Our child inclusive practice program

June 5, 2018

What is Child Inclusive Practice (CIP)?

The Family Law Act 1975 requires separated families to make a genuine effort to resolve parenting issues at a Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) session before making an application to the court. Some exceptions apply.

Child Inclusive Practice (CIP) allows the children to have their experiences considered thoughtfully by their parents and the Mediator during a Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) session. This is supported by the Family Law Act 1975 and the Family Law (Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners Regulations 2008). CIP is an optional and non-legal service. Session details are not admissible in court.

This process provides an opportunity for children to talk about their situation and how they are feeling with a trained Child Consultant in a safe environment. This allows the child to express their concerns, worries, desires and ideas about how things might work. It is not a forum for children to make decisions, or a traditional counselling session – rather a process that allows your child to be heard.

The Child Consultant gives feedback during an FDR mediation session that may assist parental decisions when developing a parenting plan that supports the needs of their child.

CIP encourages parents to develop an alliance so their children have a secure emotional base from which to grow and thrive.

Benefits of CIP for you and our child

When separation occurs, children may be caught in the middle of parental conflict. For children this can feel like they transition between two battle zones. They may feel confused and overwhelmed. Children need certainty, consistency and stability about living arrangements to adjust to new family dynamics.

Research has shown that parents who participated in child inclusive mediation were more likely to maintain the same arrangements over time.

CIP gives you the opportunity to learn more about your child’s unique needs, how to continue to maintain a meaningful relationship with your child, how they experience their world, and what may make it better for them.

CIP allows you to identify potential risk factors for your child by learning about their stages of development, the impact of persistent parental conflict and how to communicate better through this transition.

How does it work?

The Mediator discusses the option for engaging in a CIP process and when both parents consent, the following is initiated:

  • A consent form is signed by both parents
  • The Mediator will prepare a written referral to the Child Consultant
  • The Child Consultant will contact both parents to have a confidential discussion regarding their children and explain the CIP process.
  • One hour appointments will be scheduled for each child to meet the Child Consultant
  • Children attend child consultation session
  • The Mediator will contact the parents to confirm time to meet with the Child Consultant to hear feedback in respect of their children
  • Parents attend feedback appointment together with Mediator. A further mediation session is arranged for one week after.
  • Note: There is no guarantee that CIP will commence or continue at any stage. Practitioners reserve the right to terminate the process at anytime.


Child Consultation

The Child Consultant will meet with your child in a friendly environment that feels safe and encourages expression. The consultant will discuss confidentiality, explain their role and the purpose of the session.

During the one hour session, the child consultant will use a variety of age appropriate toys, stories, art and other creative materials. The child explores their understanding of the parental separation, impact of living arrangements, things they might like/need or worry about, and other related topics.

The Child Consultant advocates for the children to assist parents to consider the implications when decisions are made.

What qualifications does the Child Consultant have?

Our Child Consultants are trained in assessment and therapeutic work with children and young people experiencing parental separation.

They hold qualifications in the field of psychology, psychotherapy, counselling or social work and will deliver feedback to parents. The Child Consultant is independent of the mediation process and works as a therapist in the Family & Relationship Counselling Team.

Waitara Family Centre
29 Yardley Avenue

P: (02) 9488 2400
E: mediation@catholiccaredbb.org.au
W: www.catholiccaredbb.org.au

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