The Children’s Court of the 13th Judicial District Court established an Abuse and Neglect Mediation Program with grant funding by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) and Children Youth and Families Department (CYFD) in Sandoval County in 2001, expanding into Valencia County in 2003 and Cibola County in 2004. Abuse and Neglect cases are mediated both prior to and after a legal case has been filed.
Mediation is a traditional “problem-solving” process conducted by trained, experienced mediators who may, but are not required to be, attorneys. This facilitative process focuses on clarifying positions and identifying the interests and unmet needs of the parties, often with the goal to preserve the relationship as well as resolve the case.
Mediators are appointed by the Court. The mediator meets with the parents, their attorneys, the guardian ad litem, the CYFD attorney, the social worker and other interested parties and assists the parties in achieving agreements regarding placement, visitation, treatment and permanency. The mediators receive specialized training and are paid by the court.
Mediation may be ordered by the Court or requested by any party involved in an abuse and neglect case at any time.