The International Centre for Children and Family Law is a child focused research and training centre emphasising appropriate inclusion of children in matters that affect them.
The centre offers specialized training in the areas of child inclusion, children’s rights, child and adolescent development, high conflict separation and divorce, domestic violence and the impact on children and families, child protection and innovative alternative dispute resolution practices including children.
Based in Calgary, Canada, and Sydney, Australia, the Centre seeks opportunities to collaborate with other child focused colleagues. In 2018 we formed collaborative partnerships with:
- DEAKIN UNIVERSITY
- RELATIONSHIPS AUSTRALIA
- ALBERTA JUSTICE AND SOLICITOR GENERAL
- MEDIATION WEST, NEBRASKA
- W.K. FAMILY LAWYERS, CALGARY
ICCFL is a not-for-profit association dedicated to increase the authentic inclusion of children and young people's voices in matters that affect them.
The Centre was established by Lorri Yasenik PhD and Jon Graham LLB in 2018. ICCFL is a child focused training and research centre committed to identifying best practice frameworks that are inclusive of children. ICCFL research projects are evidenced-based, collaborative and inform day-to-day practice. ICCFL works with colleagues from around the world to continuously improve best practices in child inclusion. ICCFL seeks to be at the forefront of developmentally sensitive innovative thinking, creating interventions that are child friendly.
What In the World of Children is ICCFL's international board of advisors. The group brings cross disciplinary experience, meeting quarterly to discuss local, national and international innovations in child practice. Membership includes family lawyers, child and play therapists, mental health practitioners, judges, family mediators, parenting coordinators, child protection specialists, child educators and academics. All members bring an interest and expertise in child inclusion.
ICCFL is a not for profit association incorporated in New South Wales, Australia (The International Centre for Children and Family Law INC 1401080).
About Lorri Yasenik and Jon Graham
Lorri and Jon met in 2014 at an international family law symposium in Montreal.
"Our work together began with a collaboration on models of practice that work across whole family systems; treating families and especially children as participants in the renegotiation of families and family relationships rather than objects of the parent's relationship breakdown".
Lorri, from Calgary, Canada and Jon from Sydney, Australia, began investigating the use of new models to increase the opportunity for meaningful participation of children in Family Law Processes. They captured their initial thoughts in an article titled The continuum of including children in ADR processes: A child-centred continuum model (2016) Family Court Review 54,(2). The Child Centred Continuum Model became the foundation for two training programs: Meeting with Children for Family Law Practitioners, and Meeting with Parents for family law practitioners. These programs are constructed from a multi-theoretical frame, creating a blend of strategies from family law, family systems, ADR, child rights, child development, and child and play therapy.
Lorri and Jon bring diverse sets of academic, theoretical and practical experience that allow for a unique conceptualisation of the child voice. They wanted to safely and practically bring standardized processes and procedures to practitioners who wanted to be child inclusive but who had not previously worked with children. The manualised programs are designed to provide the practitioner with standard guidelines so that they are not leading children, rather children are in the lead.
The programs have been presented in Canada, USA and Australia.
In 2017 the Lorri and Jon were part of a working committee drafted proposed guidelines for the designation of Child Consultant/ Child Inclusive Mediator. These guidelines were adopted by the Alberta Family Mediation Society in 2018 and are the first of such guidelines in North America.
Listen, listen to what your child has to say … Be respectful, try and understand why they're making this decision … And just be supportive. (Lucy, F, 12-14 years)
So like maybe, yeah, just take more account into what the kids want 'cause what you (the parents) want isn't always the best, um, for the whole situation. (Oscar, M, 15+ years)
Yeah, look I'd say it's just important to listen and just understand what the kid's saying pretty well. (Michael, M, 15+ years)
Mmm, talk to them about it and don't like, and then like, when you finally get to hear what they actually think, like, don't get mad at them for it or go and sulk about it. (Hayley, F, 12-14 years)
From - Children and young people in separated families: Family law system experiences and needs. Final Report 2018 Australian Institute of Family Studies
Lorri Yasenik PhD, RSW, RPT-S, CPT-S is specialized in working with children and families in the areas of treatment of trauma, high conflict separation and divorce and child development in Calgary, AB Canada. In addition to being a certified supervisor of child psychotherapy and play therapy, Lorri is a Registered Family Mediator and a Registered Parenting Coordinator-Arbitrator. Lorri has a keen interest in legal issues that affect children’s lives and has completed research in the area of “Including the Voices of Children in the Legal System”. Lorri is the co-founder and co-director of the International Centre for Children and Family Law (Sydney Australia /Calgary Canada) and the Co-director/owner of Rocky Mountain Play Therapy Institute in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Lorri provides training related to child inclusive practice in family law and child psychotherapy and play therapy nationally and internationally.
LLB BA(Psych) Grad Dip FDR (Australia)
Jon Graham is a Registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (Family Mediator) based in Sydney, Australia. Jon has qualifications in law, psychology and commerce as well as post-graduate qualifications in Family Mediation. Jon combines over 20 years of clinical experience with families affected by separation and divorce with a substantial training calendar across Australia.
Jon is the Clinical Director of the Institute of Specialist Dispute Resolution, a provider of tailored family dispute resolution processes for families presenting with complex issues. The Institute also provides training and clinical supervision for mediators in Australia, Asia and North America.
Since 2010 Jon has been working within Australia on specific models for the support of families made more vulnerable because of histories of family violence, child abuse and neglect. In particular Jon led the training team for sites piloting the Coordinated Family Dispute Resolution model of practice (a model specifically for the resolution of post separation parenting issues in which a history of violence was present). Jon has also worked with Family Relationship Centres across NSW and Australia in the development and supervision of models of practice for post separation families who have experienced family violence. Jon has presented programs for lawyers, mediators and counsellors in the application of safe family law a practice with vulnerable families.