Mediation in child welfare cases is a collaborative problem-solving process with the goal of reaching a consensus on how to resolve issues involving children who are alleged to be abused or neglected. An impartial, neutral, and specially trained mediator uses a process designed to facilitate constructive negotiation and communication amongst parents, attorneys, DFPS, and other parties. Mediation is used in child welfare cases throughout Texas and can be an effective and financially prudent method of resolving cases. One benefit of mediation is that it can enhance participants’ sense that they were treated fairly. Studies show that an enhanced sense of fair treatment increases both acceptance and compliance with court decisions. Though the use of mediation to resolve child welfare cases prior to trial has become widely accepted, the Children’s Commission is interested in exploring whether mediation is being underutilized in child welfare cases because it often occurs too late for the benefits of increased compliance to be realized.
Please visit the section below to learn more about our current projects or the Reports & Resources page for recent publications.
The Commission hosted a Round Table on Mediation in Child Protection Cases in February 2019 with the goal of creating a collaborative framework for understanding how mediation in child welfare cases can be improved. The Round Table brought together 45 mediators, attorneys, judicial leaders, subject matter experts, and policymakers from across Texas to discuss issues affecting mediation in child welfare cases. Participants exchanged experiences and ideas regarding how to create conditions for successful mediation, when and how to use mediation as an effective tool, as well as the challenges facing diverse jurisdictions in establishing effective mediation programs. The Mediation in Child Protection Cases Round Table Report was issued in February 2020.
Please visit the Reports & Resources page for more information.
The Mediation Workgroup was formed to analyze the issues that arose from the Mediation Round Table held in February 2019, to address the challenges and opportunities of virtual mediation, and to develop action items that could be implemented to raise the quality of mediation in child welfare cases across the state of Texas.