Child inclusion as a principle and as evidence-based practice: Applications to family law services and related sectors

Children Law Families Australia

The growth of child-inclusive family law dispute resolution in Australia represents a response to empirical and clinical evidence about its efficacy in the treatment of post-separation parental conflict. At the level of social justice, the approach represents a strategic extension of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, giving children the right to present their wishes in family law proceedings about them, and to have those experiences thoughtfully considered by their parents and the dispute resolution practitioners involved. The child-inclusive genre embraces the psychology of family transition and the paramount need to assist warring parents to refocus on and plan for the needs of their children post-separation. The work combines developmental consultation within a therapeutic mediation process, occurring either within court or community-based services. It is a process that ultimately seeks to refocus on the best interests of the child beyond legislative mantra, through higher levels of engagement of their parents' capacity to think and plan more cooperatively about them.

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