The Family Mediation program is based on a multi-session model, usually 2-3 sessions. A family may be referred to us by an outside agency such as the Probation Department, schools, community centers, churches, etc. Family members can also contact us directly to arrange for mediation. Once the necessary information on the family members is gathered (intake and assessment), the initial session is scheduled. During the 1st session, the most pressing issues are addressed between the participants (usually parent and child). These areas of concern may include curfew, school performance and attendance, social activities, improper language, chores, friends, etc. Very often a verbal agreement is reached which resembles a “peace treaty”. Our hope is that this agreement will alleviate at least some of the strain that may have been building within the family. A few weeks later, a 2nd session is held to review the effectiveness of the initial agreement and to examine any other issues that may be adversely affecting the family. A 3rd session may follow to clarify the details of any previous agreements and to establish some long-term goals. After the initial meeting, the mediator may encourage other “support” individuals to join in (such as a sibling, clergy, coach, friend, aunt/uncle, grandfather/grandmother, etc.).
Follow up phone calls are made to all clients involved in mediation. New Justice will contact the parties involved one month and three months after their case is closed to check on the status of the agreement, and to offer further mediation if needed.
The critical elements that make Family Mediation effective are:
- The session is guided by a professional mediator (trained by a certified New York State trainer.)
- All participants are given ample opportunity to speak and tell “their side of the story” without being judged or interrupted. It is the parties’ responsibility to decide on which solutions will work best.
- Mediated agreements are more satisfying and longer-lasting.
All mediations are confidential, voluntary, and free of charge.
Since most of our cases are referred to us by the Probation Department, schools and community organizations, New Justice remains in direct contact with the staff at these agencies. It is top priority for us to establish and maintain a healthy working relationship with these “partners”.
Some issues that are commonly addressed during Family Mediations are:
- Rules / Guidelines
- Recreation / Friends
- Chores / Curfew
- Alcohol / Substance Abuse
- School Work / Grades
- Behaviors / Attitudes
- Interpersonal Differences
To open a case, contact the office in your county:
Onondaga: (315) 471-4676
Oswego: (315) 343-8370
Cortland: (315) 886-2805