Juvenile dependency mediation is an evidence-based, best practice that focuses on the child’s best interest. It is a collaborative, non-adversarial conversation facilitated by specially trained neutral mediators in a secure, comfortable, and safe setting. This conversation among the parents, social workers, attorneys, and other dependency case stakeholders seeks to craft a voluntary resolution to an issue that has arisen in the child abuse, neglect, or termination of parental rights (TPR) case. Such resolution considers a wide range of creative options to formulate the best decisions about appropriate intervention and care of children and achieving more timely permanency and increased likelihood of family reunification. Because domestic violence and child maltreatment frequently co-occur in child welfare cases, safeguards must be present to screen for the presence of domestic violence and models adopted that help to address power imbalances.
This snapshot highlights the success of a partnership between the Nevada Supreme Court’s Court Improvement Program (CIP), the Nevada Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS), and District Court Family Divisions across the state to pilot a model and support it with data collection, research, and evaluation.