Unfulfilled promise – the underutilization of child protection mediation
It would seem natural and logical that child protection cases would lend themselves very well to mediation. As with family (custody/access) disputes, child protection disputes often involve a parent dealing with a difficult period in his or her life. The parents are generally extremely emotional and defensive toward the adverse party in the dispute. A court proceeding involving the Children’s Aid Society will often make a stressful situation worse. Mediation would appear to be a beneficial alternative to court. The potential for mediating child protection cases to the satisfaction of all parties is available. Yet mediation in child protection matters is still in it’s/its infancy and has failed to attract the popularity it deserves. The question is not so much why child protection mediation is failing to produces results, but rather why it is so under-utilized. The answers are complex and flow from the unique nature of child protection disputes.