Interdisciplinary pilots in French-speaking Switzerland
The canton of Valais has been testing the parental consensus model in family law procedures involving minors since January 2020. This is a unique approach in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, based on the "Cochem model", which has already succeeded in Germany (Cochem) and Belgium (Dinant).
Within the framework of this pilot project in Valais, a procedure corresponding to Swiss law has been implemented. This includes a series of measures to prevent parental conflicts or their aggravation in the interest of child protection. The best interests of the child are the factors that lead the parents, the courts and the KESB of the districts of Monthey, Martigny, St-Maurice and Entremont to reach an agreement in terms of a "parental consensus". Parents in separation are referred to mediation or counselling for shared parenting right from the first hearing. In addition, they are informed beforehand about what it means for a child to experience a parental separation.
This practice represents a change in paradigm, as judges, lawyers, mediators and psychotherapists work jointly on the cases. They coordinate their interventions, act quickly and promote interdisciplinary cooperation through monthly meetings, intervision, training and tools that facilitate the authorities to take appropriate measures.
ISS Switzerland, together with the cantonal department, coordinates all network activities related to the project, in particular the organisation of the monthly meetings, the preparation of working and communication tools, the intervision sessions and trainings.
Since 2022, ISS Switzerland is participating in the development and execution of a similar pilot in the canton of Vaud. We have been mandated by the Vaudois judicial authority and the Direction générale de l'enfance et de la jeunesse to coordinate and advise the authorities and professionals involved in order to define a procedure for the implementation of the project.