The Nowra Family Relationship Centre at Anglicare will celebrate its 10th anniversary in the community on Thursday, 27 July 2017.
“Approximately 4,500 families have sought assistance from the Nowra Family relationship centre since we opened in 2007. Along with the Nowra Centre, we also have three outreach Centres located at Ulladulla, Moruya and Bega," says Nowra Family Relationship Centre Manager, Carolyn Bateman.
The Nowra Family Relationship Centre assists families who are experiencing separation by providing family dispute resolution. Family Dispute resolution (FDR) is a form of alternative dispute resolution. The focus is on assisting parents who are separated to develop a Parenting Plan that meets the needs of their children to have a meaningful relationship with both parents and extended family.
Government funded, Family Relationship Centres came about as a result of the changes to the family Law Act in 2006. This change saw the need for parents (where appropriate) to attempt family dispute resolution in the first instance rather than going to Court.
“Over the years the Nowra Centre has developed their Child Inclusive Practice that seeks to bring the voice of the child into family dispute resolution,” says Ms Bateman.
“The Centre started with one Child Consultant in 2012 and now has four trained Child Consultants. These consultants meet with the children to bring the child’s voice and experience of their family’s separation into the joint family dispute resolution. The children have the opportunity to talk to a neutral person about the family separation, and parents are then better able to develop a Parenting Plan that is both child-informed and child focused in regards to the ongoing care arrangements for their children.”
Ms Bateman hopes the Family Relationship Centre will continue to meet the needs of separated families by providing a safe and understanding environment that seeks to put the best interests of children first and assist families through this difficult period of their lives, with compassion and respect.
The Family Relationship centre was originally situated in Berry St Nowra with Anglicare providing services out of three sites in Nowra.
“Moving to West St in 2012 meant Anglicare could operate all Community Services out of the one site. It's made it easier for our clients seeking, family dispute resolution, counselling, financial assistance and family support to access our services,” says Ms Bateman.
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