Who is Family Mediation NI?
FMNI is a registered charity which provides its mediation services directly to families in dispute which includes separated parents, children, step siblings and the extended family. FMNI provides information and training to other professionals and accepts self-referrers and referrals from a range of sources within the voluntary, community and statutory sectors. FMNI is the approved trainer of family mediators in NI. FMNI delivers its services through a team of professional mediators in venues across NI and via online means.
What is Family Mediation? Family Mediation’s mission is to ensure that the UNCRC is the focus of all mediation that includes children; Article 9 (Separation From Parents) “Children must not be separated from their parents against their will unless it is in their best interests (for example, if a parent is hurting or neglecting a child). Children whose parents have separated have the right to stay in contact with both parents, unless this could cause them harm.” (UNCRC) “The UNCRC provides for the right to maintain regular contact and relationship with both parents save where it is not in the child’s best interests. Family mediation is one of the important routes to realising that right through a facilitated and collaborative process which involves and takes account of the child’s needs and wishes.” (Les Allamby, Chief Commissioner NIHRC) Family Mediation offers a constructive way to resolve conflict and avoid entry into the court system. Evidence shows that conflict between parents who are separating can have long term negative effects on children’s health and well-being and their outcomes. Conflict between separated parents also has a debilitating impact on their ability to parent effectively during the separation process itself and on a continued basis into the future. Mediators seek to empower parents to manage conflict by engaging with the process.
The process is based on voluntary participation. Specialist family mediators work with families to facilitate a structured approach to dialogue. This enables negotiation to help manage conflict and to focus on the needs of the child. Protecting the rights of children and young people and enabling parents to agree the best outcomes for their children at the time of separation are essential to child development. FMNI’s facilitative model which supports families who are estranged, separated or divorcing, provides a positive approach to conflict management within families. It empowers parents to maintain their responsibility and commitment, emotionally and practically, as they parent apart. A mediated agreement reached between both parents (and with children involved, where appropriate) is designed to: • Improve parent knowledge and skills for effective co-parenting • Enhance parental well-being and reduce stress • Empower parents to be the decision makers • Reduce the potential of parent alienation due to separation • Improve children well-being, reducing stress and anxiety related to parental separation • Improve the likelihood of engaged co-parenting on a continued basis • Reduce potential Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) • Negate the need for entry into adversarial processes.
For further information go to www.familymediationni.org.uk