About Child Protection Mediation
The Advantages of Child Protection Mediation
Child protection mediation:
- Empowers parents and child welfare workers to solve problems collaboratively
- Results in agreements and safety plans that are more likely to be kept
- Improves relationships between parents and child welfare workers
Issues That Can Be Mediated
Parents and child welfare workers can use mediation to work out agreements about the care and safety of a child, including:
- The services the family will receive and participate in as part of the safety plan
- The length of time the child will be cared for by people other than the parents
- The plan for supports for a child in the parents’ home
- How and when a parent or others may have access to the child
- The plan to ensure the child’s cultural, racial, linguistic and religious heritage while the child is being cared for
- Other matters relating to the child’s care or welfare
Who Can Ask for Mediation
Any party including the child can ask for mediation. Child protection mediation is voluntary so all the parties must agree to take part before it can go ahead.
Aboriginal Families and Child Protection Mediation
Child protection mediators work to create respectful and inclusive environments that meet the needs of participants.
This can include:
- Talking with the family to decide how to meet their cultural needs
- Inviting elders to take part
- Having a prayer or customary foods at the mediation
- Holding the session at a long house, friendship centre or other traditional place
There are also Aboriginal mediators available who come from many different communities. For more information see Understanding Child Protection Mediation for Aboriginal Families.
Who Can Take Part
Child protection mediation typically involves the child's parent(s) or guardian, a child welfare worker and the mediator. Other people who have significant ties with the child or family can also be involved. The mediator will work with the parent and child welfare worker to decide who will attend.
The may include:
- The child
- Other family or extended family members
- A lawyer
- Friends and advocates, or
- If the child is Aboriginal, representatives of Aboriginal community or delegated Aboriginal child and family services agency
Children and Youth
Children and youth can take part in mediation. Sometimes they will give their thoughts and views to someone to bring to the mediation, or may want to join in the mediation meeting.
The mediator may meet with the young person to explain what happens in mediation and ask for their input and if appropriate, arrange for them to join the mediation in a way that is comfortable for them.
Parents do not need a lawyer to mediate, but may bring one if they like. Contact legal aid for information on having a lawyer take your case.
How to Set Up a Mediation
When there is a decision to try mediation, a child protection mediator from the qualified child protection mediator list is contacted. Usually the child welfare worker or lawyer will know how to make a referral for mediation.
Either the parent or the worker may recommend a mediator, but everyone must agree on who is selected.
If there are questions about finding a mediator, such as an Aboriginal mediator or one with a special type of background, please contact the Child Protection Mediation Program.
Once selected, the mediator will get in touch with participants and make arrangements to meet with the parents and social worker separately before the mediation to:
- Talk about their side of the disagreement
- Help them list things that they want to discuss at mediation
- Explain how mediation works
The mediator will schedule and set up the mediation meetings. Sometimes there is another person-a mediation coordinator who helps contact people to schedule pre-mediation and mediation meetings.
Visit MediateBC for a list of qualified child protection mediators.