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
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.

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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

 

Mediator Musings Podcast

Mediator Musings with Sally Curtis

Sally’s vast knowledge of marketing, networking & efficiency makes her the perfect person to help organisations grow. Using proven techniques to increase sales, leverage resources, build connections, and manage time effectively both on and offline!

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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
Sat 23

VADR Regional Mediation Workshop

23 March @ 9:30 am - 5:00 pm AEDT
Daylesford Victoria
Australia
Mon 25

No More Harm National Conference

25 March @ 9:00 am - 26 March @ 5:00 pm AEDT
Surfers Paradise QLD
Australia

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)

Guidance for Role Players

Guidance for Role Players

Guidance for Role Players

This information provides some context and expectations for students and members who join role plays with Mediation Institute. Role plays are conducted by Video Mediation using a tool called Zoom.  To prepare please download a free version of Zoom if you have not already been using it.
 

The aim of the role-play is to give the mediator an environment in which they can practice and demonstrate their skills in mediation.

The role of the role-player is to provide a scenario that is believable and allows the mediator to develop and demonstrate all of their skills.

Role players should

Some of the things that you should be doing when you role play:
 

– add some conflict in the beginning to give the mediator the opportunity to enforce their ground rules for respectful behaviour

– be willing to discuss the issues during the exploration phase and negotiate during the negotiation phase. Embellish but don’t add major new facts or deliberate red herrings to the scenario you’ve been given.

– if the mediator is encouraging you to come up with options, make sure you do. Remember that you are in mediation to try and resolve the issues. Act that way! If an opportunity to come up with a workable solution before the private session, after the private sessions think about the consequences of not reaching any agreement and if possible come up with something to allow the mediator to practice documenting agreements.

– Role plays don’t have to end in a full agreement for the mediator to be competent but be realistic and not the stonewalling client from hell. Give them something to write down but don’t hand the mediator a completely unrealistic resolution that is out of context

– add a moderate level of emotion but do not have a meltdown or make it impossible for the mediation to continue

The role-player should not

Some things to think about not doing!
 

– don’t add new surprise facts that would mean that the role play scenario is seriously distorted with no need for your character to compromise at all. That means don’t lie and twist the facts to make yourself look all good.

– don’t forget that while some role plays may indicate low levels of financial or English literacy the parties have been screened and have the ability to mediate. You should not act as if you don’t understand english or that you have any major impairment. In the real world you would have an interpreter, support person or been screened out of mediation and referred to a different form of dispute resolution. It is good to ask the mediator to explain jargon or complex language to highlight to them if they are not being inclusive but be mindful of the flow of the mediation.

– DO NOT dig your heels in and refuse to budge. All parties in our role plays should have an interest in reaching a resolution of the conflict

– DO NOT throw away your interests and agree to anything and everything. That doesn’t give the mediator a realistic scenario to work with.

 

REMEMBER

These are role-plays, not real life. It is not about winning or losing. It’s about providing a believable role-play so that the mediator can demonstrate their skills and be fairly graded.

Risk screening has already occurred (unless you are doing a pre-mediation role play) so don’t behave in an extreme way.

It is beneficial for you to be a role player as you will gain personal experience of the mediation or FDR process and be able to see and feel what is effective or causes negative outcomes. You’ll also gain new insights while participating in the feedback at the end.

You will never win an Oscar for your role playing efforts so please keep your focus on helping your mediator by being a good role player.

The Assessment Tools

During the mediation your mediator will be attempting to demonstrate the following skills.

For the NMAS Mediation Course we use a comprehensive assessment tool.

NMAS Assessment – https://mi.study247.online/courses/58/files You’ll have to be logged in to learning management system for this link to work.

For the Graduate Diploma Course there are several assessment tools for different parts of the process. https://mi.study247.online/courses/84/files

 

Upcoming Events
Sat 23

VADR Regional Mediation Workshop

23 March @ 9:30 am - 5:00 pm AEDT
Daylesford Victoria
Australia
Mon 25

No More Harm National Conference

25 March @ 9:00 am - 26 March @ 5:00 pm AEDT
Surfers Paradise QLD
Australia

What skills does a mediator need to demonstrate for competence?

 

Communication Facilitation

It is important that you facilitate the exchange of information and effective communication between participants.

Mediators Opening Statements

Your opening statements need to comply with the standards (NMAS or FDRP) which means they need to clarify roles, explain the process and ground rules, confidentiality and exclusions to confidentiality and the legal status of any agreement reached. Then you need to do what you have said you’ll do as you facilitate the process!

Demonstrating Active Listening

In the parties opening statements you need to demonstrate active listening. That means asking clarifying questions and using mini summaries to demonstrate that you have understood the client. You should manage the flow of information and keep them focused on identifying the issues. Good active listening will help you to identify the facts and also the feelings and emotional impact of the issues.

Issue Clarification

You need to demonstrate your ability to filter through the “noise” of the clients opening statements to identify the issues in the scenario. This is to allow you to create a useful agenda for the mediation. Your agenda must be neutral and designed to increase options (not positional) and ensure that all issues are identified.

Procedural Fairness

You must demonstrate that you can facilitate a fair process. The assessor will be observing how you manage any power plays by the parties such as trying to dominate the conversation or any coercive or controlling tactics. They will especially be looking at the private sessions and confidentiality.  You should be reminding the parties about confidential at the start and finish, avoid the perception of bias (give each party the same time), make effective use of the private sessions and during the facilitation of the process give the parties equal opportunity to speak, be heard and present needs, interests and concerns.

In Family Dispute Resolution

Determined Asset Pool or key Parenting Issues – efficiently helped the parties to identify the asset pool or children’s issues.

Facilitated the acknowledgement of Considerations – helped the parties to articulate, recognise and acknowledge (if they are willing) the considerations that the other party would like them to take into account. (Interests based negotiation)

  1. Best interests of the child – reminded the parents that the best interests of the child are to have a meaningful relationship with both parents as long as it is safe to do so.
  2.  

Future Focus

 

You should maintain future focus and the reality of the situation. You’ll do this by encouraging the clients to focus on future options and contingencies and to generate and assess workable options. You’ll re-direct them if they become stuck in the past.

 

Increased understand between parties – encouraged mutual personal understanding between the participants by assisting participants to acknowledge each other’s needs, fears and concerns and acknowledging willingness to resolve the dispute?

Consideration of options

We’re looking for the ability to facilitate a full consideration of options and not jumping on the first proposal as if it was an agreement. Assist the  parties to generate and consider options and consider the long and short term consequence of their suggestions and plans.

Agreements

Here we want to see that you can assisted the clients to document outcomes and agreements in their own words and with lots of reality testing. Explain the legal status of the agreement and how to make it legally binding and enforceable.

What is a mediation role play?

What is a mediation role play?

What is a mediation role play?

What is a mediation role play?  We answer this question in this blog post because it can be really hard for students to know what is and isn’t an acceptable standard when it comes to their studies. This is especially true when the are leaning something that requires practical skills development and competency based assessment.

When it comes to Mediation Training the standards are very clear. This post is intended to make sure that anyone considering a provider for NMAS Accreditation Training or the Mediation Skill Set are very clear about what the standards are and what you are buying.

Mediation Skill Set

We’ve just had someone swap to Mediation Institute for the NMAS course from another provider who has been supposedly training her for months in the mediation skill set. I say supposedly because she had not done any live interactive role plays that she was able to claim as credits towards her course with Mediation Institute.

The Mediation Skill Set is a skill set under the Vocational Education and Training framework. It is part of the certificate IV in Community Services qualification. Mediation Institute has the capacity to train the skill set through our partnership with Inspiritive but we can’t economically do so in comparison with the NMAS Accreditation Course.

That is because the assessment requirements are higher than for NMAS standards requiring evidence of having worked with five mediations (simulated role plays is fine). The requirements for NMAS is only three as the mediator plus the assessment.

We are aware that some RTO providers are offering this Skill Set at a very low fee in order to provide their students with a pre-requisite qualification to the CHC81115 – Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution qualification. We caution students to do their due diligence.

You would expect that all VET training is to the required standard but unfortunately despite the many problems with quality in the industry the regulator of Vocational Training and Education still does not always protect students from sub-standard training.

We strongly encourage any student considering VET training to read the qualification requirements. Training.gov.au is a joint initiative of the Australian and State and Territory Governments and is designed to make publicly visible the requirements for training in all Vocational Qualifications.

The CHCSS00110 – Mediation Skill Set is made up of three units of competence. It is targeted at Certificate IV level. In order to find out what the assessment requirements are you will have to go to the individual units to know what content should be in the course and also the assessment requirements.

There must be evidence that the candidate has facilitated at least 5 different mediations with clients with varying circumstances and types of dispute, with at least 1 co-mediation.

Here is a link to one of the units quoted above – Training Details CHCMED002

One of the other units requires practice role plays of the pre-mediation process.

This can be done in simulation (role plays) but must cover all the requirements of the unit so you’d expect about 90 minutes would be a minimum requirement for the mediation role plays in order to demonstrate all of the assessable skills.

There would also be the need for practice role plays as a role player as well as part of the learning process.

NMAS Accreditation

National Mediator Accreditation is actually not a VET qualification. It is offered under a voluntary industry standard established by the Mediators Standards Board (www.msb.org.au)

The Standards for NMAS Accreditation Courses require the student to participate in 9 role plays (a minimum of three as the mediator).

From the point of view of the training provider there isn’t a lot of cost in people being role players. We really only need to count the number of role plays with mentoring / feedback required when we are determining our delivery costs.

The course is either delivered as a workshop or series of workshops or online.

Some workshop trainers do wandering feedback during the early role plays but the best ratio of trainers to students is one to three.

Some training providers get students do recorded role plays at home with friends and relatives or other students online for later feedback.

We think that is poor instructional design. We usually offer our course fully online although sometimes offer blended delivery or role play days.

We really like doing online video role plays because it is easy to record the role play so the student can review themselves against the feedback and pick up some of the areas for improvement in a way that overcomes their cognitive resistance. I’ve often provided feedback to a student only to have them not really believe that they did or didn’t do something. That is understandable as in the moment it is hard to distinguish between what you intended to do and what you actually did. Recording the video role play is the trainers best friend in this regard and really helps students with calibrating and improving their skills.

We think that all of the role plays are important so we want to be providing live coaching for every one.

Allowing students to do role play and then only giving feedback later to one student was something we used to do when we initially started training. We quickly discovered that it isn’t a good idea and now provide live mentoring and feedback. We found that we got “thought viruses” where one student would do something that looked OK to the others but was inappropriate. Then the students who were role players would incorporate that, wrong but OK looking, thing and also make the mistake spreading it to other role players.

The other problem with delayed marking of role play is that they take as long or longer than the role play itself (90 minutes) and that is a big chunk of time to find in a day to do a review. It is really easy to get a backlog of videoed role play marking if you are not doing live assessment so students wait days or even weeks for feedback.

Making the right choice requires asking the right questions

Mediation facilitation is a unique skill and because it is a skill it requires practice to learn. That’s the bottom line when it comes to learning mediation. If you are just reading theory and discussing concepts you will not learn to facilitate mediation.

Just because you are a counsellor, lawyer, psychologist, manager or whatever other roles you’ve done, it doesn’t make you a competent mediator.

Facilitating mediation is a unique skill set. It is difficult to facilitate communication between people in conflict, assisting those who are less articulate to share their needs and interests and helping those who are more dominate to listen and take onboard other peoples needs in order to get a sustainable resolution. Helping people to negotiate while at the same time remaining impartial and avoiding biasing the process through your action or inaction is a really valuable and increasing in demand skill set but knowing what to do in theory isn’t the same thing as being able to do it.

I have successfully trained hundreds of people and know just how hard it is to unlearn advocacy and counselling skills enough to use similar techniques in a new way in the mediation context.

If a training provider is offering to reduce the number of role plays or train you to be a mediator without role plays you need to be aware that the training doesn’t comply with NMAS or VET standards.Unless they are offering a low cost awareness program it is not worth doing in an industry where there are standards requiring competence through role plays.

Upcoming Events
Sat 23

VADR Regional Mediation Workshop

23 March @ 9:30 am - 5:00 pm AEDT
Daylesford Victoria
Australia
Mon 25

No More Harm National Conference

25 March @ 9:00 am - 26 March @ 5:00 pm AEDT
Surfers Paradise QLD
Australia

New Student Feedback

I mentioned that this article was triggered by conversations with a new student. The original enquiry was for our NMAS Assessment service but although she’d been on their course for almost six months she didn’t have evidence of any role plays at all. There were none that she’d done as a role player and the one that she’d done with her family members was still waiting on feedback so nothing to show for it in order to get credits towards her NMAS course and certainly not eligible for assessment against the NMAS Standards.

This is what she shared with us.

Thank you for your time over the phone and for registering me in your Mediator Training. I appreciate your insights and approach. I have since had a call back from [the other training provider – name removed] who have said they could complete my role play, assessment and accreditation in time – however I am no longer comfortable that the quality of their course is at the level it should be, and would prefer to re-do the course through you and do the full role plays properly and live, not video recorded with friends and submitted for their later review!!

My motivation is to become a great mediator, not just to check the boxes and short cut to accreditation, so I see the value in doing things properly through you and am happy to now be trained by the Mediation Institute!

I was really surprised when she called back wanting to enroll after I’d had to tell her that we could not offer her the opportunity to be assessed for NMAS as her training was non-compliant.

I felt really bad doing it considering the amount of time and money she’d wasted on a course that wasn’t doing what it should have done and certainly wasn’t trying to sell her on our course.

The feedback after the first Mediation Institute role play she did with us was.

All going really well thanks. The role play yesterday was great – such a good learning experience. I see why you can’t give accreditation for the [other training provider] course now – chalk & cheese! I learnt more in that one mediation & debrief from Ken than I did in their whole course

We established Mediation Institute to provide flexible, accessible, quality training for people who want to be dispute resolution professionals. I’m not saying that Mediation Institute is the only reputable provider of mediation training. There are some other very good providers of this type of training but if you are interested in becoming a great mediator then you need to ask questions about how the training is delivered, the number of role plays that you will be doing, how they will occur and how your skills will be developed and assessed.

If they don’t know or can’t satisfy you that there is appropriate support available keep looking for a provider. If your instincts are telling you that you’re talking to a sales person who’ll tell you whatever you want to hear, ask for it in writing. Of course we’d be delighted to provide the training for you and are more than happy to answer any questions you have about mediation or the industry –  Mediation Institute NMAS Training and Accreditation Course.

You can see from our calendar we definitely have role plays going on and if you have any doubts about the use of video mediation get in touch and we’ll allow you to come along to one of the role plays as an observer. Mi Events Calendar

What’s Online Learning?

What's online learning?

Online learning is a method of delivering educational material via the internet instead of in a physical classroom.

There are many different applications for online learning.

The simplest form of online learning involves providing a website with downloadable content and assessment booklets that are completed then emailed or even posted back to the institute for assessment.  We don’t do that.

Mediation Institute delivers eLearning that maximises the use of technology. That means you complete the coursework and assessment through a structured program with student interaction and feedback from the assessors on a task by task basks.

Guidance for Role Players mediation institute frequently asked questions

The history of Distance Learning

“Distance learning” refers to the idea of learning at a distance where learning materials are sent to the student. This was first put into practice by the University of London External System in 1858 and would have relied entirely on the postal system.

Back then the distance learning experience may not have been a particularly interactive system and unfortunately there are still a few providers around who haven’t really advanced much in the past hundred and fifty or so years.

The opportunity that the internet provides

Modern technology has the potential to offer the advantages of the traditional classroom to distance learning students and yet many of the so-called online learning courses offered today in Australia make little practical use of the internet. They are little more than distance learning with the post office replaced by downloadable materials and submission of assessment tasks by email.

This is not what we consider leading edge modern education!

Computers and internet give us the opportunity to engage with the learner using a variety of electronic means including recorded video and audio materials, presentation materials, online seminars complete with whiteboards and live person to person interaction over video.

Technology with a human touch

At Mediation Institute we want our students to experience the peer learning benefits of participating in structured workshops without the inconvenience of travel and having to invest days at a time into their studies.

We are achieving this by enhancing the learning experience through our use of online services.

Have we completely replaced the experience of attending a workshop?  Honestly, no.

But for students who participate in all of the interactive learning opportunities available to them we believe we’re at least achieving 80% of the benefits and avoiding all of the downsides of attending workshops.

Mediation Institute eLearning experience

We make use of the industry leading eLearning Management System – Instructure’s Canvas as well as other technology to support the ways in which our trainers can interact with students and students can work with other students through live video meetings.

Recordings allow the very time poor to time shift and watch the webinar discussions after the event although it is much better if you can attend live so that you get your questions answered.

Our routine Wednesday role plays provide the opportunity to Zoom in and participate in a role play with other students every week or less frequently depending on your personal priorities.

“Our focus on engaging our students saw us win the converted eLearning Excellence Award for Vocational Education and Training in 2014 and achieve a student completion rate of 83.3% in 2015.”

Joanne Law, Director of Studies

Mediator Musings Podcast

Mediator Musings with Sally Curtis

Sally’s vast knowledge of marketing, networking & efficiency makes her the perfect person to help organisations grow. Using proven techniques to increase sales, leverage resources, build connections, and manage time effectively both on and offline!

Read More »

The next innovation

Our core values are Accessibility, Collaboration and Innovation.

That means we don’t intend to stand still ether.

We are currently developing the new Graduate Diploma in Family Dispute Resolution Program (CHC81115) and are excited by the way we are packaging in the use of supervision to support students even more as they complete their studies with Mediation Institute and support them when they being working with clients.

We have also applied to add the new Graduate Diploma in Relationship Counselling to our course selection. This course complements many of the FDR units and will allow us to offer a Double Grad Dip FDR/Relationship Counselling for those who have the necessary Counselling background.

With a targeted start date later in the year we will be seeking to employ a head of Counselling and counselling trainers to support this and a new Diploma of Counselling course.

In both the new FDR and Counselling courses we will be utilising the supervision model between students and their allocated trainer to improve learning outcomes and develop an understanding of the value of ongoing supervision particularly where a practitioner is working in their own practice or remotely from an employing entity.

Under the careful watch of Colin, Paul and Joanne; Mediation Institute is growing strongly and we will be striving to ensure that our version of online learning is not only as good as traditional classroom learning but far exceeds it in terms of making quality education available to Australians no matter where they live or how they live there life.

Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Amendment Bill 2018

Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Amendment Bill 2018

What the bill means

The bill was passed by NSW parliament to amend the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 and the Adoption Act 2000. The main reason for the amendments were to make further provisions in relation to the care and protection of children and young people and for the provision of services to them. The amendment came into effect on the 4th February 2019.

What the amendments mean to dispute resolution practitioners

The important provisions are to clarify and require alternative dispute resolution rather than heavy handed legal action in cases that are not urgently high risk.

The objectives of the act and the role of the department have been clarified in section 16. 

A new subsection 2 in Section 17 authorises the prioritisation of requests for services for children and young people at risk of significant harm by government departments, agencies and non-government agencies in receipt of government funding. 

 

Section 16 – The General Role of the Secretary

(3) (a) to promote the development of co-ordinated strategies for the care and protection of children and young persons and for the provision of support services directed towards strengthening and supporting families (including the provision of prioritised access to support services to children and young persons at risk of significant harm and to their families), and

(b) to co-ordinate the provision of services for assisting young persons leaving statutory out-of-home care, and

New (c) to co-ordinate the early provision of alternative dispute resolution processes for children and young persons at risk of significant harm and their families who wish to participate in those processes.

Note. Section 37 (1A) requires the Secretary, on determining that a child or young person is at risk of significant harm, to offer these processes to the family of the child or young person (subject to certain exceptions) before seeking care orders.

 

Section 22 –  Secretary‘s response to requests for assistance

 The following text has been added.

If the Secretary determines that a child or young person is at risk of significant harm, the Secretary must offer alternative dispute resolution processes to the family of the child or young person (subject to certain exceptions) before seeking care orders.

This recognition and encouragement to attempt to involve the family in working out a plan for the care of their at risk child is a very positive step in the right direction.

The second addition to this section is

The Secretary may request government departments or agencies, or non-government agencies in receipt of government funding, to provide prioritised access to services to children or young persons who are at risk of significant harm and to their families.

 

The focus on Alternative dispute resolution is further reinforced in section 37 by changing the language from “is to consider” to “must consider”

Section 37 Alternative Dispute Resolution by the Secretary

 

(1) In responding to a report, the Secretary must consider the appropriateness of using alternative dispute resolution processes that are designed:

(a) to ensure intervention so as to resolve problems at an early stage, and

(b) to reduce the likelihood that a care application will need to be made under Chapter 5, and

(c) to reduce the incidence of breakdown in adolescent-parent relationships, and

(d) if an application for a care order under Chapter 5 is made, to work towards the making of consent orders that are in the best interests of the child or young person concerned.

Also insert the following

(1A) If the Secretary determines that a child or young person is at risk of significant harm, the Secretary must offer alternative dispute resolution processes to the family of the child or young person before seeking care orders from the Children‘s Court.

(1B) Subsection (1A) does not apply in relation to the family of a child or young person if the Secretary forms the opinion on reasonable grounds that their participation in alternative dispute resolution processes would not be appropriate due to exceptional circumstances.

(1C) If the Secretary becomes aware of criminal proceedings or a police investigation that may be compromised if alternative dispute resolution processes are offered under subsection (1A), the Secretary:

(a) must seek the advice of the Commissioner of Police as to the likely effect of the processes, and

(b) is not required to offer the processes if the Secretary determines that it is not appropriate to do so after taking the advice into account.

(1D) Subsection (1A) does not affect the Secretary‘s obligation under section 34 (1) and is subject to sections 35 (1) and 36.

(2) Participation in any such alternative dispute resolution is voluntary.

Note : Within this provision, models for conferencing may be developed to accommodate the unique requirements of a community (whether cultural, geographic or language), the complexities of the case, or the nature and severity of the abuse suffered by the child or young person.

 

 

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The government in NSW is directing the department to make every effort to engage the family via family dispute resolution as long as there is not extreme levels of urgency or risk to the children in question.

That is going to be very good for Family Group Conference Facilitators and families as well facilitated Family Group Conferencing is a very child inclusive and empowering process.

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