6 Regional Community Mediation Centers Serve the Courts and Probation

6 Regional Community Mediation Centers Serve the Courts and Probation

Thursday, February 13, 2020

With the passage of the Dispute Resolution Act in 1991, six private non-profit centers were formed and approved by the Office of Dispute Resolution (ODR). These six centers provide services to the Courts and Probation, as well as to citizens, businesses and organizations, and communities across Nebraska. Each center is staffed and has a cadre of trained mediators and facilitators that participate in regular continuing education and come from a variety of professional backgrounds (e.g., attorneys, counselors, educators, etc.).

No person shall be denied mediation services through these centers solely because of an inability to pay the fee. A waiver or reduced fee will be given based on income verification.Additionally, the centers travel throughout their areas to provide services where needed. A goal is to remove barriers so that all citizens in Nebraska have access to mediation.

The centers provide a wide variety of services to the Courts through a contract with ODR. The centers provide neutrals to facilitate child welfare and juvenile justice conferences, including Family Group Conferences, Pre-Hearing Conferences, Pre-Hearing Permanency Reviews, Pre-Hearing Termination of Parental Rights, and Victim Youth conferencing. When a center neutral is facilitating, professionals can focus on their role while the neutral manages the process and provides a space for participants to work together to develop a plan. Additionally, centers can assist the Court in determining the appropriate process to be used to achieve optimal results.

The centers also provide mediation to parents when developing a parenting plan. The Centers, as well as Douglas County Conciliation and Mediation Services, are the only providers that are required to provide services to parents on a sliding fee scale, and will not deny service due to a person’s inability to pay. As required by the Parenting Act, assessments are conducted to determine the appropriate process (joint or separate sessions) to ensure the safety and self-determination of the parties.

Contact information for the centers is available on the Judicial Branch website. To learn more about services, contact a center directly or ODR at nsc.odr@nebraska.gov.