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Child Protection Mediation: An Evaluation of Services Provided by Cook County Juvenile Court

Shack, Jennifer E.. 2010

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This evaluation looked at three areas: program performance, program process, and stakeholder assessment of mediation and understanding of its role and function within the child protection system. The study included data from 164 cases referred to mediation, as well as interviews of mediation participants, judges, attorneys and program staff. Participants, particularly family members, have very positive reactions to the program. However, very few are given the opportunity to experience it. Judges and hearing officers see the value in the program, but do not often make referrals to it. The majority of judges and attorneys interviewed believed mediation could occur early on, but almost always referred cases to the program after the disposition hearing (generally two years after the children were brought into the system). This is the paradox of the program. It works well, is well-regarded by almost everyone, and the participant families find it to be a rewarding experience, but it is underutilized.

The author is an RSI staff member.


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Resolution Systems Institute
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