• June 2011
  • Vol. 12, No. 5

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Using Mediation to Resolve Child Dependency Cases

The use of the mediation process as an effective means to achieve resolutions in contested child welfare cases is explored in the journal article "Give Peace a Chance: A Guide to Mediating Child Welfare Cases." Author Jennifer Baum provides examples from real cases to show that skillful mediation that brings all parties to the table in a nonadversarial atmosphere may lead to significant progress in even the most contentious cases.

Child welfare mediators are neutral third parties who often are employees of court-based mediation programs, although many mediators also hail from child welfare agencies or professional mediation organizations. Some may be trained community volunteers. During a mediation session, participants are allowed to openly air grievances, share ideas, and cooperatively work on solutions to family issues in ways that are not possible in a formal court hearing. Family members can come away from mediation feeling more empowered to deal with the problems that led to the dependency actions. For agencies, attorneys, and the courts, successful mediation can reduce caseloads and provide more positive outcomes.

"Give Peace a Chance: A Guide to Mediating Child Welfare Cases" was published on the winter 2011 (Vol. 13, No. 2) issue of Children's Rights, a journal published by the Children's Rights Litigation Committee of the American Bar Association (ABA). The journal is available on the ABA website:

http://apps.americanbar.org/litigation/committees/childrights/content/newsletters/childrens_winter2011.pdf (1,357 KB)

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