Child Protection Mediation
Child protection mediation is a voluntary and confidential process of resolving disputes in which child protection social workers and the family work together with the assistance of a trained impartial third party (a Child Protection Mediator), to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. The mediator, who has no decision making power, begins by meeting with the participants individually to describe the process, gather information, address any safety concerns and prepare the core participants before the joint mediation session. The ‘facts’ of the matter (whether a child needs protection) are not mediated and the child (ren)’s immediate safety must be secured before mediation can proceed.
Child Protection Mediation has as its “core” participants the parent(s) as defined in the Family Services Act, the child protection social worker, the social worker supervisor (who attends or is available for consultation) and the Mediator. Optional participants may include child(ren), legal counsel, extended family, friends, foster parents, and elders, those recognized as support. The mediator works with participants to design a process that meets their needs in a culturally sensitive way.
The Department of Social Development is responsible for the delivery of Child Protection Services, however Child Protection Mediation Services are lodged with this. This maintains the independence and the integrity of the Child Protection Mediation Services.
Child Protection Mediation is a process that is available to all New Brunswick families with ongoing child protection involvement There must be at least one issue that is in dispute between the core participants which is amendable to child protection mediation. Additional referral criteria must be met.
Child Protection Mediators are in private practice and must meet specific qualifications to be eligible to be placed on the Child Protection Mediation Roster. The Roster is administered by a Child Protection Mediation Manager.
Referrals to Mediation can be made by contacting the Child Protection Mediation Manager and completing a Request for Mediation form. Parent(s) must sign a consent to release information form, giving permission for social workers employed with the Minister of Social Development, to disclose information to child protection mediation services. Please contact the Child Protection Manager at 1-888-236-2444 or 506-444-3444 for a copy of these forms.