16th Circuit Child Protection Mediation Program Aims to Serve 50 Families This Year

16th Circuit Child Protection Mediation Program Aims to Serve 50 Families This Year

The 16th Judicial Court of Kane County is seeking new volunteer mediators for its Child Protection Mediation Program.

When the state removes children from their homes due to allegations of abuse or neglect, the mediation program provides an opportunity for families, social service agencies and the state to resolve issues and make plans that are in the best interest of the children.

The program now seeks new volunteer mediators to help stabilize families in Kane County.

The program aims to serve 50 families in the coming year. To do so, the Child Protection Mediation Program plans to add a dozen new mediators to its existing roster.

The mediators will work in pairs, facilitating conversations between families, attorneys and various agencies to assist in resolving disputes around child placement, family services and other supports.

Since its launch in 2017, the Kane County Child Protection Mediation Program has served over two dozen families, helping many of them reach resolution and make progress towards reuniting under safe and stable conditions. Stakeholders such as the court and child welfare agencies have witnessed the value of the program, and are looking to utilize it in even more cases.

Associate Judge Linda Abrahamson champions the program and the impact it is having on Kane County families.

“I believe this program is leading to better outcomes,” she said. “I hope some of the skilled mediators who live in Kane County will strongly consider applying to volunteer for this program. It’s an incredibly rewarding experience.”

Individuals interested in receiving training and serving as volunteer mediators may apply by submitting an application, available at https://www.aboutrsi.org/cpm-mediators.

Applications are due electronically by Aug. 20 at midnight, or must be received by regular mail before Aug. 21.

The court requires applicants to complete a specialized two-day training in order to serve as a mediator. This two-day training will teach prospective mediators specific skills that are necessary when dealing with child abuse and neglect cases.

Those interested in learning more about the Child Protection Mediation program, or would like a hard copy of the application, should reach out to Kevin Malone at 630-444-3128 or kmalone@aboutrsi.org.

About The Program

The Kane County Child Protection Mediation Program is a collaborative effort between the 16 Judicial Circuit Court of Illinois and non-profit organization Resolution Systems Institute. Since 1995, RSI has been strengthening access to justice by enhancing court alternative dispute resolution.

Founded on the premise that collecting and disseminating reliable information about court ADR can improve the quality of court ADR, RSI has assisted state and federal courts with the design, administration, monitoring and evaluation of mediation programs, as well as training ADR neutrals. Courts and individuals across the country call on RSI for advice and make use of RSI’s online Court ADR Resource Center.

In September 2015, the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation awarded Resolution Systems Institute $40,000 to develop the pilot Child Protection Mediation Program in conjunction with the 16th Judicial Circuit Court of Illinois in Kane County.

In July 2016, the Illinois Bar Foundation awarded RSI $5,000 to support the program’s mediators. For the 2018 fiscal year, RSI has been awarded $40,000 from the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts’ State Court Improvement Program.

Overall, $40,000 of the Kane County Child Protection Mediation Program’s $50,000 budget (or 90 percent) is federally funded, with the remaining $10,000 (20 percent) coming from nongovernmental funding.

Resolution Systems Institute Chicago, IL www.AboutRSI.org

SOURCE: RSI news release