Alternative dispute resolution involves nonadversarial methods of resolving cases that might otherwise be decided in a court hearing. Mediation is one common strategy. Resources include State and local examples.
Children Need Families, Not Courtrooms: Alternatives to Adversarial Litigation in Child Welfare (PDF - 1,249 KB)
Explores mediation-based alternatives to resolving child welfare matters and the benefits and concerns relating to alternative dispute resolution.
Making the Most of Pretrial Procedures in Child Welfare Cases
Child Law Practice Today
American Bar Association
Examines the use of pretrial procedures in child welfare cases, including formal and informal hearings, facilitated conferences, and alternative dispute resolution, to bring parties together in a less adversarial setting. As a result, any subsequent trial or contested hearing can be more focused and streamlined and thus better serve children in foster care.
Child Welfare Mediation Program
Utah Courts (2017)
Explains the Child Welfare Mediation Program, which seeks to serve the best interests of the child while supporting parents' rights, responsibilities, and participation. The program also helps build cooperation among child welfare constituents and streamline the child welfare process in the court system.
Children's Court Mediation
New Mexico Courts
Describes mediation services available in all stages of an abuse and neglect case, from investigation to reunification or termination of parental rights. During these cases, a trained professional mediator meets with parents, attorneys, caseworkers, and other parties and assists in achieving agreements.
The Eighth Judicial Circuit of Florida (2016)
Outlines the process of dependency mediation for children and families involved in the court system because of allegations of abuse, abandonment, and/or neglect. Mediation can help with issues such as case planning, custody, foster care, relative placement, and more.
Mediation and Restorative Justice
State of Nebraska Judicial Branch (2018)
Discusses the use of alternative dispute resolution, or mediation and facilitation, within the context of Nebraska's abuse/neglect court system. As the best interests of the child are of primary concern, mediation and facilitation have been shown to be useful in placing the child at the forefront of the parties' issues and creating plans that are best for the family.
Mediation in Child Protection Cases Round Table Report (PDF - 4,703 KB)
Texas Center for the Judiciary
Provides a presentation on child protection mediation in Texas, including information on how it is used, the success of using mediation in child protection cases, other benefits of mediation, and more.