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2011

PPCDRESEARCHREPORT
KINGCOUNTYMEDIATIONPROGRAMASSESSMENT PHASEII

PermanencyPlanningforChildren Department NationalCouncilofJuvenileandFamily CourtJudges 7/6/2011

TheNationalCouncilofJuvenileandFamilyCourtJudges(NCJFCJ)headquarteredontheUniversityof NevadacampusinRenosince1969,providescuttingedgetraining,widerangingtechnicalassistance, andresearchtohelpthenation'scourts,judges,andstaffintheirimportantwork.Sinceitsfoundingin 1937byagroupofjudgesdedicatedtoimprovingtheeffectivenessofthenation'sjuvenilecourts,the NationalCouncilofJuvenileandFamilyCourtJudges(NCJFCJ)haspursuedamissiontoimprovecourts andsystemspracticeandraiseawarenessofthecoreissuesthattouchthelivesofmanyofournation's childrenandfamilies. FormoreinformationabouttheNCJFCJorthisreport,pleasecontact: NationalCouncilofJuvenileandFamilyCourtJudges PermanencyPlanningforChildrenDepartment UniversityofNevada P.O.Box8970 Reno,Nevada89507 (775)3275300 www.ncjfcj.org caninfo@ncjfcj.org 2011,NationalCouncilofJuvenileandFamilyCourtJudges MariKayBickett,J.D.,ExecutiveDirector,NationalCouncilofJuvenileandFamilyCourtJudges NancyB.Miller,Director,PermanencyPlanningforChildrenDepartment,NationalCouncilofJuvenile andFamilyCourtJudges ReportContributors AliciaSummers,Ph.D.,ResearchAssociate,PermanencyPlanningforChildrenDepartment,National CouncilofJuvenileandFamilyCourtJudges JoshPadilla,M.A.,ResearchAssociate,PermanencyPlanningforChildrenDepartment,NationalCouncil ofJuvenileandFamilyCourtJudges SteveWood,M.S.,ResearchAssociate,PermanencyPlanningforChildrenDepartment,NationalCouncil ofJuvenileandFamilyCourtJudges JenniferMcClellan,AdministrativeAssistant,PermanencyPlanningforChildrenDepartment,National CouncilofJuvenileandFamilyCourtJudges JesseRussell,Ph.D.,ResearchProgramManager,PermanencyPlanningforChildrenDepartment, NationalCouncilofJuvenileandFamilyCourtJudges

EXECUTIVESUMMARY
KingCountyMediationProgram TheKingCountyJuvenileCourtimplementedaMediationPilotProgramforjuveniledependencycases in2009inanefforttoimproveefficiencyofcaseprocessing.TheMediationPilotProgramoffers mediationpriortoadjudicationtofamiliescomingintothedependencycourtsysteminordertohelp resolveissuesrelatedtochildabuseandneglect.Thegoalistoallowpartiestoreachagreement regardingallegations,recommendedservices,placement,visitationandgeneralcaseplanninginanon confrontationalandsupportiveenvironment.TheMediationPilotProgrambeganin2009withcase referralsfromoneDepartmentofChildrenandFamilyServicesofficetotheKingCountyJuvenileCourt inSeattle,WA,andexpandedneartheendof2009toincludecasesreferredfromtheDepartmentof ChildrenandFamilyServicesofficetoMalengRegionalJusticeCenter inKent,WA.Inearly2010,a preliminaryassessmentofthepilotprojectwascompleted.ThePhaseIassessmentincludeddata collectiononasampleof50cases(22mediatedand28nonmediatedcases)thathadprogressed throughadjudication.PhaseIfound: Mediationimprovestimelinessofadjudication Mediationreducesjudicialworkloadbecausemediatedcasestendtohavefewerhearings Mediatedcasesresultinmoreservicesofferedtomothersbutnottofathers Mediationdoesnotappeartoinfluencecasecompliancebythetimethefirstreviewisheld ExpandingtoPhaseII TheresultsofPhaseIofthemediationpilotprogramstudydemonstratedthatmediationisausefultool forimprovingtheefficiencyofcaseprocessing.However,PhaseIwaslimitedinscope.Theassessment onlyconsistentlyincludedcaseinformationthroughcompletionoftheadjudicationhearingandonly comparedasmallnumberofcases.PhaseIIofthestudyexpandsuponPhaseIfindingsbyadding additionalcasestothesampleandfollowingcasesthroughthepermanencyhearingandcaseclosure (whenapplicable)inorderexaminethelongtermeffects. Thisassessmentreportsstatisticalsignificancewhereappropriate.1Itisimportanttonotedifferencesin mediatedcasesandnonmediatedcasesmayverywellreflectimportanttrendseveniftheyarenot significant.PhaseIIfound: Mediationincreasestimelinessofearlycaseprocessing Mediationreducesworkloadearlyinthecase Mediatedcasesaremorelikelytoreachagreement Childreninmediatedcasesaremorelikelytobeplacedwitharelativeasopposedtoplacedinfoster careatthereviewandpermanencyhearings
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Researcherstypicallyconsiderfindingsstatisticallysignificantifthedifferencesbetweenthemediatedandnonmediated groupswereunlikelytohaveoccurredduetochancealone.Forthisassessment,resultsareconsideredsignificantwhenp.10.

MediationStudies Mediationisapracticeofalternativedisputeresolutioninvolvinganeutralthirdpartywho facilitatesdiscussionamongparties,workswithpartiestowardresolvingcontestedcaseissues,and helpsexpeditecaseprocessing(Stack,2003).Thejobofmediatorsisnottomakedecisions;rather,their jobistohelptheinvolvedpartiesworktogethertoreachanamicablecaseresolution(Coleman& Ruppel,2007).Whenfirstintroducedinthejuveniledependencycourtsystem,somejudicial stakeholderswereapprehensive(Edwards,2009).However,publicationoftheRESOURCEGUIDELINES: ImprovingCourtPracticeinChildAbuseandNeglectCases(NationalCouncilofJuvenileandFamilyCourt Judges[NCJFCJ],1995)drewnationalattentiontotheuseofmediation,identifyingalternativedispute resolutionasabestpracticeinchildabuseandneglectcaseprocessing.Judgesthenbegan communicatingwithoneanotheraboutthebenefitsofmediationandimplementingitintheirown jurisdictions(Edwards).TheuseofmediationhasalsobeenencouragedbytheDepartmentofHealth andHumanServicesasanacceptedalternativetoadversarialcourthearings(Duquette,Hardin,&Dean, 1999). Mediationprovidesaneffectiveandefficientwaytoaddresscorechildprotectioncaseissues

(Dobbin,Gatowski,&Litchfield,2001;Thoennes,1997).Thisimprovedefficiencycanbeseenacross severalfacetsofthedependencyprocess.First,mediationcandecreasethetimebetweenkeycourt events,suchashearingsandreviews.Researchfindingsonmediationandtimeliness,however,are mixed.Insomeinstances,mediatedcasesreachadjudicationanddispositionfasterthannonmediated cases,butdidnotreachpermanencymorequickly(Gatowski,Dobbin,Litchfield,&Oetjen,2005). Conversely,inanotherstudy,mediatedcasestooklongertoreachdisposition,buttookshortertimesto reachpermanencythannonmediatedcases(CenterforPolicyResearch,1999).Otherstudiesof timelinessfoundthatmediatedcasesresolveearlierascomparedtononmediatedcases(Institutefor FamiliesinSociety,2003;OfficeoftheExecutiveSecretaryoftheSupremeCourtofVirginia,2002).As theliteratureonchildprotectionmediationisstilldeveloping,thesedifferencesaretobeexpectedand maybeexplainedbyavarietyofreasons:timingandreasonsformediation,differingsamples,location specificpractices,ordifferencesinanalyticmethodology,forexample. Mediationmayimprovecaseprocessefficiencybyreducingthenumberofcasehearingsand therebyreducingjudicialworkload.Mediationmayserveasameansofresolvingcontestedcaseissues withoutalengthyhearingortrial.Statisticsindicate,onaverage,between60to80percentofmediated casesreachfullagreementand90%orhigherreachsomeformofagreement(Kathol,2009;Kelly,2004; 4

OfficeoftheExecutiveSecretaryoftheSupremeCourtofVirginia,2002;ResolutionSystemsInstitute, 2010;Thoennes,2001;Trosch,Sanders,&Kugelmass,2002).Somesettlementsoccurwithinoneortwo mediationsessions,reducingtheneedforprotractedlegalproceedings(Kathol,2009;Officeofthe ExecutiveSecretaryoftheSupremeCourtofVirginia;Thoennes,2000).Inonestudy,mediatedcases werelesslikelytorequireacontestedsixmonthreviewhearing(Thoennes,1997). Mediatedcasesmayalsoreducethenumberofhearingsbyreducingthenumberof continuances.Mostcasessetfortrialwillexperienceatleastonecasecontinuance(Thoennes,2000), but,mediatedcasesmaybeabletoreduceoreliminatethisnumberbyeliminatingtheneedfor contestedhearings.Thisassertionisspeculative though,asempiricalresearchoncontinuancesin mediatedcasesislimited. Mediationmayalsoincreaseefficiencyby

Sixtytwopercent(62%)ofparents whoparticipatedinmediationwere foundtobeincompliancewiththe caseplancomparedto41%of parentswhodidnotparticipate.

betterengagingparentsintheprocess.Theuseofmediationasanalternativedisputeresolution techniqueprovidesameansofresolvingcaseissuesinarespectfulandopenforumasopposedtothe adversarialatmosphereoftenfoundincontestedhearings.Assuch,mediationoffersmanyadvantages tothefamiliesinvolvedinthecourtprocess.Mediationmayincreaseparentalengagementinthe juveniledependencyprocess.Insurveys,parentshaveindicatedthattheyhadmoretimetotalkabout importantissuesandsaidthattheyfeltthatotherslistenedandunderstoodwhattheysaid(Coleman& Ruppel,2007;Thoennes,2001).Parentswhofeelliketheyaremoreengagedintheprocessmaybe morelikelytocomplywithservicesbecausetheyfeelliketheyhaveavoiceintreatmentdecisions (Airey,1999).Therefore,mediationmayalsoimproveparentcompliancewithcourtorderedservices.In aSantaClaraCountymediationstudy,45%ofmediatedcaseshadfindingsoffullparentalcompliance and44%hadfindingsofpartialcompliance(Thoennes,2001).Incomparison,nonmediatedcaseshad findingsoffullcomplianceinonly16%andpartialcomplianceinonly28%ofthecases(Thoennes).Ina Coloradostudycomparing146mediatedcasesto48comparablecases,62%ofparentswhoparticipated inmediationwerefoundtobeincompliancewiththecaseplancomparedto41%ofparentswhodid notparticipate(CenterforPolicyResearch,1999). Finally,mediationmayimprovecostefficiencyforthecourt.Givencurrentbudgetconstraints, somecourtsareseekingalternativetechniquestohelpreduceadministrativecosts.Mediationisone suchtechniquethatcanfacilitateresolutionsthataremoreeconomical.InCalifornia,estimatesofthe financialbenefitofmediationcomparedtonormalcaseprocessingindicatedthatmediationcouldsave 5

thestatemillionsofdollars(Stack,2003).Thoennes(1998)foundthatsendingonecasetomediation everydaywouldcreateanannualsavingsof$545,225forSanFranciscowhenconsideringtheadded

Mediationcansavestates upwardsof39%percase.

costofsubsequentcontestedreviewhearings.Otherresearchers suggestthatmediationcansavestatesupwardsof39%percase (Thoennes,1999,2002).Stakeholdersperceiveincreasedsavingsdue

tothereducedamountoftimeandmoneybeingspentpreparingforcontestedhearings(Edwards& SantaClaraModelCourtTeamMembers,2002;ResolutionSystemsInstitute,2002;Thoennes,2001).In sum,researchindicatesthatmediationisavaluabletoolforengagingparentsandcanimprovecourt efficiency. KingCountyMediationProgram TheKingCountySuperiorCourtimplementedaMediationPilotProgramforjuvenile dependencycasesin2009inanefforttoimproveefficiencyofcaseprocessing.TheMediationPilot Programoffersmediationtofamiliescomingintothedependencycourtsystempriortoadjudicationin ordertohelpresolveissuesrelatedtochildabuseandneglect.Thegoalistoallowpartiestoreach agreementregardingallegations,recommendedservices,placement,visitationandgeneralcase planninginanonconfrontationalandsupportiveenvironment.TheMediationPilotProgrambeganin 2009withcasereferralsfromoneDepartmentofChildrenandFamilyServicesofficetotheKingCounty JuvenileCourtinSeattle,WA,andexpandedneartheendof2009toincludecasesfromtehsameDCFS officethatwereheardattheMalengRegionalJusticeCenter inKent,WA. StudyOverview Inearly2010,apreliminaryassessmentofthemediationpilotprojectwascompleted.ThePhase Iassessmentincludeddatacollectiononasampleof50cases(22mediatedand28nonmediatedcases) thathadprogressedthroughadjudication.TheresultsofPhaseIofthemediationpilotprogramstudy demonstratedthatmediationisausefultoolforimprovingtheefficiencyofcaseprocessing.However, PhaseIwaslimitedinscope.Theassessmentonlyconsistentlyincludedcaseinformationthrough completionoftheadjudicationhearingandonlycomparedasmallnumberofcases.PhaseIIofthe studyexpandsuponPhaseIfindingsbyaddingadditionalcasestothesampleandfollowingcases throughthepermanencyandcaseclosure(whenapplicable)inorderexaminethelongtermeffects.The assessmentofthemediationprogramwasdesignedtodeterminetheeffectsofmediationon timeliness,workload,parentalengagement,andcaseoutcomes.Inaddition,researchersrecordedrace 6

ofthechildinordertodetermineiftheeffectofmediationvariedbyrace.Specificresearchquestions arepostulatedbelow. Timeliness.Doesmediationpositivelyinfluencetimeliness? Doesmediationdecreasetimefrompetitiontocaseresolution? Doesmediationdecreasetimefromresolution(i.e.,adjudication)topermanencyhearing? Doesmediationdecreasetimefrompetitionfilingtocaseclosure?

Workload.Doesmediationpositivelyinfluenceworkload? Doesmediationresultinfewercontinuances Doesmediationresultinfewerhearings Doesmediationresultinmoreagreement?

Engagement.Doesmediationresultinbetterengagementofparties? Doesmediationaffectthenumberofservicesorderedforparents? Doesmediationincreaseparentscompliancewithcourtorderedservices? Doesmediationincreaseparentsparticipationincourthearings?

Outcomes.Doesmediationresultinbetteroutcomesforchildren? Doesmediationresultinbetterpermanencyoutcomesforchildren? Doesmediationaffectplacementofthechild?

Race.Arethereanyracedifferencesintheeffectivenessofmediation? Method ForPhaseIIoftheMediationevaluation,researchersbeganwiththe50casesthatwere identifiedinPhaseIandusedastandardizedcasefilereviewformtofollowthecasestoclosure(when applicable).Researchersalsoselectedanadditional25mediatedcasesand25nonmediatedcases openedin2010.Themediatedcaseswereidentifiedfromalistofmediatedcases.Researchersselected thefirst25new(i.e.,thatwerenotincludedinthePhaseIassessment)mediatedcases.Forthenon mediatedcases,researchersreceivedalistofcaseswithapetitionfiledin2010andrandomlyselected 25cases.Allcaseswerecodedforvariablesrelatedtoworkload,timeliness,engagement,and outcomes.TheDepartmentprovidedinformationontheraceofthechildforallofthecases.

Thisassessmentreportsstatisticalsignificancewhereappropriate.2Itisimportanttonote

differencesinmediatedcasesandnonmediatedcasesmayverywellreflectimportanttrendsevenif theyarenotsignificant. Results ComparabilityoftheTwoGroups Themediatedandnonmediatedgroupsinthissampledidnotshowanynotabledifferencesin casetypeswithsimilaritiesinallegations,initialplacements,andpresenceofpartiesattheinitial hearing.Thesimilaritybetweenthetwogroupsindicatesthatoutcomecomparisonsaremorelikelyto bevalid. CaseDemographics Thefinalsampleforthecurrentstudycompared58nonmediatedcases(56%)to45mediated cases(44%).Ofthemediatedcases,63%reachedfullagreement,20%reachedpartialagreementand 17%didnotreachagreement.Acrossallcases,theaverageageofthechildonthecasewas6,withan equalnumberofmaleandfemalechildren.ThemajorityofcasesinvolvedCaucasianchildren(53%), followedbyAfricanAmerican(18%),Hispanic(14%),NativeAmerican(8%),andAsian(7%)children.The mostcommonpresentingprobleminthecasewassubstanceabuse,whichoccurredin48%ofcases. Therewasnodifferenceinthecasedemographicsbetweenmediatedandnonmediatedcases.

Race of Child

8% 14%

7% Caucasian African American Hispanic 53% Native American Asian

18%

Researcherstypicallyconsiderfindingsstatisticallysignificantifthedifferencesbetweenthemediatedandnonmediated groupswereunlikelytohaveoccurredduetochancealone.Forthisassessment,resultsareconsideredsignificantwhenp.10.

Timeliness Mediationappearstohaveapositiveeffectonhearingtimeliness.Thestudycalculated timelinessoutcomesbasedonthedatetheadjudicationhearingwasheldincomparisontothedate scheduledatthefirsthearing(atthe72hoursheltercarehearing,thecaseisscheduledforits subsequenthearingsupthroughadjudication).Onaverage,mediatedcasesreachedadjudication approximately6daysbeforethescheduleddate,andnonmediatedcasesreachedadjudication9days afterthescheduleddate.Thisfindingisstatisticallysignificant. Researchersalsocalculatedtimelinessoutcomesfrompetitionfilingtoadjudication. Washingtonstatuterequiresthatcasesreachadjudicationwithin75daysofthepetitionfiling WashingtonRev.Code13.34.070).Ofthestudysample,84percentofmediatedcasesreached adjudicationwithinthisperiod,comparedtoonly66percentofnonmediatedcases. Incontrast,mediationhadnoeffectontimetopermanencyhearing.However,themajorityof bothmediated(95%)andnonmediated(100%)casesheldapermanencyhearingwithin12monthsof outofhomecare,asstatutorilyrequired.Onaverage,mediatedcasesheldapermanencyhearingwithin 240daysofadjudication,nonmediatedcasesheldapermanencyhearingwithin219daysof adjudication. Workload Mediationalsoappearedtoaffectworkloadinapositiveway.Mediatedcaseshadfewer continuances,onaverage,acrossthelifeofthecase(1.1)comparedtononmediatedcases(1.8). Mediationalsoseemedtoreducethenumberofhearings.Fourteenpercentofmediatedcaseshad achievedcaseresolutionpriortooronthesamedayasthescheduled30dayhearing,whicheliminated theneedforsomefuturehearings.Fornonmediatedcases,only6%reachedcaseresolutionbeforethe scheduled30dayhearing. Further,51%ofmediatedcases
60%

Percentage of Cases that Reached Resolution Prior To/On Scheduled Hearing Dates

reachedcaseresolution(i.e., achievedadjudicationorder) priortooronthesamedayas thescheduledpretrial conference.Thisnumberwas

50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Scheduled 30Day Hearing Scheduled PTC Mediated Non-Mediated

fivetimesgreaterthanthe10%ofnonmediatedthatachievedcaseresolutionpriortothescheduled pretrailconference. Agreement/Stipulation Theevaluationalsoexaminedagreement/stipulationrates.Caseresolution3isachievedinone oftwoways:(1)partiescometoastipulatedagreementwherebythechargedpartyagreestothe allegations(allorpartdependingontheagreement),or(2)thecasemustbeheardatacontestedtrial byajudgeafterwhichthejudgedecideswhethersomeoralloftheallegationsaretrueorwhetherto dismissthecase.Casesthatresultinanagreementdonotrequireafactfindinghearingwhereall partiesmustparticipate;instead,thejudgereviewsandsignstheagreedorders.PhaseIIresults indicatedthatmediatedcasesweresignificantlymorelikelytohaveagreedordersforadjudication. Specifically,in93percentofthemediatedcases,partiescametoanagreementoncaseallegationsand serviceplancomparedto67percentofthenonmediatedcases.Statedanotherway,only7%of mediatedcaseswenttotrial,whereas,33%ofnonmediatedcasesresultedinacontestedtrial. Engagement NumberofServicesOrdered.Thenumberofservicesorderedformotherstendedtodifferfor mediatedandnonmediatedcases.Inthemediatedcases,theorderedserviceplanincludedanaverage ofnearlyfourservicesforthemother.Inthenonmediatedcases,theorderedserviceplanincludedan averageofjustunderthreeservicesforthemother.Giventhatcaseandallegationcharacteristicswere similarformediatedandnonmediatedcases,itisappearsthatmediationalonecontributedtomore servicesbeingorderedformothers. Servicesforfathers,incontrast,werenotnoticeablydifferentbetweenthemediatedandnon mediatedgroups.Inthemediatedcases,theorderedserviceplanincludedanaverageofoneservicefor thefather,andsimilarlyfornonmediatedcasestheorderedserviceplanincludedanaverageofjust overoneserviceforthefather. ComplianceFindings.Compliancewasmeasuredbyexaminingajudicialfindingofno,partialor fullcomplianceatthefirstreviewandpermanencyhearings.Themediatedandnonmediatedgroups didnotshowanymajordifferencesincaseplancomplianceattherevieworpermanencyhearing.
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Forthisstudy,researchersonlyexaminedthefirstparenttoreachcaseresolutionandcodedthatparentsfactfindingfor dateandagreement.

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Researchersusedaregressionmodeltoestimatetheinfluenceofmediation,servicesordered,and parentspresenceonafindingofcompliancewiththecourtorderedcaseplan.Astocompliance findingsformothersandfathers,mediationdidnothaveastatisticallysignificanteffectonthelikelihood ofacompliancefindingbythejudge.However,forthemothers,thenumberofservicesorderedwasa strongnegativepredictorofacompliancefinding.Thatis,findingsofcompliancewerelesslikelyfor motherswhowereorderedmoreservices.Inaddition,findingsofcomplianceweremorecommonfor motherswithfewerservices.Thiswastrueforboththemediatedandnonmediatedgroups.Thisfinding issignificantatthe0.05level. ParticipationinHearings.Anothermeansofassessingeffectivenessofengagingpartiesisto examinepresenceofthepartiesatkeycourthearings.Forthisassessment,presenceofthepartiesat the72hoursheltercare,30Daysheltercare,adjudication(whennotagreedupon),firstreview,and firstpermanencyhearingwerecoded.Apercentageoftimepresentvariablewascalculatedbasedon thenumberoftimestheparentappearedatahearingdividedbythenumberofkeyhearingsthat occurred.Percentagesrangedfrom0to100%.Overall,mothersappearedat67%ofthehearingsand fathersappearedat41%ofthehearings.Motherspresencewasidenticalformediatedandnon mediatedcases.Fatherspresencewasslightlyhigherformediatedcases(43%)ascomparedtonon mediatedcases(38%).Thisdifferencewasstatisticallysignificant. Outcomes ChildrensPlacement.Mediationappearstohavesomeeffectonchildrensplacement, particularlyintermsofrelativeplacementatthereviewandpermanencyhearingstageofthecase. Childrenwithmediatedcasesweremorelikelytobeinrelativeplacements,andlesslikelytobeinnon relativefostercarethanchildrenwithnonmediatedcases.Thesenumbersapproached(butdidnot quiteachieve)statisticallysignificance,butdodemonstrateaconsistenttrend.

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Placement
80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Parent Relative Foster Parent Relative Foster Parent Relative Foster Care Care Care Adjudication Review Permanency

Mediated Non-Mediated

CaseOutcomes.Only27(outof103)caseshadreachedcaseclosureatthetimeofthe assessment.Oftheseclosedcases,mediatedcasesandnonmediatedcasesdidnotdiffersignificantlyin caseoutcomes.Themajorityofbothcasetypesthathadreachedcaseclosure,closeddueto reunificationwiththeparent.Anassessmentofsafety(measuredasanewpetitionfiledfollowingthe originalpetition)foundnodifferenceinmediatedandnonmediatedcases.Becausethesamplesizeof casesthathadachievedcaseclosurewassosmall,itisimpossibletoexamineanydifferences statistically. Race Theracialmakeupofthemediatedandnonmediatedcaseswassimilar.Aracevariablewas includedinalloftheanalysesthatcomparedWhite/Caucasianchildrentominoritychildren.4Results fromtheanalysesrevealedthattherewerenoracialdifferencesintheeffectivenessofmediation.That is,bothCaucasianandminorityfamilieshadsimilaroutcomesontheaboveanalyses.Onesmall(non significant)differencedidappear.Caucasianfamilieswereslightlymorelikelytonotreachagreementin mediation;whereas,minorityfamiliesweremorelikelytocometopartial(insteadoffull)agreementin mediation.

Race could not be examined by each racial group separately because of the small number of cases.

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Racial Differences in Level of Mediation Agreement Reached


80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 No Partial Full

Minority Caucasian

Implications

TheKingCountyJuvenileCourtMediationPilotProgramfindingssuggestthatmediationhasa positiveeffectontimelinessandjudicialworkload.Mediatedcasesreachedadjudicationfaster,and tendedtoresultinfewerhearingsbecausetheyreachedstipulatedadjudicationpriortoscheduled30 day,pretrial,oradjudicationhearings.Ultimately,theresultwasthatthatjudgesheldfewerhearings.

TheKingCountyJuvenileMediationProgramoffersimprovedefficiency ofcaseprocessingwithoutanydetrimenttoeffectiveness.
Mediationalsoappearstopositivelyinfluenceplacement.Mediatedcaseshavemorerelative placementsandfewerfostercareplacementsatreviewandpermanencythannonmediatedcases.This maysuggestthatmediationresultsingreaterdiscussionofpotentialrelativeplacements,which increasestheprobabilitythatachildcanbeplacedinamorefamiliarrelativeplacementasopposedto strangerfostercareplacements. Conclusion Resultsofthisassessmentindicatethatmediationiseffectiveinincreasingtimelinessofcase 13

processingearlyinthecase,therebyreducingtheworkloadofjudgesandcommissionersinKingCounty. Mediationdoesnotappeartohavelongtermeffectsonthehearingtimelinessinthecase,atleastnot intermsoftimelinesstorevieworpermanencyhearings.Itdoesappearthatmediationaffects placementatreviewandpermanencyhearings,resultinginmorerelativeplacementsandfewerfoster careplacements.However,nodifferenceswerefoundintimelinesstopermanencyorcompliancewith thecaseplan.Whilethisindicatesnodetrimenttotheeffectivenessofmediation,itisnotconsistent withothermediationstudiesthatnoteamarkedimprovementincompliance.Webelievethismaybea resultofindividualdifferencesinperceptionsofthemediationprocess.Thenextphaseinthisresearch hasalreadybegun.PhaseIIIexaminesdifferencesinperceptionsofmediation.Parentsaresurveyedat theconclusionofthemediationprocessandaskedquestionsconcerningtheirengagementinand satisfactionofthemediationprocess.Otherstakeholdersarealsosurveyedtodeterminetheir perceptionofthemediationprocess.Thisassessmentwillallowresearchersamoreindepth examinationofparentsengagementinthemediationprocessandwillalsoallowforfurtheranalysesto determineifengagedparentshavedifferentoutcomesthanthosewhoarelessengaged(i.e.,better caseoutcomes,increasedcaseplancompliance,reducedreentryintocare).

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NationalCouncilofJuvenileandFamilyCourtJudges.(1995).RESOURCEGUIDELINES:Improvingcourt practiceinchildabuse&neglectcases.Reno,NV:NationalCouncilofJuvenileandFamilyCourt Judges. OfficeoftheExecutiveSecretaryoftheSupremeCourtofVirginia(2002).Childdependencymediation report.Retrievedfrom http://www.courts.state.va.us/courtadmin/aoc/djs/programs/drs/mediation/resources/child_d ependency_mediation_report.pdf ResolutionSystemsInstitute(2010).Childprotectionmediation:Anevaluationofservicesprovidedby CookCountyjuvenilecourt.Chicago,IL:Author. Stack,K.(2003).Informationpacket:Childwelfaremediation.NewYork:NationalResourceCenterfor FosterCare&PermanencyPlanning. Thoennes,N.(1997).AnevaluationofchildprotectionmediationinfiveCaliforniacourts.Familyand ConciliationCourtsReview,35,184195. Thoennes,N.(1998).Dependencymediation.ReporttotheSanFranciscoFoundation,March1998. Denver,CO:CenterforPolicyResearch. Thoennes,N.(2000).Dependencymediation:Helpforfamiliesandcourts.JuvenileandFamilyCourt Journal,51(2),1322. Thoennes,N.(2001).DependencymediationinOregonandtheNation.ReportpreparedfortheOregon JudicialDepartmentJuvenileCourtProgramsDivision,March2001.Denver,CO:Centerfor PolicyResearch. Thoennes,N.(2002).HamiltonCountyjuvenilecourtpermanentcustodymediation.Denver,CO:Center forPolicyResearch. Trosch,L.A.,Sanders,L.T.,&Kugelmass,S.(2002).Childabuse,neglect,anddependencymediation pilotproject.JuvenileandFamilyCourtJournal,53(4),6777.

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