In July 2014 the Right Honourable Simon Hughes MP and Minister of State for Justice and Civil Liberties stated:
“It cannot be right that any parents can mediate an agreement affecting their child or children…..in the absence of the children’s voice being heard.”
From there the government commissioned a report known as the Voice of the Child Report. Many recommendations were made, and subsequently adopted, suggesting children should have the opportunity to be heard in any discussions concerning arrangements which involve them. In particular such opportunities should be afforded to children in the mediation process.
At Crowther Mediation, whilst we welcome this opportunity for children, we take this responsibility very seriously. Consulting directly with children in the mediation process can be extremely daunting for both parents and children alike. We want to reassure parents that our aim is to obtain your child’s wishes and feeling for their future in a way that is appropriate to their age and understanding.
Discussions with children shall remain confidential (with exceptions), giving children the freedom they need to discuss the matters that concern them the most. Our trained professionals will then aim to help children share their thoughts and concerns with their parents via the mediation process.
Whilst our mediators are trained to consult directly with children, we believe in going the extra mile to provide our clients with the best possible service. When it comes to children, why would we do anything else? With this in mind, parents have the option to involve a family psychologist from the White Rose Psychology Practice, who have extensive knowledge and experience of dealing with children and families.
Working closely with Crowther Mediation, a family psychologist is able to provide a unique insight into the thoughts of children, enabling our mediators to help parents develop long lasting solutions to benefit the whole family.
The family psychologist is also able to provide a report which could then be used in any subsequent court proceedings, which means children don’t have to keep meeting new professionals and repeating the process, in the event matters are not agreed at mediation.
Crowther Mediation is committed to getting this process right for children. We want to obtain their views in the most appropriate way and empower them to share those views with their parents. We also want to be able to provide ongoing care and support for the children and their whole family, if necessary.
The child inclusive mediation process at Crowther Mediation involves each parent attending an individual initial assessment meeting (MIAM), followed by a first joint mediation session in which the issues are identified. If all parties (including the mediator) believe it would be appropriate for the child/children to be heard in the process, then arrangements will be made for the child/children to meet with the mediator and the psychologist, without their parents present.
The psychologist will then prepare a report based on child’s wishes and feelings and the mediator will feed this back to the parents at a further mediation session (usually the following day).
On-line Direct consultation with child/children – £200 + VAT
On-line Direct consultation with child/children with family psychologist and report – £500 + VAT
These costs are to be shared equally between parents. Each parent will then be responsible for their own subsequent mediation fees prior to the child consultation and the subsequent feed back session to discuss the outcome of the child consultation.