Child Protection Mediation in Toronto
On Friday, March 8th, I gave a full day training to the Ontario Association of Family Mediators – Child Protection Roster. There were about 70 mediators in attendance and we focused on how to help parents who have children under supervision of the children’s services agencies (CAS). Mediation is a growing benefit for these families and for the government-funded services. It saves money and helps calm parents to the extent possible. While many believe that the mediations are between the parent and CAS, more often they are between family members fighting over the children – such as parents fighting each other, fighting grandparents who have the children placed with them, or fighting other extended family relatives or caregivers. This sounds a lot like high-conflict separation and divorce mediation! Not having experience as a child protection mediator, but rather a divorce mediator, I found it a helpful collaboration. Even though I have studied the development of child protection mediation since law school 20 years ago, they educated me about the current issues in their kinds of cases and I educated them about high conflict parents. I, of course, focused on the skills of teaching them BIFF responses to hostile emails and other communications, learning to manage their own emotions with Encouraging Statements, and teaching them to teach their clients to Make Proposals and Respond Reasonably. They agreed that these skills could help their clients, although some of them are much more dysfunctional than those in most high-conflict divorce cases (who usually don’t have child protection professionals in their lives, but some do!).
I also told them about New Ways for Families and they see a direct application as a useful method for teaching the parents they work with. I brought 2 New Ways posters with me and they were sold before the program was over! Then others wanted them too. (If you’re interested, see our website: www.NewWays4Families.com.)
Overall, it was a mutually beneficial experience and I was very encouraged by the turnout and reception to these ideas in this growing area of need.
About Bill Eddy
Bill Eddy, L.C.S.W., J.D. is a family law attorney, therapist and mediator, with over thirty years’ experience working with children and families. He is the Senior Family Mediator at the National Conflict Resolution Center in San Diego, California. He is also the President of the High Conflict Institute, which provides speakers, trainers and consultants on the subject of managing high-conflict people in legal disputes, workplace disputes, healthcare and education. He has taught Negotiation and Mediation at the University of San Diego School of Law and he teaches Psychology of Conflict at the Strauss Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law. He is the author of several books, including:
For more information about Bill Eddy, please visit: www.HighConflictInstitute.com.