The intention behind Child Consultation is to support parents and caregivers in reaching a better, longer lasting agreement arising from their Family Mediation or Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) process.
Child Support process
In our Child Consultation service, a child’s thoughts and feelings are brought into the Family Mediation or Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) process via a Child Consultant’s meeting and subsequent report. It is widely reported and acknowledged that children’s thoughts and feelings are sometimes lost within the distress, misunderstanding, distrust and challenging communication between two separating or separated parents.
When both parties request it, and if the Family Mediator believes Child Support may help the parties reach a better, longer lasting agreement, a referral to a Child Consultant may be made for one or more (but not necessarily all) of the children involved. The parties undertaking the Family Mediation must first give written informed consent for this referral. Children taking part in Child Support and Consultation will normally meet individually with the Child Consultant and not with any siblings.
What Can Family Works Resolution do for Child Consultation ?
FWRS Child Consultants are highly-skilled and qualified child and family workers, who have been specifically trained to talk to children at a one-off, 45-minute meeting aimed at ascertaining a child’s thoughts and feelings in relation to (a) residence, (b) care arrangements and (c) key relationships.
There is no scope in the Child Support process for any assessment or professional judgement to be made on parents’ capacity to provide day-to-day care, except in cases where child protection issues are evident, or there is evidence a child has been coached or unduly influenced by a parent/caregiver or other significant person e.g. a family member or friend.
After each Child Consultation meeting, the Child Consultant will prepare a brief report for the Family Mediator which will reflect that child’s stated beliefs regarding residence, care arrangements and key relationships.
If the Child Consultant feels that they cannot fulfill the requirements of their report, or if at any point during the process the child withdraws their consent for any information to be given back to the parties, a blank report is sent to the Family Mediator ticking a box which states that the Child Consultant has been unable to meet the requirements of the Child Consultation session.
At the first family mediation meeting and after any child consolation meetings, the Family Mediator will summarise to the parents the child’s stated thoughts and feelings as obtained in the Child Consultation meeting. Parents will not be given or get to read a copy of the Child Consultation which is legally privileged.