“Our goal in child protection cases is always to establish safety and stability in a child’s life,” said Chief Justice Bridget M. McCormack. “Child protection mediation is a valuable and effective method to accomplish exactly that while also benefiting the family, the community, and the court.”
Child protection mediation is a collaborative problem-solving process involving an impartial and neutral mediator who facilitates constructive negotiation and communication among parents, lawyers, child protection professionals, and possibly others, in an effort to reach a consensus regarding how to resolve issues of concern when children are alleged to be abused, neglected or abandoned.
The ultimate goal is the safety and well-being of the child(ren) and family reunification.
Child Protection Mediation encourages constructive communication and information sharing and fosters an environment where genuine engagement and agreement is possible. Everyone has a Voice in the discussions, better understanding of expectations and ownership in decisions. As a consensual decision-making process, no agreement can be reached unless all the involved parties agree. In addition to reaching important decisions regarding children and families, Child Protection Mediation can lead to a greater sense of teamwork among all the involved participants and a greater understanding and ownership of resulting agreements.
Types of issues could be:
· Relative placement
· Determining what support/supports are needed
· Parents voluntarily beginning services
· Wording of Petition
· Visitation & Supervision Plans
· Service Plans- Progress, Monitoring, Compliance, Needs
· Parent/Caseworker/attorney/foster parent interpersonal or communication problems
· Transition plans with reunification
· Empowerment for parents wishing to release parental rights