTC Report, or if we are conducting the interview as a parenting coordinator, we require a signed Agreement.

What are the Steps Involved?

After the Agreement is signed, we will speak with each parent’s counsel (if any) to learn the background on why the Report is being requested and relevant information on the issues in dispute. We may request copies of relevant orders or other documents.

We will also have a brief phone or Zoom call with each parent before the first meeting with the child. We will want to know the issues or questions that each parent would like us to canvass with the child. We may ask for some general background from each parent but will not get into a lot of detail with either on the issues or background.

We work with the parents and counsel to determine dates and times for the interviews and to establish a due date for the Report.

We have two interviews with the child, or if more than one, with each child. The first is about one hour long, the second may be less than an hour. Neither parent is to be present with the child during the interview. Transportation of the child to and from the interviews (or the location in which they occur if by Zoom) is to be shared between the parents if possible.

What Kinds of Questions is the Child Asked?

While each interview is tailored to the circumstances of each child, questions typically fall into three basic categories:

  • Some general questions on how things are going for them in their current living arrangements
  • Specific questions about the time spent with each parent
  • Questions about future parenting arrangements or the relevant issues in dispute

What Do I Need to Know about the HTC Interview and Report?

Here are some key points:

  • We work through the lens of the child and their views on the parenting arrangements and issues, and not through the lens of the parents’ dispute.
  • Children are not decision-makers. The Report is prepared to help their parents, guardians, legal counsel, parenting coordinators, mediators, arbitrators or courts make decisions that affect them;
  • The child is in control of determining whether or how to respond to questions;
  • All responses will be reviewed with the child. It is their decision what to include in the Report
  • The information is intended to help parents make decisions themselves about the issues affecting their children, and, if they cannot, to assist the mediator, arbitrator, parenting coordinator or court in making the decision in the child’s best interests;
  • The interviewer will take detailed notes of what the child tells them;
  • The interview is not evaluative. No judgements or assessments of any kind are made. We literally report on what the child is saying.
  • Parents, guardians and advisors are not to coach the child as to what they should or should not say during their interview. Children are not to be questioned after the interview about what they said, nor after the Report is delivered.
  • The child should be prepared for the interview by being told that it is their opportunity to share their views on their living arrangements (or other issues). The parents/guardians should voice their support for the child speaking up.

If there are any child protection concerns or safety concerns, these must be reported by the interviewer.

How Long does the HTC Interview and Report Take?

Depending on the schedules of all involved, we typically will have the first interview, draft the Report and meet with the child for the second interview within 3-4 weeks’ time.

What Does a HTC Report Cost?

We require to be paid the full cost of the HTC Report in advance. We charge a flat rate which can be found with the Agreement on our website.

If a court attendance or attendance as a witness at a mediation, arbitration or parenting coordination hearing is required, we will make separate arrangements for an advance payment for same.


Before we meet

Read the "Getting Started" guide