Child Inclusive Mediation
Child Inclusive Mediation requests are on the increase. The approach of summer has marked a surge of new referrals from families struggling to find ways to make arrangements for the children following divorce and family separation.
Can Children be part of Mediation Sessions?
In recent weeks, we have also had several enquiries about whether children can be involved in a mediation process. The simple answer is “yes”, but as with life especially family dynamics, matters are not that simple!
I set out below some information which may be of help. This is general information and if you have any questions specific to your circumstances then please do not hesitate to contact us. We will do our best to assist you.
What is CIM/DCC?
Child Inclusive Mediation (CIM) as it is referred to now, used to be called Direct Child consultation (DCC) and has also been referred to as “the Voice of the Child”. Mediators have to be specially trained to undertake this type of work with families.
What’s involved in CIM?
Although there is the presumption that a child who has reached the age of 10 years should have some involvement with the arrangements that are made for them.
Not all cases are appropriate for the involvement of children. Parents at first hand are reminded that it is their responsibility to make arrangements which are in the best interests of their children.
CIM is not a way to involve the children and expect them to take responsibility or dictate what happens.
CIM is there as a process to enable the parents/carers to have a better understanding of the wishes and feelings of their child/ren so they CAN go on to make the best decisions they can for their separated family, in a fully informed manner.
The Mediator discusses at length with both parents, seeking CIM, what they are hoping to understand from their child/ren out of the CIM meeting.
Parents are required to give their explicit parental consent before proceeding, once the Mediator has explained the benefits and any potential drawbacks that might arise in their particular circumstances.
If a CIM is deemed suitable (the Mediator has the final say) it is still necessary for the child/ren to be “invited” to join in. The child/ren have the option of saying yes or no to participating in a CIM at any stage, and that will be final.
What is the Mediators role in CIM?
A Mediator will not force anyone to participate in a process if they are “unwilling” to do so. Feedback expressly permitted by the children is provided to the parents orally by the Mediator(s), (except where safeguarding issues come into play)
The way in which CIM Mediations are undertaken may differ between services. At Midlands Dove we have developed a particular format of Co-Mediation, as a direct result of our experiences over the years.
We have discussed CIM with many parents, helping them to decide what would be most beneficial for their children, and helped them find a positive way in dealing with the challenges of change in family structure present initially and over time.
Contact our Mediation Specialists
Midlands Dove has three Mediators, all of whom are accredited with the Family Mediation Council to undertake MIAMS (which stands for – Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings) where we discuss the options with parents (separately) and this extends to the ability to include children (CIM). Our Mediators are also specially trained and experienced in undertaking CIM’s.
If you require any further specific information, in regards to Child Arrangements or Family Mediation, please contact us and speak to one of our friendly Co-Ordinators. They will arrange an Assessment for you if necessary.