$6 Million for Family Court PR scheme
In Stuff today: Plan to help families cope with divorce
Parents about to divorce or separate are to be given free counselling sessions in a bid to lessen the impact on their children.
The $6 million scheme, unveiled by Justice Minister Rick Barker yesterday, was aimed at 15,000 parents who would separate or contemplate a split, during the next year, he said.
Mr Barker said not enough was being done to help parents.
The voluntary programme includes four hours of counselling, a DVD and written material, and coaches parents on the impact of divorce and how to involve their children.
The programme is an extension of an Auckland pilot scheme started in 2004, which had 100 per cent backing from the parents involved, Waitemata intern clinical psychologist Lynelle Gillard, said.
Auckland family lawyer Brian Gubb, who helped put the programme together, said it should be mandatory for all parents that were separating. “Otherwise the parents that you want on it, won’t (go).”
Isn’t this announcement good news, I hear readers ask? I think not. Superficially, it sounds quite promising (although astute observers may note that 100% support sounds just a little too good).
The pilot of scheme: Children in the Middle, was run on the North Shore and the Family Court published a report on the Parent Information Programmes here.
A perusal of the names behind the programme will cause considerable disquiet to any regular attendees of Mens Centre North Shore support groups! Notably lacking is any form of consumer representation, or any involvement by father’s support organisations. So who are the new experts on separation and divorce? The same lawyers, clinical psychologists, and court officials who have been at the forefront of the feminist father-removal programme!
The present programme was initiated by the Chairperson of the Auckland Family Courts Association, Brian Gubb, who contacted Associate Professor Fred Seymour at the University of Auckland Psychology Department to invite him to participate in setting up a programme in Auckland. The Auckland Family Court Association agreed to run a pilot programme and invited Lynelle Gillard, a Clinical Psychology doctoral student to be involved. It was decided to run CiM on Auckland’s North Shore. Support for the pilot was given by the then Principal Family Court Judge, Judge Patrick Mahony, the Auckland Administrative Judge, Judge Lawrence Ryan and the Ministry of Justice. After some initial consultation, an Advisory Group was established. Advisory Group members included Brian Gubb, Fred Seymour, Lynelle Gillard, Bruce Archer, Marg Dixon, Amanda Donovan, Hana Ellis, Andrew Finnie, Wayne Gates, Ian McHardy and Keith Young. Initial work in developing CiM took place during 2003, and CiM commenced in February, 2004.