Mediation and Facilitation Services

The Mediation and Facilitation Program assists parties in finding amicable resolutions to challenging problems.  Our experienced team provides mediations for Child in Need of Services (CHINS) cases, actions to Terminate the Parent-Child Relationship (TPCR), and Contested Adoptions.  Additionally, we offer permanency facilitations to address barriers that can keep children in care indefinitely.

Mediations and facilitations invite open conversation and creative exploration of possible solutions to real problems facing children and families.  Resolutions reached through collaboration are individually tailored to meet the specific needs of individual families and children, have higher rates of compliance, and help avoid delays inherent in protracted litigation.  Mediations and facilitations have resulted in timely reunification, informal adjustments, CHINS adjudications, changes of custody, guardianships, third party custody arrangements, and adoptions often with post adoption contact agreements.

Detailed Information Here

To learn more or to schedule a mediation or permanency facilitation, contact us at Mediations@ChildAdvocates.net

Child in Need of Services Mediations and Permanency Facilitations

Child In Need of Services Mediations

Mediations in Child in Need of Services (CHINS) cases occur before a trial has been held.  During these mediations we help the Department of Child Services (DCS), Parents, Guardians Litem/CASA, and their attorneys explore ways to keep children safe and thriving including examining the problems that lead to DCS involvement; looking for help that may be available from the family’s support system, in the community or through DCS referral; and defining the level of monitoring required to ensure each child’s safety and well-being.  If the parties reach an agreement the need for trial is eliminated.

Permanency Facilitations

Permanency Facilitations occur after the Court has found children to be Children in Need of Services and often after it is apparent that progress towards returning children to their parents’ care and closing the CHINS case has stalled. During facilitations we help the Department of Child Services (DCS), Parents and Guardians, Litem/CASA, and their attorneys come together with family supports, foster parents/relative caregivers, and service providers to identify obstacles that may be delaying reunification and develop a plan to overcome those obstacles. When appropriate we also assist the parties in exploring alternatives to reunification such as changes in custody, legal guardianship, and adoption.  Permanency Facilitations can considerably shorten the length of time children spend in the child welfare system.

Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship and Contested Adoption Mediations

Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship Mediations

In situations where reunification efforts have failed over an extended period, the Court may change a child’s plan to adoption. Mediations in these situations bring together the Department of Child Services (DCS), Parents and Guardians, Litem/CASA, foster parents/relative placement, prospective adoptive parents, and their attorneys to discuss the possibility of adoption along with alternatives to adoption. They often include discussions to identify the best adoptive family to meet the child’s needs long term and the role that the parents could continue to have in their child’s life following an adoption. Reaching an agreement eliminates the need for a contested trial and appeal.

Contested Adoptions

Adoptions may be contested if a family is seeking to adopt a child without the permission of that child’s parents or if more than one family seeks to adopt the same child. These are difficult situations for children and families.  Mediations occur before trial and create the opportunity for the prospective adoptive family or families, the parents, the Guardian ad Litem/CASA and their attorneys to come together to discuss possible adoption, alternatives to adoption, and the role that the parents could fill in their child’s life following an adoption.  If the parties reach an agreement a contested trial and subsequent appeals are avoided.