Source: (2009) Family Court Review. 47(1):10-20.

Consensus approaches to child protection decision making such as mediation and family group conferencing have become increasingly widespread since first initiated about 25 years ago. They address but are also constrained by paradoxes in the child protection system about commitments to protecting children and to family autonomy. In a series of surveys, interviews, and dialogues, mediation and conferencing researchers and practitioners discussed the key issues that face their work: clarity about purpose, system support, family empowerment, professional qualifications, and coordination among different types of consensus-building efforts. Consensusbased decision making in child protection will continue to expand and grow but will also continue to confront these challenges. (author's abstract)