As part of national ‘Family Mediation Week’, the UK’s most progressive, legally trained mediation firm, ‘Mediation Now’ is continuing its support for children of separating parents by championing Child Consultations, and, in some circumstances, securing government funding so sessions can be free.
‘The Government’s recommendations clearly put children at the heart of the Family Justice System,’ says Claire Webb, Director of Mediation Now. ‘We have long supported the notion that the starting point for discussions regarding suitable child arrangements should be finding out the wishes and feelings of the children themselves.’
After an initial discussion with parents (either together or separately), a Mediator is joined by another to meet with their child or children. The meeting is then carried out in accordance with all safeguarding guidelines (all Mediators are DBS checked) and lasts approximately an hour.
Both Mediators will then attend a feedback meeting with parents to explain, without betraying any confidences, (unless there are safeguarding issues) what was discussed during the child consultation and enter into discussions to facilitate decision-making.
‘We have offered Child Consultation since we founded Mediation Now back in 2007, but now we have made the decision to bring it into our standard service,’ explains Claire.
‘Of course there are cases when a child is reluctant to share his or her opinions for fear of upsetting one parent or another, but in the vast majority of cases the ‘Child Inclusive’ contribution provides valuable insight and understanding that helps parents make decisions more quickly and more amicably.’