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Experience Qualified Pathway to NMAS Accreditation

Experience Qualified Pathways

There are two experience qualified pathways for people who are working as unaccredited mediators who wish to become accredited.

  • Experience, education and assessment.
  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) knowledge, experience and assessment.

Both Pathways require an assessment of competence which is generally conducted through a Video Mediation role play by Mediation Institute.

Cost for the assessment is $550 but please contact us before purchasing to make sure that your evidence of experience and competence is acceptable.

Alternatives

 

Experience, education and assessment

 

  1. You must provide us with evidence that you have conducted at least 100 hours of mediation within the two years prior to your application. Proof may take the form of a log book and CV or a letter from an employer.

    We don’t require confidential information about clients just dates and type of mediation.

  2. Two references from people who can state that you are a competent mediator 
  3. You will have to show that you have completed mediator training, supervision or education to our satisfaction in the previous two years. Generally this would be at least 25 hours of mediation training, supervision or professional development.
  4. You will have to demonstrate competence in an assessment  

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse knowledge, experience and assessment

  1. You must provide us with evidence that you possess appropriate  mediation experience and knowledge of the unique values and  traditions within the culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) community with which you identify
  2. Two references from people who can state that you are a competent mediator
  3. You will have to demonstrate competence in an assessment  

What is Family Group Conferencing?

What is Family Group Conferencing?

What is family group conferencing?

It is a family led decision-making process about the care and protection of a vulnerable family member.

Often it is used in situations where child protection is involved with a family due to concerns about child abuse or neglect but the methodology can be used in many contexts such as if a child is out of control and coming to the attention of juvenile justice or if parents are unable to care for children themselves due to substance abuse issues, mental health, disability or other challenges they are facing. It can be used during relationship breakups in non-nuclear family groups and in the context of elder care arrangements decision making.

Is it mediation?

Not really although it is a form of alternative dispute resolution. 

While mediation is much less formal and structured than court processes it has a structure that is more focused on the mediator managing the process and moving the discussion forward in quite a structured way. In most cases only the key people are at the table in mediation.

In the case of family group conferencing everyone from the family and community who may be able to assist is at the table and ideally only one representative of “the authorities”.  This prevents the power imbalance that family members usually experience when child protection, juvenile justice or other government department are involved with the family and call a meeting that is not facilitated by a Family Group Conference Facilitator.

Under legislation authorities may have the power to remove the child, put them into juvenile detention or have already removed the child from the family home and the family is trying to get them back into stable care with the family. This creates a situation where family may be feeling very frightened and powerless. There may be shame and embarrassment meaning that family members who could help don’t know how bad the situation is.

The process of family group conferencing seeks to overcome these issues. 

Family Group Conferencing is based on the realisation that it takes a villiage to raise a child and supports the formation of a village of care for the child or other vulnerable family member with an understanding of the issues and reality testing of plans based on knowledge about the situation provided by the professionals who are involved.

Family Group Conferencing works on the principle that it takes a village to raise a child which got lost in the industrial revolution and the ongoing breakdown of extended families in some cultures.

The concept of a nuclear family (mum, dad and children) is something that was supported by most legislation over the last century as being the structure of a family however there is starting to be a realisation that this is not a protective model when there are family problems.

The trend towards the requirement for Family Group Conferencing in child protection and other relevant legislation is starting to recognise that marginalising the extended family and caring community members is bad policy and an ineffective approach to child protection. 

 

Training opportunities

Mediation Institute sees great potential in this model beyond the child protection area and are committed to training and supporting family group conference facilitators who can provide the level of facilitation needed for the model to achieve it’s potential.

Find out more about training to become a Family Group Conference Facilitator with Mediation Institute.

Most of Mediation Institute’s training is delivered through online learning and live video meeting role plays but not our Family Group Conference Facilitator Training because a core skill for a FGC Facilitator is to manage a room full of people.

Theory is delivered through online learning and then there is a 2 day workshop.

 

extended family

Family Group Conferencing orginated in New Zealand and has spread to many countries other than Australia.

According to the Guardian in the UK 70% of local Authorities in England offer Family Group Conference (FGC) service. 

This is a quote from an article published in 2012!

If you haven’t come across it before, an FGC is a very simple, immediate and common sense solution to a range of problems, most commonly used to safeguard children.

Rather than facing a lonely battle, parents, their parents, wider family, friends and most importantly, the child or children come together to make a joint decision about their future.

Instead of visiting austere council buildings, family and professionals come together in a more comfortable, neutral venue. Professionals present the bottom line; often a child will have to enter the care system if a safe plan can’t be agreed.

The article goes on to say that in 2011 89.5% of children referred to one service by Social Services found a safe home within their extended family. Read the article here.

Upcoming Events
Family Group Conference Workshop
Mon 27

Sydney Family Group Conference Facilitation Workshop

27 May @ 8:30 am - 28 May @ 5:00 pm AEST
Tue 28

Online Peer Group Supervision Session

28 May @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm AEST

Reversing another stolen generation

I hope you are aware of the major gaps in equality between Australian Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander people’s and the general population on almost all measures of quality of life, life expectancy, incarceration and removal of children.

Data from the Australian Institute of Family Studies

I say I hope you are aware because awareness is the first step towards the outrage that I would like to think we should all be feeling about what too many of our indigenous brothers and sisters are living with on a daily basis. When we find an issue outrageous and unacceptable change happens.

The issues are many and complex. Taking children from their families and putting them into unstable out of home care is just going to lead to another generation of harm, disadvantage and hurt that their parents are the victims of.

Putting children into kinship care, into overcrowded housing and with inadequate support is also a problem. Without appropriate support the extra burden of caring for what is by now probably a troubled and traumatised child isn’t going to work well for anyone. 

Family Group Conferencing provides the opportunity for family members to come together to understand the situation and to develop a plan that they are in control of and have developed. Not something imposed by a representative of a department who has never walked in their shoes.

 

FGC Resolve Disputes

Join us and train to become a family group conference facilitator.

Help us give families back their power to make decisions about the best way to care for their vulnerable family members.

Protected: Family Group Conference Facilitation Webinar May 2019

This Family Group Conference Facilitation Webinar May 2019 was primarily focused on the higher conflict cases and was facilitated by Eve Clare

Pre-Mediation Coaching

Pre-Mediation Coaching

What is pre-mediation coaching?

Pre-mediation coaching is an approach to help people who may have difficulties using mediation.  Coaching provides assistance for them to develop skills and knowledge that will help them deal with the difficulties associated with crossing the gap between being separated and sorting out parenting and property issues.

The main purpose of pre-mediation coaching is to help build negotiation skills and self-management skills to assist clients to maintain self-determination and avoid being sucked into expensive and wasteful Family Law legal disputes.

What training is available for coaches?

Mediation Institute has two courses available to assist professionals who would like to build their skills as coaches.

The Family Law Options Consultation is a legal information and coaching session for people who want help to develop a family law goal plan.

It makes use of one unit from the CHC81115 – Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution in a highly contextualised course. The unit is CHCFAM001 – Operate within the Family Law Context and teaches how to provide legal information in a contextualised way without providing legal advice.

The other course is New Ways for Families Coach training course which provides skills in helping parents to develop their ability to negotiate. The original program was developed by Bill Eddy from the High Conflict Institute and has been fully adapted to Australia.

Find out more about the Family Law Consultation Training.

Upcoming Events
Family Group Conference Workshop
Mon 27

Sydney Family Group Conference Facilitation Workshop

27 May @ 8:30 am - 28 May @ 5:00 pm AEST
Sydney NSW
Australia
Tue 28

Online Peer Group Supervision Session

28 May @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm AEST
Tue 28

Online Peer Group Supervision Session

28 May @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm AEST

Find out more about the New Ways for Families Coach Training.

New Ways Coach Training

Family Participation Program

Family Participation Program

What is the Queensland Family Participation Program?

The Queensland Government department of Child Safety, Youth and Women has established a Family Participation Program (FPP) to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to participate in Child Protection Decision Making.

The focus of the program is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Families with children and young people under the age of 18 years old.  The program seeks to engage with families where there is a risk of child protection notification and involvement with the family or where there has already been an intervention by the government child protection system.

Family in this context doesn’t just mean mother and father. It includes people who have kinship relationships and also significant people from the child or young persons community.

Part of the Child Protection Reform Amendment Act 2017.

The purpose of the Child Protection Reform Amendment Act 2017 to make changes to the Child Protection Act 1999 to improve outcomes for children, young people and families where the intervention of child protection authorities is needed.

The Supporting Families Changing Futures approach to helping families in difficulties is focused on providing the right services at the right time to support families and keep children safely at home in line with the following vision.

Queensland children and young people are cared for, protected, safe and able to reach their full potential. Queensland families and communities are empowered to become stronger, more capable, more resilient and are supported by a child and family support system that understands and respects the importance of family, community, and culture.

Queensland Governments Vision for its families Tweet

The Family Participation Program is based on the principles that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have the right to self-determination. The implementation of the 5 elements of the Child Placement Principle if they are having difficulty in providing adequate care for their children and young people for whatever reason.

The 5 elements are:

  • Prevention – a child has the right to be brought up within the child’s own family and community.
  • Participation – a child and the child’s parents and family members have the right to participate in an administrative or judicial process for making a significant decision about a child.
  • Partnership – Aboriginal or Torres Strait islander peoples have the right to participate in significant decisions under the Child Protection Act 1999 about Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children, including the design and delivery of programs and services.
  • Placement – if a child is to be placed in care, the child has a right to be placed with a member of the child’s family group.
  • Connection – a child has a right to be supported to develop and maintain a connection with the child’s family, community, culture, traditions and language.
FGC Resolve Disputes
Family Group Conference Facilitator Training

Family Participation Program

The Queensland Government department of Child Safety, Youth and Women has established a Family Participation Program (FPP) to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to participate in Child Protection Decision Making.

Read More »
Source: https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/child-protection-and-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-children

The special focus provided by the Family Protection Policy is necessary due to the extremely poor outcomes that have been experienced by indigenous families in the past.

 
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are over represented in child protection and out-of-home care services compared to non-indigenous children.  In the 2016-2017 Financial Year Indigenous children in QLD were almost 7 times as likely to have substantiated reports of harm or risk made about them.  Source: AIFS
 

Studies show that there are many reasons for this. They include poverty, assimilation policies, intergenerational trauma and discrimination, and forced child removals which have all contributed to the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in care.  The other factor is cultural differences in child-rearing practices and family structure that have confused welfare authorities in the past.

 
Poverty and cultural differences seem to play a significant part in the disparity as the factor that indigenous families who have substantiated neglect or abuse reports against them were lower than non-indigenous families for Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Emotional Abuse and significantly higher for Neglect.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Led Decision Making (ATSIFLDM)

In an effort to implement the reforms to the child protection system and improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Families the Queensland Government has introduced  the facilitation of independent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Led Decision Making (ATSIFLDM) by Family Group Conference Facilitators.

This process is one where a properly trained facilitator works with child protection representatives and the family members to help parents, families and children to work together to solve problems and lead decision-making in a culturally safe space. 

This process was developed in New Zealand with Maori Families and is slowly being adopted by child protection authorities throughout Australia. 

There is great potential for the process not just after child protection have become involved with the family but also before there is a crisis or urgent need in a truly preventative model that will achieve the vision of the government to support families proactively.

Training and Membership Support

Mediation Institute strongly supports this approach and provides training for Family Group Conference Facilitators as independent practitioners and also as employees of indigenous and non-indigenous organisations who work in the area of child and family welfare.

Self-Determination is a basic human right

The stolen generations and colonisation are examples of where the right to self-determination has been compromised for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. The legacy of those government policies are still being felt so the Family Participation Program (FPP) is a welcomed initiative that will hopefully see indigenous families more empowered and able to exercise their right to be involved in decision making regarding how to keep their children and young people safe and connected with family and culture.

Key functions of the Family Participation Program process includes:

 

  • – Assisting families to communicate with the department and understand the Child Safety processes and safety concerns (where needed)
  • – providing support for families to enable them to have a decision making role in decisions that affect them
  • – conducting cultural mapping to ensure that family members who can provide support or cultural connection are part of the process
  • – Facilitating family planning sessions and family led decision making such as Family Group Conferencing.
  • – Linking families to support services that they need to implement and sustain the family development plan
  •  
Aboriginal Flag

Transformative Parenting Mediation

Transformative Parenting Mediation

A Transformative Parenting Mediation Model with Wayne Plenert – 1-Hour Webinar and Video – April 25, 2017

Virtual Mediation Lab, an online mediation project sponsored by ACR Hawaii, and Mediate BC, a not-for-profit organization that leads, promotes and facilitates mediation and other collaborative dispute resolution processes throughout the province of British Columbia, Canada, present: A TRANSFORMATIVE PARENTING MEDIATION MODEL Free Webinar with Wayne Plenert – April 25, 2017 1-Hour Video Recording ABOUT … Continue readingA Transformative Parenting Mediation Model with Wayne Plenert – 1-Hour Webinar and Video – April 25, 2017

Virtual Mediation Lab

ABOUT WAYNE PLENERT

Wayne Plenert is a retired lawyer who mediates, now as a mentor, and who teaches mediation and interpersonal conflict (family dynamics). He obtained his Masters of Law (ADR) in 2002. Since then he has looked for ways in which the theories of ADR can be implemented in practice. Also, he has been active in mediation development in British Columbia. He was president of the BC Mediator Roster Society when it merged as a founding partner of Mediate BC Society. He was very involved in Mediate BC’s Roster Committee, and with efforts at designing and improving ADR programs.

At present, he is leading the “Northern Navigator” project, a pilot family assessment/probable mediation program in the Peace River Provincial Courts of northeastern British Columbia. He enjoys his garden railway, his wife’s garden, a small Anabaptist church in Dawson Creek BC, and he loves the mediation community.

Upcoming Events
Family Group Conference Workshop
Mon 27

Sydney Family Group Conference Facilitation Workshop

27 May @ 8:30 am - 28 May @ 5:00 pm AEST
Sydney NSW
Australia
Tue 28

Online Peer Group Supervision Session

28 May @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm AEST
Tue 28

Online Peer Group Supervision Session

28 May @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm AEST

WEBINAR DESCRIPTION

This webinar was intended for parenting mediators who are looking for connections between practice and theory. They learned how to:

  • Explore how children are players (forming a conflict triangle) in the dysfunctional relationship of separated parents.
  • Examine how there can no truce until this triangle is recognized and addressed.
  • Consider how the presenting conflicts of the parents are opportunities for developing this truce and then building a model by which children can thrive in their separated environment (taken from John Paul Lederach’s Transformative Conflict approach).

The Transformative Parenting Mediation Model recognizes the identity of the players; the need for developing trust and a new form of relationship; all on a platform based on Isolina Ricci’s Mom’s House, Dad’s House model. You will walk through the steps that Wayne Plenert has developed in applying this approach and that are set out in his paper (in pdf format) A Transformative Parenting Model

WEBINAR OBJECTIVES

  • Introducing a new and different model of parenting mediation in which mediators can guide parents from a place of dysfunction to a truce, and then where they are interested, to where their children can thrive and can get the best that each parent has to offer.
  • Outlining for mediators why parenting after separation so often fails to find a path to this outcome.
  • Providing some theories and practical guidance on how mediators can approach these concerns and opportunities.
  • A post-webinar discussion on how much mediators should guide or direct parties in their approaches to parenting differences and difficulties.

WEBINAR PRESENTATION

View or print Wayne Plenert’s presentation (in Pdf format)

WEBINAR DESCRIPTION

This webinar was intended for parenting mediators who are looking for connections between practice and theory. They learned how to:

  • Explore how children are players (forming a conflict triangle) in the dysfunctional relationship of separated parents.
  • Examine how there can no truce until this triangle is recognized and addressed.
  • Consider how the presenting conflicts of the parents are opportunities for developing this truce and then building a model by which children can thrive in their separated environment (taken from John Paul Lederach’s Transformative Conflict approach).

The Transformative Parenting Mediation Model recognizes the identity of the players; the need for developing trust and a new form of relationship; all on a platform based on Isolina Ricci’s Mom’s House, Dad’s House model. You will walk through the steps that Wayne Plenert has developed in applying this approach and that are set out in his paper (in pdf format) A Transformative Parenting Model

WEBINAR OBJECTIVES

  • Introducing a new and different model of parenting mediation in which mediators can guide parents from a place of dysfunction to a truce, and then where they are interested, to where their children can thrive and can get the best that each parent has to offer.
  • Outlining for mediators why parenting after separation so often fails to find a path to this outcome.
  • Providing some theories and practical guidance on how mediators can approach these concerns and opportunities.
  • A post-webinar discussion on how much mediators should guide or direct parties in their approaches to parenting differences and difficulties.

WEBINAR PRESENTATION

View or print Wayne Plenert’s presentation (in Pdf format)

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