Mediation for Permanency Planning
Mediation is a nonadversarial, voluntary process that allows the parties involved to agree on a permanency decision in the best interests of the child with the help of a neutral third party. Mediation generally avoids adversarial court hearings. Parties are more invested in the outcome because they participated in decision-making.
Parties to mediation may include birth parents, foster/adoptive parents, relatives, the child, the agency worker, attorneys, and others. Mediations can be court-based or may take place at other, more neutral locations. Resources include State and local examples.
Information Packet: Child Welfare Mediation (PDF - 118 KB)
National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning (2003)
Information on involving trained, neutral, third-party mediators in child abuse and neglect cases as a means of resolving disputes and expediting permanency for children in foster care.
Training for Mediators in Child Welfare: A Framework (PDF - 244 KB)
Presents a four-day framework for training experienced mediators working in child care that focuses on the experiences of the child, the experiences and perspectives of the parents, the role of social workers, and cultural competency.
State and local examples
Guidelines for Referring Cases to Child Welfare Mediation: Fact Patterns Where Mediation Has Been Helpful (PDF - 42 KB)
Utah Administrative Office of the Courts (2010)
Identifies situations in which mediation in child welfare cases has been beneficial and provides guidelines for referring cases to child welfare mediation at any stage of the case.
Mediation: Why Should You Go? What Should You Say?: A Guide for Parents and Guardians About Participating in Mediation (PDF - 116 KB)
New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts & The Children's Court Mediation Program (2007)
Provides information to parents and guardians in New Mexico discussing why parents should participate in mediation, who the mediator is, who else can participate in the process, what will happen at mediation, topics that should be discussed, and questions that should be answered prior to mediation. Includes a timeline and tips for preparing for mediation.
New York City Child Permanency Mediation Program Evaluation (PDF - 330 KB)
Thoennes & Kaunelis (2011)
Center for Policy Research
Discusses the development and the methodology used to evaluate New York City's Child Permanency Mediation Program. The program designed to employ mediation to help expedite permanency and address other areas of need, including ensuring visitation, supporting relationships between parents and children in care, creating individualized service plans, and promoting court and agency cooperation.
Permanency Planning Mediation Pilot Program: The Michigan Experience (PDF - 1324 KB)
Eaton, Whalen, & Anderson
Michigan Child Welfare Law Journal, 10(3), 2007
Provides a retrospective look at the first three years of Michigan's Permanency Planning Mediation Pilot Program in seven Michigan pilot program sites.
Using Evidence to Support Practice Change Initiatives: Case Resolution Meetings
Partners for Our Children (2011)
Highlights the Case Resolution Meeting, a practice innovation that brings key players in a case, including legal parties, together to identify barriers to permanency for children who have been in care longer than 15 months and to brainstorm pathways to permanency for these children.