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Child Inclusive Mediation

Ensuring children’s voices are heard and they have an opportunity to have a voice in their future.

Let’s start by talking

What is Child Inclusive Mediation?

Child Inclusive Mediation aims to give children/young people a voice and an opportunity to share their worries and concerns whilst their parents are in mediation without the pressure of feeling responsible for decision making or feeling that they have to take sides.

The process involves a specially trained and accredited family mediator meeting with a child/young person as part of the mediation process. As a service we encourage all children/young people from the age of 10 and above to have their voices heard in an age appropriate way

Why is Child Inclusive Mediation required?

Separation is a time of great uncertainty for children and one where many will value the opportunity to share their worries, concerns and also contribute to the plans for the future. Ultimately, by using the Child Inclusive Mediation process a child’s "voice" is more clearly heard when issues relating them are being discussed by their parents. In short, Child Inclusive Mediation gives children the opportunity to talk about their situation with a neutral person. One of the reasons why this is important is that the child’s opinions are heard when each parent has a different view of what their child may be feeling or saying.

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Children of separating parents may feel they have to take sides, or that they have to say certain things to one parent in order to please the other. This may lead to a child sending out conflicting messages to its parents.

In fact, under the Voice of the Child protocol introduced in 2014 to look at involving children in the family justice system, children aged 10 and over are actively encouraged to have a voice. In Court proceedings this can involve speaking to CAFCASS (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service), speaking to the Judge or writing a letter to the Court.

Child Inclusive Mediation is a confidential and safe space discussion designed to help your children feel heard. Sally agrees with your child/young person what they are happy for Sally to report back to you as parents. As a process this is very different to your child/young person speaking to CAFCASS or to a Court. Nothing discussed in Child Inclusive Mediation should ever be referred to in legal proceedings and no written feedback is provided following any meeting with your child/young person.

Involving children in the process

Sally Clark holds the necessary additional mediation qualification to enable her to speak to your children if you would like them to be involved as part of the process.

As a former mental health nurse experienced in working with young people, and as a mother of two children herself, Sally is very adept in dealing sensitively with children and young adults.

In cases where child inclusive mediation takes place following the initial meeting with parents and obtaining parents’ consent, and also the consent of your child/children, Sally will arrange to meet with your children in one of our dedicated child mediation rooms, at school or another neutral location where your children feel comfortable and feel able to have a confidential discussion. We also offer on-line sessions which in our experience can work well particularly with older children.

Sally then has a feedback meeting with you and the other party with the intention of agreeing a way forward. Remember at all times that Child Inclusive Mediation is a way of enabling your children’s voices to be heard and shared without having to involve them in protracted legal proceedings.

Mother and child sat with backs towards the camera. Mother talking to daughter.

Watch our Child Inclusive Mediation video

Our video offers an insight into the Child Inclusive Mediationand explains in details how the process works.