Child and Family Advocacy

Placing Parents within the Mind of Their Child

Whether it comes in the form of marital stress, parents separating, or divorce—parental conflict hurts children. According to Robert Emery, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for Children, Families, and the Law at the University of Virginia, “Empirical evidence consistently points to parental conflict as the factor that most consistently predicts maladjustment among children whose parents have separated or divorced.”1

The Resolution Center cannot stop the hurt—but we can reduce the harm. The Child and Family Advocate brings the mind of the parent into the experience of their child. The Advocate guides parental attitudes and interactions as they make decisions so that conflict decreases between the parents which then strengthens child and parent relationships. Parents give their child a “Safety Zone” free of parental conflict—filled instead with respect for the child’s emotional needs. Parents come to see their child as part of the fabric of a family that will continue, even after a marriage is dissolved.

The Child and Family Advocate services are included in the package of services for all families with children going through family/divorce mediation/arbitration. The Advocate spends time with the parents and with the children. Because children in the same family will experience life differently given their age, temperament, and coping abilities, the Advocate can speak clearly into the mediation/arbitration process about the needs of each child from that child’s perspective while understanding the needs of parents dissolving a marital relationship. Time can also be devoted to the concerns of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and other family members. The Advocate brings new and strengthened abilities to each member of the family assuring the continuity of child parent relationships in the context of parental respect. It is a transforming work that joins naturally with the mediation/arbitration process to produce the most satisfying outcomes for all members of a family.

1 “Robert E. Emery, Renegotiating Family Relationships: Divorce, Child Custody, and Mediation.  New York: The Guilford Press (1994), p.3.