Mediation is a nonadversarial, voluntary process that allows the involved parties to work with a neutral third party to come to agreement on a permanency decision in the best interests of the child. Mediation generally can help the parties avoid adversarial court hearings, and parties are more invested in the outcome because they participated in the 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.
Judges' Page Newsletter: Alternative Dispute Resolution Programs in Child Protection Cases (PDF - 245 KB)
Lewis (Ed.) (2008), October Issue
Includes articles that describe the types of dependency court alternative dispute resolution programs and their key elements.
Family Engagement Inventory
Child Welfare Information Gateway
Familiarizes professionals with how family engagement is defined and implemented across child welfare, juvenile justice, behavioral health, education, and early education.
Family Group Conferencing and Child Protection Mediation: Essential Tools for Prioritizing Family Engagement in Child Welfare Cases
Family Court Review, 47(1)
Describes how family group conferencing and child protection mediation actively encourage family engagement and positively impact outcomes for children.
Guidelines for Child Protection Mediation (PDF - 488 KB)
Association for Family and Conciliation Courts (2012)
Presents guidelines for child protection mediation, including guiding principles, program development design and operation, monitoring evaluations, and information on other collaborative decision-making methods.
Training for Mediators in Child Welfare: A Framework (PDF - 244 KB)
Presents a 4-day framework for training experienced mediators working in child welfare that focuses on the experiences of the child, the experiences and perspectives of the parents, the role of social workers, and cultural competency.
Assessing Efficiency and Workload Implications of the King County Mediation Pilot (PDF - 2,867 KB)
Summers, Wood, & Russell (2011)
OJJDP Journal of Juvenile Justice, 1(1)
Examines a pilot program in King County, WA, that used mediation as a tool for improving case efficiency in order to reduce judicial workload.
Child Protection Mediation: An Evaluation of Services Provided by Cook County Juvenile Court (PDF - 4,977 KB)
Resolution Systems Institute (2010)
Assesses the efficacy of a mediation program in Cook County, IL, including information on program performance, process characteristics, and recommendations.
Child Protection Mediation in Texas: Past, Present, and Future (PDF - 1,283 KB)
University of Texas School of Law Mediation Clinic (2010)
Examines the use of mediation in child protection cases in Texas, including past mediation pilot projects, mediation in the State today, and guiding principles for future child protection mediation in Texas.
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. The guide 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 is 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.
Using Evidence to Support Practice Change Initiatives: Case Resolution Meetings
Partners for Our Children (2011)
Highlights the Case Resolution Meeting, a process 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.