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e-Newsletter - August Edition

Hello <<First Name>>,

What a rich and full few months we've had here at ChildrenBeyondDispute, between conference travels, conversations with multiple groups and individuals, new writing, and further website development. We continue to learn how valuable the online platform is in supporting family law professionals, and to feel grateful that our programs and resources are now reaching parents and practitioners around the world.  

We hope you enjoy this e-Newsletter update. Keep in touch with us via the website or on Facebook for monthly updates.

The ChildrenBeyondDispute team 

Main Features

Child Inclusive Mediation & Counselling:
Interfaces with Collaborative Law, Parenting Coordination, by Jenn McIntosh

This month, I gave a talk to the Victorian Association of Collaborative Professionals in Melbourne. I presented current research on the complex relationships between divorce and conflict exposures in childhood, and life-course outcomes, and emphasized the place for timely intervention in supporting parental focus and responsive co-parenting. We focused on the potential for child inclusive methodologies to achieve this.

There are many ways forward for Collaborative practitioners to incorporate this way of working within their rubrics of practice, as with Parent Coordinators in the USA. Key to it all is remaining child focused, and responsive to the unique needs of each case, rather than attempting to fit the family into a pre-determined model of practice. The latter is something legal and helping systems do when they are process driven. Many collaborative practices were grown in the shadow or the light of the law, whichever way you choose to look at it. What children do, remarkably well, is to remind us when and why a re-focus on the process of parenting is essential, above the details of the parenting time plan.

I talked with the Collaborative group about the power of Child Inclusive approaches to motivate parents to remain cooperative co-pilots in their children’s lives. Carefully managed input by the child specialist about the individual child’s experiences of their parents’ co-piloting capabilities, together with the apparent and likely real developmental consequences of these can be deeply motivating for parents. It is a balance, to juggle the agendas, inputs and costs of the multi-disciplinary team involved in many collaborative law interventions. When collaborative lawyers also understand the power of child inclusive work, both mediation agenda and parenting agreements can more readily shift toward a developmentally grounded set of decisions, about the steps parents agree and commit to take, to enable the healthiest adjustment possible for their children, to their separated family life, in the context of their circumstances.

Child Inclusive Mediation & Counselling:
International Feedback on the Online Training 

We have been encouraged and humbled by the extensive international interest shown over the past few months in the online Child Inclusive Mediation & Counselling (CIMC) training options. Many organisations recently took up the group purchase offer, choosing to train a number of mediators and child practitioners at the same time. Some have also invited Prof. McIntosh to visit with their group, for a follow up day of consolidation training, and/or engaged in a regular Skype group supervision arrangement. This seems to give the best of both worlds – the chance to ask questions and to discuss application of the child inclusive principles to complex cases.

We continue to receive great feedback about the online program's content, delivery, and accessibility from a variety of practitioners ranging from family dispute resolution practitioners to psychologists. Our featured testimonial this month is from Bruce Berman, licensed psychologist and parent coordinator in New York, who travelled to Australia to completed a CIMC master class with Jenn, as well completing the online training program. 

"This online course gives mental health professionals and mediators considering doing child-inclusive work a thorough grounding in the principles and techniques involved in this process. Quite comprehensive both in the breadth and depth it covers regarding the different aspects of child inclusive mediation, the course material is well produced and very clearly presented in formats that support learning and mastery."
Read more of Bruce's detailed evaluation of the CIMC online program here, along with testimonials from other practitioners.

If you would like to add your feedback on the Child Inclusive Mediation & Counselling training programs, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Email them through to us at

Other News

Young Children in Divorce and Separation (YCIDS) – Research News

In 2012, we completed a pilot study of the first iteration of the Young Children in Divorce and Separation (YCIDS) education package for parents. This was a small random allocation study, conducted in five mediation services with CatholicCare, in New South Wales. You can read about the first study in our YCIDS brief conference presentation. The empirical paper is currently under review.

To give a spoiler alert on the findings, the YCIDS intervention was associated with a number of short term benefits for participating parents. However, it proved to be quite a tricky intervention to deliver, requiring a great deal of developmental knowledge from both child and mediation practitioners, and a lot of coordination between them.

One of the upshots of that study was the creation of another way to provide the content, through the YCIDS online program. This is a 90-minute presentation, narrated by Professor McIntosh, that parents can each view and complete on their own, prior to a joint mediation session. This application of YCIDS is now being studied by Relationships Australia, New South Wales.  Data collection for the control group (mediation as usual) is underway, and the YCIDS intervention will soon be rolled out too. RANSW will publish their findings independently, in 2017. An interesting space to watch! - Gold Sponsor for AFCC 53rd Annual Conference, Seattle.

ChildrenBeyondDispute was a Gold Sponsor for the Association of Family and Conciliation Court's 53rd Annual Conference in Washington. The conference theme was "Modern Families: New Challenges, New Solutions". 

Jenn presented a workshop describing the international and legal contexts in which child-informed mediation is occurring, and current research into its efficacy. Five advanced clinical strategies for working powerfully and supportively with children and parents in child informed mediation settings were shared.

Thank you to everyone who attended Jenn's workshop and visited us at our booth. It was a good few days of knowledge sharing and learning with like-minded professionals.  Jenn's presentation will be available later this year, on the website. 

Forthcoming Presentations by Prof. McIntosh

August: Jenn is the invited Keynote speaker at the 10-year anniversary of celebrations of the Family Relationship Centres in Darwin, Australia. 

September: Jenn is delivering the Keynote speech at the Early Life Foundations Annual Conference in Melbourne, Australia. Families separated, and in conflict - through the eyes of a child.  The talk will provide insights into the complexities for children of living in family conflict and separation, the range of challenges these children carry with them into the learning environment, and opportunities for teachers in accompanying the child through the separation journey.
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Alphington, Victoria, 3078, Australia

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