What is a Section 211 Report and Do you Need One?
A Section 211 report is an assessment report prepared by a family justice counsellor, a social worker, or another person approved by the court (generally a psychologist) which provides an assessment of one or more of the followings:
- the needs of a child in relation to a family law dispute;
- the views of a child in relation to a family law dispute;
- the ability and willingness of a party to a family law dispute to satisfy the needs of a child
You need a court order to get a section 211 report prepared.
What is a full section 211 report?
A full section 211 report is a report that assess all the 3 criteria set out above (i.e. the needs of a child, the views of a child, and ability and willingness of a party to a family law dispute to satisfy the needs of a child).
To prepare the full section 211 report, the expert meets with you and observes your interactions with your child. The expert also meets with the other parent and observes his or her interaction with your child.
In addition, the expert meets with your child(ren) alone and asks them questions relevant to the parenting arrangements.
For a psychologist section 211 report, you and the other parent undergo some psychological testings as well.
You may also suggest to the expert to interview other people (collaterals). For example, counsellors that you, the child(ren), or your spouse is seeing, your friends or family members, daycare providers, teachers, or anyone else who has seen you or your spouse with the child(ren) and can provide relevant feedback. The expert decides whether collateral interviews are necessary and who to interview.
After this, the expert summarizes his/her observations, analysis, and recommendation in a written report, which will be provided to both parents (or their counsels) and the court. The recommendations generally include guardianship and parenting arrangements that are in the best interests of your child(ren). In cases of parental alienations, the expert may recommend counselling or reunification programs.
What is a views of the child report?
Section 211 views of the child report requires assessment of the views of the child(ren). In this report, there is no assessment of the parents. The expert meets with the child(ren) alone and asks them questions relevant to the issues.
The expert may also interview you and the other parent regarding your case but there will be no assessment of you or your spouse. The purpose of this interview is for the expert to have the background information about your case.
After meeting and interviewing the child(ren), the expert writes a report summarizing his/her discussions with the child(ren), what the child(ren) told him, and some assessment of the views of the child (for example, whether the child was coached by either parent, the demeanour of the child, the capacity of the child, etc).
What is hear the child voice report?
Hear the child voice report is basically a report where the expert meets with the child(ren), asks them relevant questions, and summarizes the discussions with the child(ren). This report does not include any assessment of the views of the child.
The expert may interview you and the other parent, solely for purpose of gathering background information about your case.
How much does a family justice counsellor section 211 report cost?
The reports prepared by a family justice counsellors are free. However, it may take a long time before they are able to meet with you and prepare the report.
How much does a social worker section 211 report cost?
The reports prepared by social workers are generally cheaper than reports prepared by psychologists. However, they would not include the psychological assessment of the parties. If you retain a social worker to prepare your full section 211 report, we estimate the cost to be between $5,000.00 – $7,000.00 for the report. The cost of the section 211 views of the child report or hear the child voice report is less than the full section 211 report.
How much does a psychologist section 211 report cost?
The report prepared by psychologists is the most complete report as it would include psychological assessment of the parties. However, these reports are generally costly. If you retain a psychologist to prepare your full section 211 report, you should be prepared to pay at least $10,000.00 – $15,000.00 for the report. The section 211 views of the child report or hear the child voice report are generally much cheaper than the full section 211 report.
However, the price may vary depending on the complexity of your case, whether the expert is required to travel, the number of collateral interviews, and how much materials your section 211 expert needs to review (sometimes this may include extensive affidavits of the parties).
Who pays the cost of the section 211 report?
The court may allocate the cost of the report between the parties in proportionate to their incomes, equally, or as otherwise ordered. The court may also order that one party pays the cost of the report upfront subject to the costs being allocated between the parties at a later date.
When will the court order section 211 report?
The threshold for ordering a section 211 report is low. However, if the report is not necessary or is not in the best interest of the child(ren), the court may refuse to order the section 211 report. In refusing to order the section 211 report, the court may take into account the intrusive process of subjecting a child to psychological assessment (see Symington v Simor  BCJ No. 2688). The costs of the report and the ability of the parties to pay the costs of the report may also be another ground for refusing to order a section 211 report ( N. v J.C.N., 2013 BCSC 1870 at paragraph 14 and 15). However, if you get a court order, the court is not bound to follow or implement the section 211 recommendations.
Who should I use for my psychologist section 211 report?
The following professionals have commonly prepared section 211 reports (in alphabetical order):
- Dr. Aube
- Mr. Colby
- Dr. Elterman
- Dr. England
- Dr. Korpach
- Dr. Krywaniuk
- Dr. Waterman
There are also a number of other professionals out there whose name we have not mentioned. Ultimately, it is best if you do your research, speak to the professionals, and see which one suits your case.
If you need to get a court order for a section 211 report, contact us for your initial consultation to see how we can help you move forward.