The need to involve children in decisions that effect their lives and well being has long been established in law both nationally and internationally(see for example, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989; The Children Act 1989). Numerous examples of research conducted with children and young people over the last 40 years have demonstrated not only the fact that children wish to have their voices heard and their views considered, but that they can have a real ability to demonstrate and exercise their own autonomy in matters which are important to them. On the one hand mediation, as a participatory process that supports good communication, provides an excellent opportunity for children's voices to be heard in all sorts of contexts whether it is within the family, or in education or health settings. On the other there can be concerns about placing undue responsibility on children for decisions that belong with adults. Getting the balance right is challenging and something still to be worked on. However, recent thinking in the UK, following on from the Family Justice Review in 2012 and the Children and Families Act 2014 suggest that the voices of children and young people need to be heard more widely across the whole of the Family Justice arena. In response to the recommendations of the Child Advisory Group the Family Mediation Council set up a working group and following on from that has adopted a fresh child focus within family mediation and introduced further requirements for training mediators in child inclusive practice.
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The FMC's new requirements for all registered mediators regarding child-inclusive mediation (CIM) came into force on 1 September 2018. The FMC Code of Practice states that
“All children and young people aged 10 and above should be offered the opportunity to have their voices heard directly during the Mediation, if they wish.”
The FMC Code now requires all mediators, whether or not they offer direct meetings with children, to explain to parents and carers that children and young people aged 10 and above have the right to be offered this opportunity.
The new requirements have implications for all family mediators whether or not they have previously trained to meet directly with children in mediation (DCC). For accredited mediators who have already attended DCC training it is necessary to attend a CIM Update Day to understand these new changes. For newly trained mediators or those who have not participated in DCC training in the past it is necessary to attend a CIM Awareness Day to understand the benefits reported by children and parents, different ways of arranging meetings and encouraging parents to consider CIM for their children. The Awareness Day is also a prerequisite to attending the full CIM training.
The FMC have also implemented changes to the full CIM training programme that enables mediators to meet with children directly. These programmes must now consist of 3 days taught days with additional reading and assignments, and the course is assessed.
Training providers offering these CIM courses must be approved by the FMC – and proudly, LADR was the first training provider to obtain that approval in 2018!
I am offering all of these training programmes in partnerhsip with Lisa Parkinson and you will find details below. Both Lisa and Lesley were part of the working group (convened by Lisa) that made recommendations about CIM practice and training to the FMC. As Chair of the College of Mediators' Practice Standards Committee, Lesley then continued to develop these standards in the light of new policy and recommendations. Lisa has developed policy, practice and training in child-inclusive mediation over the last 35 years and has provided training in this field for COM, FMA, NFM and Resolution members and for qualified family mediators in other countries.
CIM Update Days: 29th March in Exeter and 11th April in Manchester Cost £175
The day includes:
CIM Awareness Days: 28th March in Exeter and 10th April in Birmingham Cost £175
The day includes:
The day will include opportunities for discussion, small group work and role play.
Applicants must hold FMC accreditation and recognition for child-inclusive mediation.
CIM Training: 16th and 17th April, Birmingham with a follow up day in September
Costs: Days 1 and 2 - £400 Day 3 - £175
The three days will cover:
Day 1: Explaining CIM and Engaging Parents and Children
Day 2: Conversations with Children and Young People
Day 3: Reflections on Practice and Working with Dilemmas
For more detailed information please ask for our flyer and a booking form.
Watch out for further dates for all these training programmes in the early summer and autumn!
mediation, training and practice consultancy
Lesley Allport Dispute Resolution