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Child-focused FDR and Child-inclusive FDR

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FDR is a kind of mediation that helps families who are separating to come to their own agreements in relation to the care of their children. During FDR, families will talk about the problems with respect to their children and will be encouraged to think about different options with the help of a neutral and accredited FDR practitioner. The main goal of FDR is to help families make a plan for their children’s future.

Child-focused FDR is when the parents mediate with a focus on how their agreements will affect their children. The FDR practitioner will help the parents understand how their separation and disputes can harm their children in the short and long term. The FDR practitioner is not neutral when it comes to advocating for the interests of the children. Child-focused FDR has some goals:

  • To help parents think about their children’s unique needs
  • To create a parenting agreement that supports the children and their relationships with their parents
  • To help parents leave the dispute resolution in a good place with respect to their post-separation parenting
  • To ensure that the ongoing mediation or agreements reflect the psycho-developmental needs of each child

Child-inclusive FDR is often described as “finding the child’s voice in the presence of the child.” It is similar to child-focused FDR but also involves a child specialist talking to the child and assessing their experience of the separation and their relationship with each parent. Two professionals are involved: the FDR practitioner and a specially trained child consultant. Child-inclusive FDR has some goals:

  • To talk to the children about their experiences in a supportive and developmentally appropriate manner
  • To understand and validate the children’s experiences
  • To form a strategic therapeutic loop back to the parents by considering the essence of their children’s experiences
  • To ensure that the ongoing mediation or agreements reflect the psycho-developmental needs of each child

FDR is important for helping families come to their own agreements and making sure that the children’s needs are taken into account.