Report by NewsroomPlus.com
Contributed by Amanda Carrington
A Family Works Central service that helps families reach an agreement on parenting arrangements after a separation or divorce has reached its 500th referral in a year.
Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) has become a proven success since it started in March 2014. The service is funded by the Ministry of Justice and 3,563 assessments were completed in the space of a year.
Not everyone makes the cut. Out of those 3,563 assessments, only 1,793 were suitable for Family Dispute Resolution.
Only 60 per cent of participants are eligible for government funding. The participants who are not eligible for funding can access the service for $897.
The service is available across seven regions of New Zealand – Northern, East Coast, Central, Upper South Island, South Canterbury, Otago and Southland.
Family Works, which offers FDR, and Enliven are part of Presbyterian Support Central. Enliven provides high quality residential and home-based services for older people and runs Huntleigh Home in Karori.
Family Works Central general manager Julia Hennessy says the service is having an extremely positive impact on families and children.
“Family Dispute Resolution gives parents and caregivers the chance to talk through issues surrounding the care of their children and to resolve them out of court by coming to a mutual agreement,” she says.
The outcome of the service is consistently high with more than 88 per cent of participants reaching some kind of agreement.
Julia says the number of people accessing the service is growing steadily and is leading to long-term positive outcomes for the children and young people involved.
“Participants are telling us it’s a great service and they feel like everyone wins as a result,” Julia says.
The FDR service also provides counselling and parenting programmes which were completed by 7279 participants.
Completing FDR services is now compulsory for most people who want to go through the family court.
“Family Dispute Resolution truly makes a difference and we encourage parents and guardians to call us for more information if they are finding it difficult to come to arrangements regarding the care of their children,” Julia says.