Voice of the Child Reports

NavOn training

A Child’s Voice Matters: Learn how to conduct effective Voice of the Child Reports

Did you know that a child has a right to have their voice heard when important decisions are being made about them? This right is supported by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Divorce Act in Canada, and in Ontario, the Children’s Law Reform Act and the Child Youth and Family Services Act.

When parents separate, involving children in family decision-making can be a complex exercise and must be approached with great sensitivity and care. A Voice of the Child Report is often helpful in obtaining the children’s views and preferences. Research has shown that Voice of the Child Reports help parents resolve their disputes and make child-centered decisions.

Voice of the Child Reports training will provide the tools and practical skills that lawyers and mental health professionals need to conduct Voice of the Child Reports and elevate the child’s voice for parents and other decision-makers in Court or in Alternative/Family Dispute Resolution. Our 3-day (21 hour) online comprehensive foundational training was co-developed with Debra Rodrigues, former Director of PCCS Mediators and Counsellors, and Dr. Dan Ashbourne, former Executive Director of the London Family Court Clinic, both now semi-retired (but still training).

Participants will have the opportunity to learn and apply concepts and skills through lectures, case studies, role plays, small and large group discussions, technology innovations, and problem-based learning. A brief list of topics covered over the three days is as follows:

Day 1: Models and approaches for bringing the child’s voice into Court and mediation; relevant legislation; risks and benefits of implementing the child’s participation rights; relevant Best Practices, Standards and Guidelines; outcome research; parent factors to consider; parent readiness and consent.

Day 2: Ages and stages of child development; children’s needs through separation/divorce; child interviewing within the legal context; confidentiality and consent; identifying the least intrusive approach; process for interviewing the children directly; tools and tips for interviewing; cultural and diversity considerations.

Day 3: Implementing participation rights for neurodiverse children; managing sibling groups; mandatory reporting; ethical decision-making and dilemmas; roles and boundaries; managing difficult family dynamics including domestic violence or parent-child contact problems; providing feedback to parents; file management.

Learning Objectives:

  • Discover the 12-step process for Voice of the Child Reports.
  • Learn critical and pertinent concepts in child development, children’s communication, and children’s special needs.
  • Develop and practice skills for interviewing children in the legal context.
  • Understand parent readiness and learn to provide parent feedback.
  • Develop strategies for risk mitigation and managing the process.
  • Hear about the legislation, guidelines, and research that support the work.

What else do you get with our training:

  • Registration for the training is limited in order for us to meet the needs of each trainee in a small class setting.
  • Access to trainers for future consultation as you begin to undertake the work.
  • A certificate of completion.
  • Training updates and continuing education.
  • An opportunity to join the roster of professionals who are trained VoC practitioners. You can connect and refer to each other. Also, the public and other professionals can find you.

Professionals across Canada and internationally have completed our training in Voice of the Child Reports. This is what they had to say:

“The trainers were amazing. So much knowledge imparted, and they made it easy to learn while helping us keep in mind our boundaries in this role.”

“So much is included in the training. I especially appreciate the tools developed for every step.”

“Fantastic. I learned so much and feel confident to do this work.”

“By the end of the training and given my professional background, I felt confident enough to add VCRs to my own repertoire of services.”

“Overall, the 12-Step VCR training was very comprehensive. I think it includes all the steps and considerations a practitioner needs to follow. It was also helpful that the trainers provided all the forms needed for completion of the process. The guest speakers, the practitioners, researchers, and judges were very helpful, too. The training covers the entire process of the VCR and the interviewing skills and techniques. All the trainers provided useful examples, tips and guidelines, including videos of how it should be done.”

“I think a VCR can provide professionals and parents with a glimpse into the life of the children as the children see it and experience it. That can be extremely valuable to both the parents and, when litigation is involved, the courts.”

“As I went through the training, I was reminded of the impact of separation and divorce on children. I believe that the VCR process provides parents with a useful non-biased option to better understand their children when parents need to make decisions in the children’s best interest.”

“The trainers really want to help you and offer supervision.”

Roster of Voice of the Child Professionals

It is important for the public and referring professionals to be able to find trained practitioners to obtain the Voice of the Child. The professionals listed on our roster have taken our foundational training.

This roster can also be used by Voice of the Child practitioners to learn about others in their area providing the service, to cross-refer, and for consultation.

This roster does not vet, qualify, or regulate the professionals listed. NavOn is not responsible for the quality of anyone’s work or complaints made against anyone on the roster. Any complaints should be directed to that professional’s licensing body or professional association.

Trainers / Supervisors / Practitioners

Dan Ashbourne


Specialties
Psychology, VOC Trainer, CIM Trainer

Qualifications
Ph.D., C. Psych., AccFM

Areas
London and Surrounding Area

Ages
All

Contact

519-679-7250 Ext. 107

dan.ashbourne@lfcc.on.ca

Debra S. Rodrigues


Specialties
Social Worker, Mediator, Counsellor, VOC Trainer, CIM Trainer

Qualifications
Hons. BA/BSW, RSW, Acc. F.M., Acc. CP Med., Acc. Elder Med.

Areas
Peel, Halton, Wellington Regions

Ages
All

Contact

905-567-8858

drodrigues@pccs.ca

Practitioners

Jennifer Barkin


Specialties
Mediation, Social Work, Diversity, Special Needs Children

Qualifications
BA, BSW, MSW, RSW, CDC, Acc. F.M.

Areas
Toronto: GTA

Ages
All

Other languages
Intermediate Hebrew

Contact

416-832-4650

jenniferbarkin@yahoo.ca

Kavita Bhagat


Specialties
Lawyer

Qualifications
B.A. Psych., L.LB, L.LM., Cert. Spec. LSO, Acc. F.M. OAFM

Areas
Peel

Ages
All

Other languages
Punjabi, Urdu, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada

Contact

905-497-6806

kavitabhagat@bramptonfamilylawyers.ca

Stacey Brion


Specialties
Child Therapy, Divorce Counselling, Parenting Plans, Couples Counselling

Qualifications
Psychotherapist

Areas
Toronto

Ages
5-18

Contact

416-991-1323

stacey@familytherapyto.com

Carolyn Brown


Specialties
Over 18 years experience interviewing and meeting with children

Qualifications
B.A., AccFM(OAFM)

Areas
Southwest Ontario

Ages
5-17

Contact

519-312-8062

mediatorcarolyn@gmail.com

Julie Cho


Specialties
Family Law Lawyer + Mediator

Qualifications
B.Sc (Hons), J.D. (Barrister and Solicitor)

Areas
Greater Toronto Area/York Region, Ontario

Ages
7-16

Contact

416-646-1766

julie@kadoorychofamilylaw.com

Sherri Cully


Specialties
Mediation, Separation Divorce, Voice of the Child, Child Inclusive Mediation

Qualifications
B.A. Psych, AccFM, FDRP. Med, VOC Practitioner

Areas
Hamilton, GTHA

Ages
7+

Contact

289-639-2010

scully@cully.ca

Paula De Vetto


Specialties
Social Worker, Mediator, CP Mediation, OCL, Parenting Coordinator, RE-Integration Counselling, Counselling

Qualifications
MSW, RSW, Acc. F.M, CP Med.

Areas
London and surrounding area

Ages
All

Contact

519-471-2077

pdeveto@bellnet.com

Caroline Felstiner


Specialties
Mediation , Child Protection Mediation

Qualifications
MSW

Areas
Greater Toronto Area , Ontario

Ages
8 years and older

Contact

416-723-6716

caroline@felstiner.com

Mandy Folwer


Specialties
AccFM, CPMed

Qualifications
B.A., BSW., AccFM, CPMed, VCR Practitioner

Areas
Ontario

Ages
All ages

Other languages
French

Contact

705-257-7960

fowlermediation@gmail.com

Kristen L. Hales


Specialties
Family Mediation; Family Arbitration; Family Law

Qualifications
B.A., LL.B.

Areas
ON

Ages
All

Contact

519-996-5529

hales@KLHlaw.ca

Tina Hinsperger


Specialties
Social Worker, Family Mediator, Child-Inclusive Mediator, Clinician with the Office of the Children’s Lawyer

Qualifications
BSc, BSW, RSW, Acc FM, FDRP Med, ODR Specialist

Areas
Dufferin, Peel, Simcoe, Grey, Wellington

Ages
All

Contact

519-925-1172

tina.hinsperger@gmail.com

Cindy Holovac Leithead


Specialties
Family Mediator – specializing in Parenting Plans, Instructor

Qualifications
BA(Hons), M.C.A., Acc. F.M., Acc.Elder Med., CP Med., Openness in Adoption Mediator

Areas
Toronto and GTA

Ages
All

Contact

647-988-9020

Cindy.hl@sympatico.ca

Jane Howlett


Specialties
Trained parenting coordinator, child inclusive mediator & child protection mediator

Qualifications
BSW, LLB, Acc FM, FDRP Med, CP Med

Areas
Ontario

Ages
All

Contact

613-966-7771

jane@kdalaw.ca

Strybos Jacqueline


Specialties
Lawyer

Qualifications
Lawyer

Areas
Timmons; Cochrane; Kapuskasing; Kickland Lake; Haileybury

Ages
All

Contact

705-465-6917

jackie.strybox@lfblaw.ca

Christopher Knowles


Specialties
OCL Panel; Child Protection

Qualifications
Lawyer/OCL Panel

Areas
Essex; Lambton; Kent; LondonMiddlesex

Ages
All

Other languages
French

Contact

519-252-0529

chris.knowles@mdirect.net

Daniel Lanoue


Specialties
Family Court Mediator; Social Worker; PC;

Qualifications
B.A. (Hons. Psych) M.S.W. R.S.W Acc.FM C.P.Med

Areas
OttawaCarleton, Renfrew & Lanark counties

Ages
All

Contact

613-799-9562

renfrewcountymediation@gmail.com

Carolyn McAlpine


Specialties
Family mediator specializing in parenting plans, social worker, reconciliation therapy, ability to work effectively with counsel in context of mediation/court/collaborative law

Qualifications
ACC.FM,RSSW

Areas
KawarthaHaliburton, Durham and surrounding areas, Cobourg and surrounding areas

Ages
All

Contact

705-879-1553

cmcalpine16@gmail.com

Willow McLean


Specialties
Mediation, Family and Child Wellbeing, Social Work

Qualifications
MSW, RSW

Areas
Nova Scotia

Ages
6-18

Contact

902-333-2405

willowmclean@gmail.com

Sandi Sherk


Specialties
Counselling; private practitioner

Qualifications
MSW, RSW

Areas
Cambridge; KitchenerWaterloo; Brantford; Woodstock; Stratford; HaldimandNorfolk; Dundas

Ages
7 and up

Contact

519-729-2654

sandisherk@gmail.com

Aubrey J. Sherman


Specialties
Family/Divorce Mediation; Child-Inclusive Mediation; Intergenerational (Elder) Mediation; Online Dispute Resolution

Qualifications
B.A., LL.B., AccFM, AccIM, CODR, Certs. Mediation/Conflict Management – Harvard Law School PON & Conrad Grebel University College/University of Waterloo

Areas
Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, Hamilton, London – Available online throughout Ontario

Ages
All

Contact

519-884-0034

asherman@sherman-law.com

Gabbi Silverberg


Specialties
Social worker, trauma, high conflict, CAS and mental health

Qualifications
BA, BSW, RSW

Areas
GTA Ontario

Ages
7 and up

Contact

416-580-4284

Gabbi@riseupcounselling.com

Age Smies


Specialties
Parenting and Education Planning, New Ways for Life and New Ways for Families

Qualifications
CD, MMus, BEd, AccFM, CPMed, FGC, Openness Adoption Specialist, QMed

Areas
Kawarthas, Hastings County, Northumberland, Peterborough, Durham and online

Ages
n/a

Contact

705-875-3628

aesmies@yahoo.ca

Janet Trichilo


Specialties
Exp. Children; special needs; at risk youth

Areas
Barrie; Collingwood; Wasga; Bradford; Orillia

Ages
All

Contact

705-718-7688

janetalanen@hotmail.com

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Join the Voice of the Child Practitioners Roster

Listing your name on the roster is a great opportunity to let the public and your colleagues know that you are trained to provide Voice of the Child Reports. We are constantly referring clients, lawyers, and mental health professionals to the roster so that they can connect with a trained Voice of the Child practitioner in their community.