Exploring the promises and possibilities for children’s participation in family relationship centres
Graham A & Fitzgerald, RM 2010, 'Exploring the promises and possibilities for children’s participation in family relationship centres', Family Matters, vol. 84, pp. 53-60.
This paper reports some key findings from a recent study that explored how children’s participation is understood and facilitated in one Family Relationship Centre (FRC). These findings point to the central importance of recognition and respect for children in post-separation decision-making processes; supporting and developing the achievements of FRCs in promoting the wellbeing of children through their participation; addressing ambiguities in the way children’s participation is described and practised in family dispute resolution; attending to the tentative relationship between the protection of children and their participation in post-separation decision-making; and continuing to refine procedures and processes around child consultations, given the value placed on these by children and parents. These findings also signal the need for further research and evaluation that closely examines the meaning, purpose and processes associated with children’s participation in family dispute resolution processes.