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Lessons Learned from a Child Protection Mediation Program: If At First You Succeed and Then You Don’t . . .

Olson, Kelly Browe
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) Family Court Review. 41(4): 480-496.

This article discusses the U.A.L.R. child protection mediation program as well as several other child protection mediation programs in order to examine what makes a program a continuing success. Child protection mediation programs have gone through a period of tremendous progress and growth over the past 20 years in the United States and Canada. Numerous studies have shown that child protection mediation helps families and courts by lowering the amount of time that children spend in foster care and the amount of costs for courts and agencies. Child protection mediation is an essential tool for juvenile courts and the families that have cases there. This article addresses the development of child protection mediation programs, their importance to juvenile courts, and some reasons that these programs succeed or fail. Although many of these programs have early accomplishments, they have not always been able to maintain their growth or to continue to exist. The U.A.L.R. Mediation Project has not sustained its early levels of cases or referrals from court for numerous reasons. Using the techniques of other thriving programs, we will attempt to restart and re-energize the program. It has been established that the people who have a role in the establishment of a program, the funding sources and especially the commitment of the parties to the program all have a significant long-term impact. This article points out how programs should begin and proceed if they are to be a long-term success. Author’s abstract.


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