Friday, 6 March 2009

CSA: New trial to reduce conflict between separated parents

Minister for Human Services, Senator Joe Ludwig, has announced plans for a new trial to help separated parents resolve disputes around care.Speaking at the Fifth Annual Family Law Conference in Melbourne today, Senator Ludwig said the trial would provide crucial early intervention and prevention strategies for separated families."Family separation is difficult for everyone involved, particularly deciding which parent has care of the children and when," Senator Ludwig said."In the past six months, the CSA made about 111,000 care decisions - 18,500 decisions a month - and while most decisions are straightforward and not disputed, approximately 700 decisions each month are considered 'contentious' or 'complex' because parents cannot agree."

"The Child Support Agency will soon begin a pilot to refer parents with a disputed care matter to a Family Relationship Centre for early intervention and mediation."

"Separated parents would work with a qualified family dispute practitioner to develop a sustainable, workable parenting plan that's best for the children.""It means parents won't have to go through the courts and get solicitors involved, and the process can help them to work together for the benefit of their kids."

Senator Ludwig today said the Government would also focus on strategies to identify and support families at risk of separation or experiencing violence or abuse."The various organisations within the family law system need to work together to share information about high risk families," he said."By identifying high risk cases, we can help the families who could benefit from investment in early intervention." "While separation is unfortunately a fact of life, we can do more to provide families with the support they need, when they need it, before relationship breakdown becomes their only option."

Source: Child Support Agency Media Release

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