Mediation of Abuse, Neglect and Dependency Program

What Is the MAND Program?

The MAND program is designed to provide an opportunity for parties involved in a formal court filing of Abuse, Neglect and/or Dependency, to reach agreement on issues related to the filing without a formal trial. The purpose of the program is to give the parties themselves the opportunity to resolve the issues of the complaint. The mediator guides the communication process so that all participants have a chance to be heard. The mediator does not make any decisions for the participants, but is there to help them come to an agreement that works for all parties involved in the case.

Will All Parties Meet Together?

All parties will meet together at the beginning of the mediation session. Throughout the session, parties may remain together or meet individually with the mediator, as the mediator feels is appropriate.

What Issues Can Be Mediated?
  • Adjudication
  • Disposition
  • Access/Visitation for child(ren) in out-of-home placement
  • Placement of the child(ren)
  • Services for the parent(s)
  • Communication
  • Family conflicts
  • Case plan issues
  • Safety of the child(ren)

How Long Will Mediation Take?
The Mediation session can last from 3-4 hours, depending upon the issues to be mediated. Typically, only one session is needed to reach an agreement, though parties may choose to meet for more than one session, if necessary.

Who Will Attend Mediation?
Parties involved in the formal court filing are ordered to attend mediation by the Judge or Magistrate. All parties have the right to an attorney, who will also attend the mediation. Parties are given an official notice to attend mediation and are given ample time to arrange their schedules to be present for the mediation.

Parties usually include the following:

  • Parent(s)
  • Child(ren) only if the court orders
  • Attorney for parents or relative caregiver
  • Guardian ad Litem
  • County children's services caseworker
  • County attorney or Prosecutor
  • Relative caregivers
  • Other professionals or individuals involved in the case

What About Confidentiality?
The only information the mediator shares with the Court is the outcome of the mediation. The mediator is not permitted to share other information with the Court or give the Court a copy of the Agreement reached in mediation without the consent of all the participants. The only exception is that a mediator may be required to report new allegations of abuse or neglect of a child, threats of bodily harm and information about certain crimes.

The Mediated Agreement
An agreement reached in mediation must be voluntary. No agreement will be signed unless everyone participating in the mediation is satisfied with all statements contained in the agreement. Once the parties have reached an agreement and the agreement has been signed, all parties involved in the mediation will present the mediated agreement to the Judge or Magistrate. When the Judge or Magistrate accepts the mediated agreement, the agreement becomes a court order.

What Happens if No Agreement Is Reached?
If no agreement is reached, the parties will appear for the next scheduled court hearing. Information discussed during mediation cannot be used at the court hearing.