Kids' Turn

Putting kids in the center of healing, not in the middle of conflict

About: History

Kids’ Turn was created to place much-needed focus on children.

The idea for Kids’ Turn began in court. While presiding over the family law department of the domestic relations court in the late 80’s, Judge Ina Levin Gyemant noted that while lawyers filed motions and parents sought orders regarding custody, visitation and other disputes, children and their needs were almost completely ignored. Mediation services were mandated for parents in California at the time, but no educational program was available for children, who are often the people most vulnerable and confused during parental separation.

In 1988, Kids’ Turn was created. With the foresight and vision of renowned San Francisco mediator, Jeanne Ames, Family Law Judge, The Hon. Ina Gyemant, psychiatrist, John Sikorski, and attorneys Ann Van Balen and Jennifer Jackson, Kids’ Turn started as a nonprofit agency in order to offer direct educational services to children and their parents who are undergoing separation or divorce. Located in San Francisco, Kids’ Turn now serves five Bay Area counties: Marin, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and San Francisco.

In the early 90′s, the Kids’ Turn board developed a framework for sharing the curriculum and for licensing affiliates. Presently, multiple organizations hold active affiliate status; those organizations are located in California (Fresno & San Diego), and Hillsboro, Oregon. Agencies in Chicago, Illinois; Carson Valley, Nevada; Montana and Tarrant County, Texas have purchased the curriculum for delivery in their communities. Service providers in countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Egypt and Australia have already adopted our curriculum.

Kids’ Turn continues to grow in order to provide a safe environment in which children can learn to deal with the difficult situations and feelings they face as their family reorganizes. Although Kids’ Turn was developed as an early intervention and prevention model, it is also highly effective for children whose parents have been separated for some time. Services now include those families in which the parents never lived together or never married.