Encouraging Excellence in Mediation

The Mediators Conference: The Child's Voice

Date: 27th February 2024
Location: TEAMS

Join the Family Mediation Trust's groundbreaking online conference, where we unravel the legal and moral dimensions of making the child's voice central in family mediation. This transformative event provides actionable insights to enhance your mediation practice; ensuring the child's perspective is at the core of decision making. Engage with professionals; discover innovative approaches; and be part of shaping a more inclusive mediation landscape.

In the first session of our online conference: delve into the legal and moral intricacies surrounding the inclusion of the child's voice in family mediation. Explore the foundations that underpin this vital aspect of the process.

The second session takes a practical turn: offering concrete strategies for mediators to enhance their practice - and ensure the child's voice is not only heard, but central to the decision making journey.

Tickets are
  • £35 Early Bird Discount (Ends on the 1st February)
  • £45 Full Price
THE CENTRE FOR Excellence imageTHE CENTRE FOR Excellence image
Welcome and Introduction

The conference Chair, Michael Mack (CEO of The Family Mediation Trust) will introduce you to the format of the day.

10:35 - 11:00
Family Justice Young People's Board: The Child Perspective

Join us for an insightful presentation featuring the Family Justice Young People's Board (FJYPB). This session will provide an examination of how young individuals perceive the mediation process. FJYPB members will articulate the importance of including children in mediation and share their perspectives on why this involvement is crucial. Gain a nuanced understanding of the FJYPB, emphasising the commitment to a child-centric approach within the family justice system. This presentation offers a valuable opportunity to enhance your knowledge and contribute to a more informed and empathetic practice in family mediation.

11:00 - 11:30
Helen Adam: The Child's Right to Matter

In November 2023, the Family Solutions Group released a thought provoking report that delved into the rights and needs of children. As the Chair of this group, Helen will examine the impact of the report in two stages. Her exploration will encompass an analysis of the government's shortcomings in adequately supporting many children; coupled with an empathetic investigation into children's perspectives on the processes and available support. This report issues a compelling challenge for all of us to reevaluate our approach, and actively contribute to enhancing the well-being of children in our society.

11:30 - 11:45
Claire Molyneux: A Child's Legal Rights

Engage in a thought provoking presentation led by Claire Molyneux - a distinguished family solicitor and Child Law consultant at leading national law firm. Join us as Claire delves into the nuanced legal rights of children within the family mediation arena; placing a particular emphasis on the fundamental human rights of the child. Attend this insightful exploration, guided by Claire's dedication to equipping mediators with the knowledge to navigate the legal landscape and ensure a child-centric approach in family mediation.

11:45 - 12:15
Dr Freda Gardner: Understanding the Child

Immerse yourself in an insightful presentation by Dr. Freda Gardner, BA (Hons), MPhil, PhD, C.Psychol - the Director of Services at Orchard House and a distinguished Consultant Clinical Psychologist. With over 30 years of clinical experience, Dr. Gardner will navigate the complex terrain of representing the child's voice in mediation; with a particular focus on the mental health challenges inherent in this crucial role.

This session will explore the profound impact of domestic abuse on children and shed light on the value of providing them with resources to navigate their parents' separation. Dr. Gardner's expertise extends to court assessments related to childcare; attachment; parenting; and risk assessment - making her insights invaluable for mediators navigating complex cases. Join us for an enriching exploration of the psychological dimensions within family mediation, guided by Dr. Gardner's wealth of experience and dedication to supporting children in challenging circumstances.

12:15 - 12:45
Sarah Parsons: The Child's Voice in Legal Proceedings

CAFCASS will explore innovative methods for capturing the perspectives of children within court processes. Discover how our CAFCASS is dedicated to ensuring the inclusion of children's voices, employing strategies that prioritize their unique experiences and opinions. Learn about the practical steps, ethical considerations, and the positive impact of integrating children's views into the decision-making processes within the legal system. This talk will shed light on CAFCASS's commitment to creating a more child-centric approach in court proceedings, fostering a system that listens and values the voices of the youngest stakeholders.

12:45 - 13:15
Is the Childs Voice Heard in Court? - followed by Pannel Questions Time

Dr Linda Cusworth of Lancaster University will discuss the findings from the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory's report "Uncovering private family law: how often do we hear the voice of the child?" This research reveals that nearly half of children involved in family court proceedings in England and Wales are not formally asked about their feelings on arrangements made, irrespective of age. Despite legislative acknowledgment of children's right to participate, and that there's no consistent process for their input.

Join us for an engaging and insightful question time session featuring esteemed speakers from the morning session of the Child's Voice Conference. Sarah Parsons will delve into "The Child's Voice in Legal Proceedings," while Dr. Freda Gardner offers invaluable insights into "Understanding the Child." Claire Molyneux will explore "A Child's Legal Rights," and Helen Adam will discuss "The Child's Right to Matter."

Don't miss this opportunity to gain further understanding and interact with experts in the field, by asking the questions you have from our leading experts.

13:45 - 16:20
Putting CIM into Mediation Practice

A distinguished panel consisting of four leading mediators and PPC will thoroughly examine a series of challenging questions, aiming to showcase their individual approaches to managing cases while ensuring the child's voice remains central to decision-making.

The panel includes:

Jane Bridge: Internal PPC for the Family Mediation Trust
Adrian Wright: PPC and CIM trainer
Carlie Norris: Mediator and co-author of "A CHILD’S RIGHT TO MATTER" report
Dr. Lesley Allport: PPC CIM trainer and member of the FMC Standards Board

The questions will encompass various family dynamics, exploring topics such as obtaining consent, managing child sessions, adapting processes for different age groups of children, and effectively incorporating feedback to impact the mediation process positively.

These discussions are interactive, providing a platform for comprehensive exploration and insights.

16:20 - 16:30
Michael Mack: Concluding Thoughts

The timings and presentations may be adjusted in advance of the conference.

Family Justice Young People's Board

This is the Voice of the Child!

A representative from the Family Justice Young People's Board will offer an opening perspective from the child's point of view.

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Sarah Parsons

The Childs Voice in Legal Proceedings

Cafcass Principal Social Worker and Assistant Director

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Helen Adam

The Child's Right to Matter

Chair of Family Solutions Group introduces the Family Solutions Group report findings.

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Dr Freda Gardner

Understanding the Child

Dr. Freda Gardner, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, specializes in children's responses to separation.

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Claire Molyneux

A Child's Legal Rights

Claire is a Child Law consultant for a national law firm, WTA for the Family Mediation trust as well as a Parenting Coordinator.

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Jane Bridge

Afternoon Panel Member

The Family Mediation Trust internal Professional Practice Consultant and Mediator.

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Adrian Wright

Afternoon Panel Member

Hugley experienced Professional Practice Consultant and CIM Trainer.

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Carlie Norris

Afternoon Panel Member

Accredited mediator and coauthor of "A CHILD’S RIGHT TO MATTER" report.

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Dr Lesley Allport

Afternoon Panel Member

Lesley is one of the country's leading mediators, Professional Practice Consultants and CIM trainers and sits of the FMC Standards Board.

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Michael Mack JP

Conference Chair

CEO of The Family Mediation Trust and Lay Member of the Family Mediation Councils Standards Board.

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Dr. Linda Cusworth

The Child's Voice in Court Proceedings

Uncovering private family law: how often do we hear the voice of the child?

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Sorry, registration has ended.

Mark your calendar for the groundbreaking online conference hosted by the Family Mediation Trust on 27th February 2024, from 10:30 to 16:30. Dr. Freda Gardener from the Family Justice Young People's Board will be the guest speaker. Expert panelists including: Jane Bridge, Adrian Wright, Lesley Allport, and Carlie Norris - will delve into real life case studies, exploring the legal and moral dimensions of placing the child's voice at the center of family mediation.Read More

  • Date: 27/02/2024 10:30 - 27/02/2024 16:30
  • Location Online Event

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Past Events

C for E Conference 26 May 2021Online Event

Conference Presentation

The full conference presentation can be found here.

Annual Research Review:

Interparental conflict and youth psychopathology: an evidence review and practice focused update

Course Content

The Course includes

1 Sections

2 Lessons

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