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Just Court ADR

The blog of Resolution Systems Institute

Posts Tagged ‘child protection mediation’

Reflecting on RSI Focus Groups in Washington, DC

Susan M. Yates, March 1st, 2017

Last week I had the honor of accompanying Jennifer Shack, RSI’s remarkable Director of Research, to Washington, DC. Jen is the principal investigator on an RSI evaluation of the child protection mediation program[1] in the DC Courts. I came along to facilitate the focus groups that are part of the evaluation. Each of the focus groups brought together a distinct group of lawyers who participate in mediation regularly: Guardians ad litem, lawyers for parents and prosecutors. The focus groups provided insight into how differing interests shape how mediation is perceived.

I found that my mediation skills, honed over many years, made it easy to shift into the role of focus group facilitator. Asking open-ended questions, encouraging everyone to participate and keeping the conversation moving were all familiar. Unlike mediation, the group didn’t have a goal of reaching agreement and I found that to be kind of liberating! What was more surprising to me was that it was difficult to remove my trainer/teacher “hat.” When a participant made a comment based on a misunderstanding of mediation, I had to resist the urge to engage in a conversation to educate the participant about mediation.

The groups of lawyers came from very different perspectives and often had different goals for mediation. (more…)

Takeaways from a Child Protection Mediator Training

Just Court ADR, February 6th, 2017

On January 20-21, RSI put on an advanced two-day training for the mediators in our new Child Protection Mediation Program operating out of Geneva, IL. This training was the culmination of our efforts to put in place a dynamic and collaborative new forum to address child abuse and neglect cases in Illinois’ 16th Judicial Circuit Court. Based on the outcome of the training, I feel confident that our new program will be a huge boon to Kane County, the jurisdiction which the program serves. I also am glad to have taken away some ideas about how to create a better mediator training event, which I get to share with all of you. (more…)

Child Protection Perspectives: Initiating the Conversation

Just Court ADR, April 15th, 2016

As April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, we at RSI wanted to shine some attention on the work we are doing related to the development of the new Child Protection Mediation Program in the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit Court of Kane County, Illinois, as well as the other work RSI has done in using court ADR as a tool to address the issues of child abuse and neglect.

While our work at RSI is often about data, when it comes to child protection (a term which is meant to capture the broad array of cases in which children have been removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect), it is hard not to talk about the personal element.  Prior to joining RSI, much of my work had been as an advocate at the intersections of special education, juvenile justice and the child welfare and foster systems. These seemingly independent worlds actually collide frequently, and illustrate some of the many complexities involved in handling cases of child abuse and neglect. (more…)

Check out the New Draft Guidelines for Child Protection Mediation

Jennifer Shack, November 30th, 2011

Child Protection Mediation is a growing area of ADR with a track record of positive effects for families brought into the child welfare system. Now, new comprehensive guidelines have been created to help programs ensure that they abide by best practices.  The draft Guidelines for Child Protection Mediation were developed by the Child Welfare Collaborative Decision Making Network (CWCDMN), which is a combined effort of  the Association for Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC), the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ), the Werner Institute for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution at Creighton University School of Law, and the National Center for State Courts (NCSC).

For my part, I’m pleased to see monitoring and evaluation included in the guidelines, as well as very specific guidance on mediator training. The guidelines are open for comment until January 24, 2012. If you work in the child welfare system, I encourage you to take a look and send in your comments.

Child Protection Mediation Study Shows Benefits For Families

Jennifer Shack, January 18th, 2011

Child protection mediation has been shown in a number of studies to have a positive impact on families, the court and, most importantly, the children. Now one more study adds to the evidence for this. At the request of Judge Patricia Martin, the Presiding Judge of the Child Protection Division, RSI undertook an evaluation of the Cook County Circuit Court Child Protection Mediation Program. The study, which we just published, looked at three areas: program performance, program process and stakeholder understanding and assessment of mediation and its role and function within the child protection system. (more…)

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