Child Inclusive Mediation
Amanda Gahan, a volunteer with DCM, tells us about a recent training course that she, and two other members of DCM, completed.
Members of DCM recently attended a hugely informative and enjoyable Child Inclusive Mediation (CIM) course in Dublin, run by The Family Mediation Association (UK). It was well balanced mix of theory, real life experiences, and role plays, which really cemented our learning.
CIM is a process that recognises the ‘Voice of the Child’ and supports the rights of a child to have a say regarding changes that have an affect on them in regard to parental separation. This is in line with the United Nations Convention of the Rights of a Child, which gives all children a right to a voice in all matters affecting them, in accordance with age and maturity.
The aims of CIM are to understand the needs of the child within the separation process and to help to build a healthy co-parenting climate. It provides opportunities for children and young people to have their voices heard, and share their stories directly during the mediation process, helping them to feel empowered, respected and heard. It enables them to share their experiences of family separation and, by offering the parents an opportunity to see the situation through the lens of the child, it can assist parents to make informed decisions when planning for the future of the family, and arrangements for the child.
The process involves the child meeting with a trained CIM mediator, offering them a comfortable, confidential space, where they feel supported and safe. It gives them an opportunity to speak, and also to share, through the mediator, any messages they may wish their parents to hear such as any worries, hopes or wishes they may have for the current situation and the future.
Any feedback requested by the child is given to only the parents by the mediator in a focused session. CIM is a process which can help to improve communication within the family, and encourage informed decision making, potentially transforming outcomes for parents and children.
This training is a first in Ireland and we hope it to be the beginning of a new era for the voice of the child here.