The teams at SCFS work closely with families and communities to protect children from abuse, neglect and harm. At all times, their number one concern is to ensure the child’s safety and well-being.
Mediation is one option available to help families through their planning process, and are available to families who are working with our agency. Mediation can help people to agree on what’s best for children without having to go to court. This is called child protection mediation.
A mediator is a trained neutral person who does not take sides or make decisions about a case. Their role is to bring parents, case workers and other individuals involved and make certain the discussion remains focused, organized and respectful. Mediators encourage people to find common interests and work towards a mutually acceptable solution that meets the child’s needs.
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 case workers.
Parents and case 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.
- Talking with the family to decide how to meet the child’s cultural needs.
- Other matters relating to the child’s care or well-being.
Aboriginal mediators are available, and come from many different communities. For more information see Understanding Child Protection Mediation for Aboriginal Families.
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.
Child protection mediation typically involves the child’s parent(s) or guardian, an SCFS case 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 case worker to decide who will attend.
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.