About this Event
The title of our conference is "Working with High Conflict Families: Placing Children at the Heart of Problem Solving”. The venue is the Light House Cinema, Dublin 7 with a capacity of 270. It is anticipated that attendees will come from Legal Aid Board staff and our partners in the Family Justice sector.
The conference will be an opportunity to hear from relevant stakeholders who engage with the family justice system and who work with families and children experiencing the impact of high conflict. It is hoped that the conference can contribute positively to the process that began with the Family Justice Strategy of changing how the family justice system works for children and families.
It is intended that the conference will explore the following themes:
- Working with High Conflict in Family and Relationship breakdown;
- Children Having a Say in the Process;
- Supporting Young People and Families;
- Identifying solutions/problem solving;
Our conference will hear from a selection of legal practitioners and mediators; psychologists, guardians ad litem; members of the judiciary and representatives of the Department of Justice and non governmental agencies.
Our keynote speaker will be Matthew J. Sullivan, Ph.D.. who will present on ‘Perspectives on High Conflict Shared Parenting’. Dr. Sullivan has been in private practice in the United States, specializing in Family Dispute Resolution and clinical work in the Family Courts for over 35 years. He is a pioneer in the development of the Parenting Coordination role internationally and regularly presents at conferences and trains family justice professionals about Parent-Child Contact problems in shared parenting arrangements. He was the President of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) international organization from 2019-20. He currently serves on the editorial board of the Family Court Review. He is the co-founder of Overcoming Barriers, Inc., which is a non-profit organization that has developed a variety of innovative programs for high-conflict shared custody arrangements.
A central theme of our conference is listening to children and so we wish for attendees to hear the direct voice of young persons who have experienced parental separation. We are collaborating with Barnardos and community and voluntary agencies to host discussions; ‘Consulting with Children’. The discussions will represent youth feedback arising from direct consultation and will focus on 'The Lived experience of childhood domestic violence and abuse' and 'What children/young people have said about courts and what needs to change'.
We will also host the Manager of a Tusla funded Family Project who will contribute on working with children in the aftermath of difficult separation/parental alienation through evidence based programmes and direct family support work. The focus will be on 'Support for young people & children as their parents go through separation/divorce'.
A unique feature of the day will be our Child Centred Mediation piece. Attendees will have the opportunity to see mediation in action by observing a specially designed role play mediation session. Our Director of Family Mediation will introduce the activity and moderate. It is hoped the session will give a sense of how mediation operates.
For the final panel discussion of the afternoon, our panellists will reflect on the issues raised during the conference and through a forward looking lens, seek to identify the next steps to be taken in the pursuit of solutions to assist families through conflict.
Event Venue & Nearby Stays
Light House Cinema, Market Street South, Dublin 7, Ireland