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Commissioner Endorses Family Break-Up Video

June 22 2004

Children’s Commissioner Endorses Family Break-Up Video

Children’s Commissioner Dr Cindy Kiro has welcomed a new video resource for children and young people whose parents are separating, and says the views of children are sometimes overlooked at a time of distress and high emotion.

Keeping Yourself Together When Your Parents Are Falling Apart , produced by counselling agency Relationship Services Whakawhanaungatanga, with the Law Foundation and Educational Resources, was launched in Wellington today, at one of several events organised by Relationship Services around the country.

When parents separate, children must have the opportunity for genuine participation in decisions about their care and welfare, Dr Kiro told the Wellington launch. “The best interests of the child should be the primary consideration in all aspect of decision making and this means the rights and interests of the parents should be subject to the best interests and welfare of the child.”

Dr Kiro says she believes counselling should be available to all children whose parents have parted or are about to part and that the Family Court should have the power to direct that counselling be offered to any child involved in court proceedings which are likely to affect the child. She says good communication between parents and children is linked to better outcomes for children and young people.

Relationship Services’ Chief Executive Jeff Sanders agrees that good communication is essential and the video is one way to get families talking in what can be a very stressful time. “We work with a lot of separating families, both through Family Court and through self referrals. Parents are very concerned about how to manage the changes in a way that is constructive for the family. The video features ‘survival’ stories from other young people who have been through family change and aims to provide reassurance and advice and to lessen any feelings of isolation and loss that children may be feeling.”

The Wellington function, at Capital E in Civic Square, was just one of several held around the country to mark the video’s launch. In Christchurch TV personality Robyn Malcolm was guest speaker at a function at the Millennium Hotel , while the event was also marked at Mount Albert Grammar in Auckland and in Hamilton and Tauranga. The video is available through Relationship Services’ offices around the country for $29.95 plus postage and packaging. Copies can also be ordered by contacting the National Office: PO Box 2729, Wellington; phone (04) 472 8798; fax: (04) 4728507; or via the website: www.relate.org.nz.


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