Bringing the children into the mediation with child inclusive practice

Do you disagree about what is best for your child? Child Inclusive Practice is a way of bringing children into the mediation process without exposing them to parental conflict.

We generally wouldn’t include a child into a mediation session because they should not be exposed to the adult conversations that occur in mediation. Parenting Family Dispute Resolution is a process designed to help you work out how best to provide for your child’s needs after separation.

Child Inclusive Practice can help with that decision making. Child Inclusive Practice

What is Child Inclusive Practice?

Child Inclusive Practice is a process where your child meets with a specialist who gets an understanding of what is going on with your child. The practitioner will be interested in finding out what their experience of your separation is.

They don’t ask the child to make adult decisions such as who they want to live with. Working out what is best for children is the job of their parent.

However if your child has strong opinions about their living and spending time arrangements they may volunteer them to the practitioner.

How does it work?

Child Inclusive Practice works by giving parents greater insight into their child’s experience and thinking about their situation.  If our Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) Practitioners identifies that their clients have very different opinions about what is in the best interest of their child Child Inclusive Practice may be raised as an option.

The Child Inclusive Practitioner is an expert in child development so they should be able to detect if your child’s developmental progress is under stress. Understanding the effect of what is going on will help you to focus on your child’s needs, even if you are in conflict with their other parent.

If a referral to a Child Inclusive Practitioner (CIP) is made this is the usual process:

  • the CIP will discuss the referral with the FDR Practitioner before contacting you. Your FDR practitioner will request that you sign a referral form and give permission to share your basic client file information and an overview of the issues in dispute with the Child Inclusive Practitioner.
  • the CIP will then  meet individually with each parent either by phone or in person to get an understanding of your perspective and arrange for the meeting with your child.
  • they will then meet with your child or children. This meeting will usually be for between one and  two hours depending on how many children you have.
  • they will then write up their notes in preparation for coming to participate in the next FDR session.
  • A FDR session will be scheduled where the Child Inclusive Practitioner will come and discuss their findings with you.

Does the Child Inclusive Practitioner tell us what we have to do?

No. Child Inclusive Practice is a voluntary process undertaken by parents. It is designed to help you understand your separation from your child’s point of view. You always retain the right to make your own decisions in family dispute resolution and that includes child inclusive family dispute resolution.

Parents often find that with the additional insights provided by the CIP Practitioner they are able to develop a parenting agreement that is acceptable to them and better for their children than their current arrangements.

What does Child Inclusive Practice cost?

The process is usually charged at an hourly rate based on the time it takes.  Budget for about $1,100 – $1,650 in additional professional fees if working with an independent consultant.

What is Child Informed Practice?Parenting Agreements are important post separation

Child Informed Practice is a process used when it is not appropriate or desired for the practitioner to meet with the child. Generally Child Inclusive Practice is only used with children who are school aged and older. Child informed practice would be recommended if you can’t agree about what is in the best interests of a pre-school aged child.

How does Child Informed Practice work?

In Child Informed Practice the consultant speaks with each of the parents before the mediation session. The practitioner would then participate in the Family Dispute Resolution session with your FDR Practitioner in a role where they can provide expert advice.

They do not meet with your child but base their advice on research based information about children’s developmental needs and the proven impact of exposure to parental conflict. Many parents are surprised to find out that exposure to conflict is much more damaging to babies and very young children than it is to older children who are less dependent and have more coping strategies.

What does Child Informed Practice Cost?

Again the process is usually charged on an hourly basis. Budget for about $550 – $1,100

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by Joanne Law time to read: 3 min
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