Professionals dedicated to improving the lives of children and families throught the resolution of family conflict.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
AFCC eNEWS - December 2009 | Season's Greetings | Shared Parenting | BFA Guidelines | Top Ten Tips for the Holidays
Vol. 4 No. 12 DeceMber 2009
Season's Greetings from AFCC
by Peter Salem, AFCC Executive Director
The year 2009 has been a difficult one for many, and especially for our friends and colleagues in public sector positions who have experienced funding cuts and furloughs and are now being asked to perform already difficult jobs in even less time with even fewer resources. And even in such dire circumstances, AFCC members are so dedicated to excellence in their work that they use personal funds for memberships and conferences that were formerly covered by employers. This commitment to AFCC, to professional excellence and, most importantly, to the children and families who are served by our members, is the greatest holiday gift we could hope for. Our gifts to AFCC members include continuing our member price freeze, increasing the number of conference scholarships (this year we are offering 50!) and providing you with extraordinary programs, information, ideas and service in support of your work.
Wishing you a happy, healthy and peaceful 2010.
Abuse Continues After Divorce
By La Monica Everett-Haynes, courtesy of UANews.org
A great deal of research indicates that mediation is helpful for divorcing couples, but a project underway at the University of Arizona indicates that for certain couples, more supervision is necessary after the mediation process has ended.
Research has demonstrated that children need attentive and nurturing parents in order to thrive. Early childhood stress is known to cause psychological problems for children both at the time and later in life. This article goes further by addressing the links between childhood stress and later physical illness.
The AFCC Board of Directors approved the AFCC Guidelines for Brief Focused Assessment at its meeting in Reno on November 5, 2009. The Task Force on Brief Focused Assessment was appointed in 2007 by then AFCC President Bill Fee to study the issues of “limited assessment” models used in family courts. In August 2007, the task force conducted a survey of family court practitioners that revealed that these assessments are increasingly practiced in a multitude of family court settings, but with little clear definition or standardization of methodology and practice.
In early 2009, a draft of the Guidelines on Brief Focused Assessment was made available for comment on the AFCC website, and the task force held an open forum at the AFCC Annual Conference in New Orleans. The task force received many thoughtful and articulate comments that were carefully considered in the final editing process.
Three years ago, family law moved away from custody and access to the concept of shared parenting. It was designed to allow separated fathers to spend more time with their children. Supporters say this is in the best interests of the child, but now the idea is being tested. Clinical psychologist Dr. Jennifer McIntosh previews her research findings on the impact of shared care ahead of a family conference in Sydney.
Ten Tips for Separated and Divorced Families for the Holidays
By Peg Libby, Executive Director of Kids First Center
Holidays and special occasions create special challenges for separating and divorcing families. Last year, Peg Libby gave suggestions to make it easier for all involved. Here they are, back by popular demand.
In the world of family mediation, the "best interests of the children" often take central stage. There is much to argue for in this position. While not ignoring the voice of the child, we may also need to spend time reflecting on what it might mean to also work in the "best interests of adults."
Each year AFCC has increased the number of scholarships awarded to our conferences. This year, additional travel stipends have been created as well. If you would like to be part of the generous group of contributors who help make these scholarships possible by making a tax deductible contribution to the AFCC Scholarship Fund, please click here.
Hofstra Law School and AFCC are sponsoring the annual Family Law Writing Competition to celebrate the establishment of Hofstra’s LL.M. program in Family Law. The competition is run in cooperation with the editorial staff of Family Court Review, the academic and research journal of AFCC. Family Court Review is an interdisciplinary and international journal published quarterly by Wiley and in cooperation with The Center for Children, Families and the Law at Hofstra Law School. Family Court Review contributes to and facilitates discourse among the judicial, legal, mediation, mental health and social services communities.
A top judge has called for more mental health support for people involved in Family Court cases after finding 18 suspected suicides by people involved in the court [from May 2008 to June 2009]. Principal Family Court Judge Peter Boshier, in a speech delivered in Blenheim [on November 19, 2009], also proposes a new specialist agency to refer victims and offenders in domestic violence cases to counselling and to chase up offenders who drop out of programmes.
AFCC eNEWS is a monthly e-newsletter published by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC). AFCC eNEWS provides professionals with time sensitive and up-to-date topics including practice tips, research innovations and international news. Readers are welcome to forward this e-newsletter to interested colleagues.