Child Inclusive Mediation

Edward Cooke is qualified to meet with children in the mediation process.

Child-Inclusive Mediation (or “Direct Child Consultation”) is a process where a mediator meets with a child. Its aim is to ensure the child’s "voice" is heard when issues relating them are being discussed by their parents.

It can be particularly important that a child’s voice is heard when each parent has a different view of what their child may be feeling or saying.

It is not uncommon for a child whose parents are separating to feel they have to take sides, or that they have to say certain things to one parent in order to please the other. This can lead to a child sending out conflicting messages to its parents.

Child Inclusive Mediation gives children the opportunity to talk about their situation with a neutral person.

At Edward Cooke Family Mediation, we offer Child Inclusive Mediation in a number of situations:

  • When we are mediating between a couple upon divorce or separation. A 2015 report commissioned by the Ministry of Justice on the Voice of the Child recommended that all children of 10 or over should have the opportunity to meet the mediator. In exceptional circumstances, younger children may be seen.
  • If you are in mediation elsewhere but your mediator does not offer this service, we are able to offer the facility to meet your children.
  • Where there are no court proceedings but you feel that your child should be heard - for example in negotiation between solicitors or in the collaborative process, or
  • Where there are court proceedings, child inclusive mediation can be used where you would like some indication of your child’s wishes and feelings without the involvement of CAFCASS. Court proceedings can be put in hold to enable mediation to take place, and for the children to be seen far more quickly than would normally be the case with CAFCASS

The process

Before meeting with your child or children, we would meet with you first, as their parents, to discuss whether the process would be appropriate.

Assuming that both parents agree to the process moving forward, we will invite your child or children to meet with us. At the first meeting, we will discuss carefully how this invitation is to be extended and the mechanics of setting up the meeting with your child or children. You will sign an Agreement for Direct Consultation.

As our child mediator, Edward Cooke has an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check and is always accompanied in the meeting by a female member of staff.

At the meeting with your child or children, Edward will provide a safe and open space for them to talk about how they are feeling. The fundamental rule in Child Inclusive Mediation is that the mediator only feeds back to the parents what the child or children agree should be reported. It is therefore a respectful and child-focused process. The central purpose of the process is to ensure the child’s voice has the opportunity to be heard.

After the meeting, Edward arranges to meet with the child or children’s parents to report back on the child’s wishes and feelings, and any key messages the child or children have asked be fed back to the parents.

This feedback is given to help parents reach agreement over any issues relating to their children.

Edward makes clear to the children in meeting with them that the final decision-making responsibility rests with the parents and that, whilst the children’s wishes will be taken into account, they do not have to make the decisions.

For further information about Child Inclusive Mediation, or to book an initial Mediation appointment, please contact Edward Cooke Family Mediation on 01243 769001.

Get in touch

We are here to help.

We offer meetings in our offices or online to suit you. To make an initial appointment please click here and complete the contact form, or if you would rather speak to a member of our friendly team directly please call 01243 769001.

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