Juvenile Dependency Mediation
Family Court Services provides mediation services in juvenile dependency cases. Dependency mediation services are free and confidential. All parties are ordered, and non-parties may be encouraged, to attend the mediation so that everyone involved in the child's life can participate in making the best plan possible for that child. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) are always invited to a mediation that involves the child with whom they are working. The parties are ordered to attend mediation on a specific day and time.
What to Expect During Mediation
The mediator meets everyone in the Civic Center Courthouse, Room 402. The mediator explains how mediation works before beginning the session. Sometimes the mediator meets with everyone together. Sometimes the mediator meets with smaller groups of people. Everyone is given the opportunity to talk. The focus of the discussion is what the child needs from everyone involved. How can we make things better for the future?
Children should not be brought to mediation or to Court unless the Court has specifically ordered them to appear. If children do attend the mediation the mediator will meet first with the child and his or her attorney or other support person. The child may, or may not, participate in the rest of the mediation.
What to Expect After Mediation
At the end of the mediation session, the mediator will write up the parties' agreement so that it can be presented to the Court. The parties go directly from the mediation session to the courtroom. The parties will present their agreement to the Court and request that it be made a Court order. If there is no agreement, the Court will schedule a hearing date to deal with any issues not resolved during the mediation.