Family Mediation can help family members find solutions for issues such as:
- Social activities/friends
- Alcohol/substance abuse
- Interpersonal differences
The Family Mediation program focuses on just what the title implies – the family. Each member of the family has an impact, to some degree, on the others. The goal of this program is to find new ways of interacting so that conflict and stress are reduced. Communication and decision-making are two areas that are targeted when changes are to be implemented.
A family may be referred to New Justice Services by an agency such as the Probation Department, school, community center, or church. Family members are welcome to contact New Justice Services directly to arrange for mediation.
Family Mediation usually involves two or three sessions. During the first session, the most pressing issues between the participants – usually parent and child – are addressed. Areas of concern may include curfew, school performance and attendance, social activities, improper language, chores, and friends. All participants are given ample opportunity to speak and tell their side of the story without being judged or interrupted. Very often, a verbal agreement is reached. The goal of this agreement, which resembles a “peace treaty,” is to alleviate at least some of the strain that may have been building within the family. It is the parties’ responsibility to decide on the solutions that will work best.
A few weeks later, a second 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 third session may follow to clarify the details of any previous agreements and to establish long-term goals. After the initial meeting, the mediator may encourage other individuals to join in (such as a sibling, clergy, coach, friend, aunt/uncle, or grandfather/grandmother).
New Justice Services will contact all parties involved in Family Mediation 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.
Since most of our cases are referred to us by the Probation Department, schools and community organizations, New Justice Services remains in direct contact with the staff at these agencies. It is a top priority for us to establish and maintain a healthy working relationship with these partners.
To discuss mediation as an option for resolving a family dispute, contact the New Justice Services office in your county:
Onondaga: (315) 471-4676
Oswego: (315) 343-8370
Cortland: (315) 886-2805