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Directly Involving Children

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Synopsis:

Direct consultation with children involves a family mediator, who is trained as a child consultant, talking with a child or children as part of the mediation process.

During the course of mediation, it may be suggested by the mediator or the parents, or indeed, a child may ask to be involved in the mediation process.  It is important that parents understand the views, needs and desires of their children and involving them in direct consultation may be the appropriate way forward.  Children like to be informed and they appreciate having options identified for them and their views heard but not to be responsible for the overall decision.

Involving children in mediation can be very complex and a great deal of preparation is needed before a mediator speaks to a child.  Different considerations apply according to the age and maturity of the child.  It is only possible with the consent of both parents and the child or children in question and where the mediator feels it is appropriate taking into account all the circumstances.

Direct consultation means the child will talk face to face with a mediator separately and in complete confidentiality from anyone else including the parents (subject of course to the usual safeguarding exceptions).  The mediator may be the same mediator who is dealing with the parents or a separate mediator.  In many cases, children wish some of their views to be fed back into the decision-making process for the parents and this will be facilitated with the child's permission.

These consultations last approximately 45 minutes.  Children should generally be aged 10 or over but younger children may be seen in exceptional circumstances.

 

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