Family Mediation and Conciliation
What is this intervention?
Family mediation seeks to repair the relationship between a young person and their parent or carer. Mediation should be objective without a specific outcome as its goal – for example, a homeless young person returning home. The mediator should remain impartial and neutral at all times.
In reality, mediation services are often provided by housing providers or local authorities, who are not able to remain impartial and who measure the success of the process in terms of the housing outcome for the young person. Such services are closer to conciliation than mediation.
Mediation is often undertaken when a young person presents as homeless having left the family home, but it can also be undertaken before a young person leaves home to prevent homelessness or enable them to stay at home while suitable alternative accommodation is arranged.
Mediation services range from a one-off session via a phone call, home visit or a meeting of all parties in a neutral space, to a more holistic family reconnection service. The latter uses a case-management approach to provide support to young people and their families to facilitate improved relationships and re-entry to the family home. Family reconnection interventions also encourage long-term access to mental health services and provide ongoing support to help ensure that family relationships are healed in a more permanent way.
What is its goal?
Strictly speaking, the aim of mediation should be to repair the relationship between a young person who is at risk of, or is already, homeless and their parent or carer. The real focus of many mediation programmes is about preventing homelessness by facilitating access back into the family home for a young person or enabling them to stay there while alternative suitable accommodation is found.