Post-Separation Visitation Disputes: Differential Interventions

BACKGROUND PAPER

(2001-FCY-6)

LIMITATIONS OF CURRENT STUDY

This study was exploratory in nature and the generalizability of these findings to other settings is limited in several ways. First, this sample represents high conflict parents litigating for more than three years prior to receiving service from the Children's Lawyer's Office. They may well have settled their dispute in any event, as their experience with the court system was less than helpful. Second, the services were provided in a publicly funded office that enjoys high credibility with the courts in Ontario, and the parents may have felt they had little choice in accepting the recommendations and suggestions of the social worker. Third, a larger sample size would increase the power, and therefore possibly detect differences in the different interventions, if any. Fourth, incorporating a longitudinal design would also capture changes, if any.

In spite of these limitations and the fact that no observational measures were used, a number of benefits resulted from this study. This is the first time a high conflict group of parents had been randomized in a prospective study focussing on the efficacy of different interventions for disputes concerning access. This study builds on the limitations of previous studies that only examine retrospective data and contain no comparison groups. From a resource point of view, the inclusion/exclusion criteria facilitated the identification of children and families who might benefit from a shorter and solution oriented approach in a timely and cost-effective manner. This has significant policy implications for future directions with respect to advocating on behalf of children's interests. More research in differentiating the interventions needs to be explored. (9)

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