When parents are in Family Dispute Resolution (mediation), research shows that talking about what’s best for the children helps create good outcomes. As part of the Family Dispute Resolution process, parents can be offered Child Inclusive Practice or a Child-Focused Session. Both of these processes provide the opportunity for parents to think about and have conversations regarding their children’s needs.
Child Inclusive Practice
Children aged five years and over may meet with a Child Consultant.
The Child Consultant is interested to find out what the family situation looks like through the child’s eyes, their experiences of the separation and how this impacts on each child. It is not counselling. The Child Consultant uses age-appropriate techniques, such as drawing, bear cards, story stems and play. The children are not asked where they want to live. They are not asked any questions about the things that parents need to decide.
After seeing the child, the Child Consultant attends the next mediation session to support the parents to understand and respond to their child’s experiences.
For children under five years of age, a Child-Focused Session is offered where the Child Consultant only meets with the parents and then attends the mediation session.
Potential outcomes of Child Inclusive Practice and Child Focused sessions include:
- Reduction in conflict
- Better living arrangements for children
- Children feeling less caught in the middle and have fewer emotional problems.
- Improved relationships for children with their parents and between parents and their ability to work together
- Parents may make better and longer-lasting agreements