child and Family Assessment
When a family experiences parental separation or divorce, it is very difficult for everyone, especially children. Children do best when they have an ongoing meaningful relationship with both parents, and the active involvement of each parent in their daily lives.
While there is the option of proceeding to Family Dispute Resolution and possible legal proceedings in Family Court, not all families want to go down that pathway.
They want to know what is best for their children and their priority and focus is on maintaining healthy and workable relationships with each other, and importantly, being the best parent, they can be for their children. They want to ensure they are available and responsive to their children’s needs at this distressing time.
A Child and Family Assessment is an opportunity for separating parents to get a current ‘map’ of the family and make some plans that specifically focus on relationships and communication. It’s not about collecting evidence, assigning blame or laying the groundwork for proceeding to court. The Child and Family Assessment is suitable for those parents who are genuinely wanting to avoid legal proceedings and try and work towards renegotiated family roles and boundaries.
- Each parent completes an Intake form to help me understand the issues from your perspective.
- Intake Meeting with each parent – 90 minutes
- Exploring the information in the intake form in further detail.
- Getting to know you, your strengths and needs as a co-parent
- Getting to know you, your strengths and needs be a caring and responsive parent for each of your children
- Individual interview with each child / young person – 60 minutes
- Written consent of both parents is needed to proceed to children’s interviews – reflecting the underlying goal of working together as a team, while living separately
- The goal is to get an understanding of what it like for this child, at this time, to be part of their family, and what they need to have healthy relationships with each parent.
- Children will be able to provide information and ask that specific details are kept private and confidential.
- Feedback Session with both parents – 90 minutes
- Providing parents information about how the children are experiencing their family, while providing the children with confidentiality and privacy about specifics
- Feedback to the parents is given as information about their experiences of feeling safe and secure, their experience of how they feel about how they can seek comfort and delight with each parent, and what it is like for them as their parent’s parental responsiveness, and experience of parental conflict.
- Providing information about child development and family relationships that can help parents understand their child’s unique needs in each of their relationship
- Facilitating an understanding of what would be of greatest help now –
- Learning to communicate more effectively as co-parents while you respect each other’s individual lives (Parent coordination/facilitation)
- Learning to communicate with and repair relationship issues with your children (relationship counselling)
I am unable to provide a Section 60i certificate.
If you are seeking Family Dispute Resolution with a view towards making an application for Parenting Orders in Court, you will need to see an Accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner. The Family Dispute Resolution Register can be found at https://www.fdrr.ag.gov.au.
Dear Mum and Dad, I’m just a kid, so please…
- Do not talk badly about my other parent. (This makes me feel torn apart! It also makes me feel bad about myself!)
- Do not talk about my other parent’s friends or relatives. (Let me care for someone even if you don’t.)
- Do not talk about the divorce or other grown-up stuff. (This makes me feel sick. Please leave me out of it!)
- Do not talk about money or child support. (This makes me feel guilty or like I’m a possession instead of your kid.)
- Do not make me feel bad when I enjoy my time with my other parent. (This makes me afraid to tell you things.)
- Do not lock my visits or prevent me from speaking to my other parent on the phone. (This makes me very upset.)
- Do not interrupt my time with my other parent by calling too much or by planning my activities during our time together.
- Do not argue in front of me or on the phone when I can hear you! (This just turns my stomach inside out!)
- Do not ask me to spy for you when I am at my other parent’s home. (This makes me feel disloyal and dishonest.)
- Do not ask me to keep secrets from my other parent. (Secrets make me feel anxious.).
- Do not ask questions about my other parent’s life or about our time together. (This makes me uncomfortable. So just let me tell you.)
- Do not give me verbal messages to deliver to my other parent. (I end up feeling anxious about their reaction. So please just call then, leave them a message at work or put a note in the mail.)
- Do not send written messages with me or place them in my bag. (This also makes me uncomfortable.)
- So not blame my other parent for the divorce or for things that go wrong in your life. (This really feels terrible! I end up wanting to defend them from your attack. Sometimes it makes me feel sorry for you and that makes me want to protect you. I just want to be a kid, so please, please….stop putting me in the middle.)
- Do not treat me like an adult, it causes way too much stress for me. (Please find a friend or therapist to talk with.)
- Do not ignore my other parent or sit on opposite sides of the room during my school or sports activities. (This makes me very sad and embarrassed. Please act like parents and be friendly, even if it is just for me.)
- Do let me take items to my other home as long as I can carry them back and forth. (Otherwise it feels like you are treating me like a possession.)
- Do not use guilt to pressure me to love you more and do not ask where I want to live.
- Do realize that I have two homes, not just one. (It doesn’t matter how much time I spend there.)
- Do let me love both of you and see each of you as much as possible! Be flexible even when it is not part of our regular schedule.
Thanks, your loving child