Child Inclusive Mediation

Child inclusive mediation is a form of mediation where a professional (usually someone like myself with a mental health background) interviews the child or children of the parents seeking mediation. The purpose of this is to bring the child's voice into the mediation process, helping the parents in their decision making regarding parenting issues. 

When I take the role of "child specialist," I will usually speak with the parents first to introduce myself, then meet with the children (together at first and then individually), and finally meet with the parents and their mediator. I will usually be present at one or two mediation sessions, depending on the situation.

The inclusion of children's voices in the mediation process is a relatively new practice, but one that has robust research supporting it. Child inclusive mediation has been primarily developed by Dr. Jenn McIntosh of Australia. Following are links to her research showing the short and long-term positive effects of child inclusive mediation.

Children Beyond Dispute. A four year follow up study of outcomes from Child Focused and Child Inclusive post-separation family dispute resolution. Report to the Australian Government Attorney General’s Department, Canberra. McIntosh, J. and Long,C. (2009)
http://www.ag.gov.au/Families/Familylawpublications/Pages/ChildrenbeyonddisputeApril2009.aspx

Children's Cases Pilot Project: An exploratory study of impacts on parenting capacity and child well-being. Final Report to the Family Court of Australia. McIntosh, J. E. (2006)
http://www.familycourt.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/FCOA/home/about/publications/Papers/Papers+and+Reports/FCOA_pr_Childrens_Cases_Pilot_Project

Children beyond dispute: A prospective study of outcomes from child focused and child inclusive post-separation family dispute resolution. Final report. The Australian Government Attorney General’s Department, Canberra. McIntosh,J. E. & Long, C. M. (2006)http://www.ag.gov.au/Publications/Pages/ChildrenBeyondDisputeOctober2006.aspx


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