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Interventions for Parental Alienation in Australia: Family Bridges Workshop and After Care Protocol

Re-integrating children who have been alienated and/or psychologically abused or maltreated presents major challenges for the family law jurisdiction in Australia. Alienated/psychologically abused children may have been 'over counselled', subjected to family therapies that reinforce their alienation or are otherwise resistant to conventional approaches. Family Bridges Workshop for Alienated Children and Families (FBAC) offers an educational approach that together with the After Care Protocol for the formerly favoured-alienating parent offers the child the best chance of a relationship with both parents.

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Interventions for Parental Alienation in Australia: Family Bridges Workshop and After Care Protocol

  1. 1. Evidence Based Intervention for Severe Parental Alienation in Australia Parent-Child Remediation-Family Bridges Methodology for Alienated Children and Families (FBAC) and After Care Protocol (ACP) for Favoured/Alienating Parents Stan Korosi, Margaret Cherubino 9/04/2019 © SK, MC, 2018, Not to be used without permission 1
  2. 2. The Family Court & Family Bridges Legal Representation Family Court Process Independent Child Lawyer Single Expert Witness Trial & Judgement 9/04/2019 © SK, MC, 2018, Not to be used without permission 2
  3. 3. Legal Representation • Obtain Legal Advice & Representation • Determination if the case is suitable for Family Bridges • Provision for Family Court Orders – Family Bridges 9/04/2019 © SK, MC, 2018, Not to be used without permission 3
  4. 4. Family Court Process Primary Dispute Resolution Or Exemption Family Court Judiciary & Family Consultant ICL – Family Report & SEW Parenting Orders Interim & Final Hearings & Trial 9/04/2019 © SK, MC, 2018, Not to be used without permission 4
  5. 5. Independent Child Lawyer • Is there a legitimate case for an Independent Child Lawyer to be appointed? Family Violence & Abuse Mental Health Drugs & Alcohol 9/04/2019 © SK, MC, 2018, Not to be used without permission 5
  6. 6. Single Expert Witness Single Expert Report Choice of Single Expert Witness Process of Interview & Observation Documents Evidence of PA 9/04/2019 © SK, MC, 2018, Not to be used without permission 6
  7. 7. Trial & Judgement Evidence of Severe PA • Child Psychological Abuse Judgement for Appropriate Intervention Family Bridges 9/04/2019 © SK, MC, 2018, Not to be used without permission 7
  8. 8. PA in Australia: Common factors & issues for FBAC 9/04/2019 8 • Hybridisation of PA with realistic estrangement • Claims that the term ‘parental alienation’ is contentious • Claims that there is no expert consensus on the evidence for PA or for PA interventions • Claims that the quality of available PA research inadequate for judicial determination • Lack of adequate evidence based distinction between mild, moderate and severe alienation • A focus on Child Psychological Abuse/Maltreatment • The APSAC handbook on child maltreatment, 2018 © SK, MC, 2018, Not to be used without permission
  9. 9. PA in Australia: Common factors & issues for FBAC 9/04/2019 9 • Differing level of understanding of PA amongst SEW • Emphasis on relational-systemic, multi-dimensional PA that implicates the targeted parent | • Targeted parents must rebut claims of being UNSAFE, UNLOVING, UNAVAILABLE and UNNECESSARY’ • PA does not trigger the rebuttal of shared care (S60CC)-in contrast to FV • Functional description of PA as an example of FV in S4AB • “(i) preventing the family member from making or keeping connections with his or her family, friends or culture;… ” • Human rights of the child to have a relationship with both parents • UN. (1989). United Nations Human Rights: Convention on The Rights of the Child, Vol. 157, p. 3 © SK, MC, 2018, Not to be used without permission
  10. 10. Intervention Programs 9/04/2019 10 • FBAC (Family Bridges for Alienated Children) • Preferred reportable post-trial intervention • Since 2005-most researched • Empirical research informs the specific content of the four-day educational program. • Warshak, R.A (2010, 2014). • International program and support: trained facilitators in Australia, South Africa, Canada, USA • ACP (After Care Protocol) for formerly favoured/alienating parents © SK, MC, 2018, Not to be used without permission
  11. 11. FBAC/ACP Prerequisites 9/04/2019 © SK, MC, 2018, Not to be used without permission 11 • ✅ When the family court orders that a child’s best interests are served by restoring a relationship between an alienated/psychologically abused child and their targeted parent AND • Where the only realistic means is by changing parental responsibility and care to the targeted parent • Applies to Child Psychological Abuse/Maltreatment (The APSAC handbook on child maltreatment, 2018) • ✅ When children demonstrate markers of severe alienation • ✅ When the favoured/alienating parent is severely compromised, unresponsive or resistant • ✅ Where the targeted parent is viable and competent • ✅ When there is no time/opportunity to intervene if a reunification fails-FINAL ORDERS! • ✅ When there has been a history of failed reunifications
  12. 12. FBAC Safe transition to FBAC 4 day program TP and Children FBAC consolidation 5-7 day consolidation 'holiday' TP and children immediately after FBAC FBAC completes, follow up as required. Exclusion period Minimum 90 days Contemporaneous with FBAC ACP for FP Stand alone process-FP only Independent of FBAC Reportable Transition Supervised time with FP Unsupervised time with FP Parallel parenting •Parental responsibility and primary care remains with TP 9/04/2019 © SK, MC, 2018, Not to be used without permission 12Warshak, RA 2010, 2014
  13. 13. Family Bridges (FBAC) Key Success Factors 9/04/2019 © SK, MC, 2018, Not to be used without permission 13 • Facilitates empathy, connection, between alienated children/adolescents and targeted parents. • Facilitates ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking, understand the logical connections between ideas. • Facilitates families to adjust to court orders that bring children and their rejected parent together • A structured, four-day, educational and experiential program EDUCATIONAL SAFE TRANSITION REACTIVATES EMPATHY REACTIVATES CRITICAL THINKING Warshak, RA 2010, 2014
  14. 14. ACP: Parallel Psycho-educational Process • Reflect to their children their empathic appreciation of the adverse impact of their behaviour upon them • Demonstrate a pattern of behaviour change • Demonstrate an understanding of the family configuration now ordered. Engage with the principles of parallel parenting • Demonstrate an understanding of their behaviour as alienating and harmful, however well intentioned Understand Engage Reflect Change Behaviour 9/04/2019 © SK, MC, 2018, Not to be used without permission 14

Re-integrating children who have been alienated and/or psychologically abused or maltreated presents major challenges for the family law jurisdiction in Australia. Alienated/psychologically abused children may have been 'over counselled', subjected to family therapies that reinforce their alienation or are otherwise resistant to conventional approaches. Family Bridges Workshop for Alienated Children and Families (FBAC) offers an educational approach that together with the After Care Protocol for the formerly favoured-alienating parent offers the child the best chance of a relationship with both parents.

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