Cross-border Family Mediators is a Network which assembles family mediators worldwide who were trained to deal with cross-border family conflicts.
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The Cross-border Family Mediators (CBFM) network brings together family mediators from Europe and beyond, trained to deal with cross-border family conflicts. The network was launched in 2012 by the Belgian NGO Child Focus and the German NGO Mediation bei internationalen Kindschaftskonflikten (MiKK), with the support of the Dutch Centre for International Child Abduction, in the framework of an EU funded project. The network is based on a training and crossborder family mediation model developed in cooperation with the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.
The coordination of the network was handed over to Missing Children Europe in 2014. Missing Children Europe is the European Federation for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children which represents 30 organizations from 24 European countries. Missing Children Europe coordinates a network of hotlines for missing children, now operational in 29 countries through the same telephone number 116 000. 37% of the cases handled by the hotlines for missing children in 2014 were cases of parental abductions. 60% of these cases were cross-border in nature.
As permanent members of the Task Force, MiKK as well as Child Focus, still play an important role in the preparation of the policy and activities of CBFM. Furthermore, MiKK is considered the main partner of CBFM in the creation and organization of trainings in cross-border family mediation.
The general aim of the Cross-border Family Mediators’ network is to prevent, support and protect children from harm related to cross border family disputes, in particular cases of international parental abductions. The Cross-border Family Mediators’ network acts in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, in particular article 3 on the best interest of the child, and article 9 on the right to contact with both parents.
The following specific objectives are defined as a priority for the work of the network in 2016 - 2018, building on achievements of previous years:
1. Embedding the work of the network in existing systems targeting (cross-border) child disappearances
2. Ensuring high quality through offers to members that include training, supervision and monitoring
3. Supporting the development of effective EU policies on mediation
4. Raising awareness of mediation in the context of cross-border family conflicts
5. Mid-term, the Network will also undertake efforts aimed at expanding the network of mediators through new training. / Expanding the network of mediators through new training.
Through these objectives, the network aims to contribute to the development of integrated child protection systems, where different stakeholders work together to develop a net of safety and protection for all children. By setting specific priorities, we aim to invest the limited resources available to establish the network as a reliable and sustainable partner in protecting children involved in cross-border family conflicts.