We offer Child Protection Mediation services for child protection cases. With the Ministry of Child and Youth Services supporting alternative dispute resolution in child protection agencies across the province, child protection mediation can play an important role in resolving issues between the Society and their clients. Whether it is for permanency planning, open adoption, agreeing on the terms of a supervision order, temporary care agreement, or terms of treatment, just to mention a few reasons, mediation can play a role in the resolution of many matters. Child Protection Mediation can prove to be useful in not only avoiding litigation but in lessening conflict, improving relationships, and decreasing the time a child must stay in care.
Once the child protection agency has determined the child is safe, whether at home or elsewhere, a plan must be made to meet the child’s needs for the future. When agreement cannot be reached on how to do this, child protection mediation can be implemented. The child protection mediator meets with the family and child protection agency worker to assist them in developing an agreement regarding the issues at hand. The child may participate if old enough or be represented by counsel for the purpose of mediation. Participation is voluntary for all parties involved.
Child Protection Mediation in the child protection field can be used to work through a number of issues, including:
- What services the family will receive and participate in as part of the plan of care for the child.
- The length of time the child will be in an agency’s care
- When there is disagreement about what must happen before a child is returned to a parent’s care
- To resolve a dispute that would otherwise have to be settled in court including terms and conditions of a temporary care agreement or supervision order
- The contents of a support services agreement to ensure a child’s safety and well-being in a parent’s home
- Other matters relating to the care and welfare of a child, including the amount and form of access the parent or others have with a child.
- Open adoption; permancy planning
Debra Rodrigues is a Accredited Child Protection Roster Mediator (Ontario Child Protection Mediation Roster) and a trainer for the Ministry of Child and Youth Services/OAFM.