Parenting Act Mediator Information

Parenting Act Mediator Information

Nebraska Mediators and the Parenting Act

All mediators mediating under the Parenting Act are governed by the Act and related statutes, as well as guided by the Nebraska Standards and Ethics for Family Mediators . In addition, mediators who wish to be eligible for appointment by Nebraska's trial court judges to mediate Parenting Act cases must be approved by the Office of Dispute Resolution as a "Parenting Act mediator." The Policy for Approval of Parenting Act Mediators describes the approval process, mediator training and educational requirements, and mediator status and grievance process. An Ethics Advisory Opinion was released in 2013 discussing the approval of Lawyers in the State who may be mediating Parenting Act cases.

Criteria for approval as a Parenting Act mediator includes:

  • Meeting the training, educational, and apprenticeship standards for Parenting Act mediators as set forth in Section II of the Policy for Approval of Parenting Act mediators;
  • Adhering to the Nebraska Standards of Practice and Ethics for Family Mediators;
  • Demonstrating and maintaining an active status as a Parenting Act mediator; and
  • Disclosing any prior criminal convications or professional licensure suspensions or revocations. A child abuse and criminal background check will be conducted.

Parenting Act Mediator Application for Approval

Parenting Act Mediator Application for Approval
Parenting Act Mediator Application for Approval
  • Before applying, individuals interested in becoming an approved Parenting Act Mediator should read the following legislation and policies:
  • Applicants must complete a Parenting Act Mediator Approval Application through the Mediator Approval/Reporting Portal.
  • The following trainings have to be completed before an apprenticeship:
    • Basic Mediation Training
    • Family Mediation Training
    • Screening for Domestic Violence Workshop (Part of FMT training when sponsored by NMA)
  • OPTIONAL: To be approved as a Specialized Alternative Dispute Resolution (SADR) mediator, SADR training must be taken after Family Mediation Training, but could be taken concurrent with apprenticeship or taken after approval as a Parenting Act mediator.
  • As a recently trained and apprentice Parenting Act mediator, an applicant must have completed apprenticeships for at least three (3) Parenting Act mediations. Upon submitting the application, the applicant must email, mail, or fax the following documents within ten (10) days:
    • three (3) or more supervisory mediator assessment forms reviewing your apprentice mediation,
    • two (2) or more mediation participants' evaluations of the mediation cases,
    • three (3) or more mediator self-reflection forms,
    • and at least one (1) acceptable written parenting plan, as approved by a supervisory mediator.
  • As an experienced mediator, an applicant may request a waiver or adjustment to the apprenticeship requirements. For more information contact the ODR Program Analyst at nsc.mediation@Nebraska.gov or by phone at (402) 471-2911.
  • A child abuse and criminal background check will be conducted.

Training in Nebraska for Mediators

Training in Nebraska for Mediators
Training in Nebraska for Mediators

The Nebraska Mediation Association (NMA) is a statewide network of mediators which develops, implements, and sustains quality conflict resolution, mediation, and consensus building. The NMA promotes mediation, and supports and provides training and educational opportunities for all mediators in the State of Nebraska. Through this member network, NMA provides links, resources, and enhanced opportunities among mediation professionals.

For further training information, visit NMA's website.

Continuing Mediator Education

Requirements

Requirements
Requirements

All approved Parenting Act mediators will complete 8 hours of continuing education in family mediation (CME).

At least 2 of the 8 hours will be in the area of domestic intimate partner abuse, child abuse, or unresolved parental conflict, and at least 1 of the 8 hours will be in the area of ethics.

Required CME hours will be completed every 2 calendar years beginning January 1st of the odd numbered year and ending December 31st of the even numbered year.

The subject matter of CME may include:

  • General mediation skills
  • Mediation ethics
  • Family mediation issues
  • Family law relating to parenting plans
  • Domestic intimate partner abuse, child abuse, and unresolved parental conflict
  • Child development
  • Family systems theory
  • Psychological and other issues in parenting
  • Other matters relevant to parenting plan mediation

CME Approval Guidelines

CME Approval Guidelines
CME Approval Guidelines

Approved Parenting Act mediators may receive CME credit for courses provided by ODR-approved mediation centers, the Douglas County Conciliation Services, or other ODR-approved providers.ODR-approved providers may seek pre-approval by submitting an application 30 days before a continuing mediator education event, and should submit a list of attendees within 10 days of the training.

If the provider is not pre-approved, the mediator shall submit to ODR either a plan to attend or attended training application describing the course including dates, location, subject matters covered, instructors and their qualifications, and a copy of the program outline or brochure. ODR will advise the mediator in writing whether the course was approved and the number of CME credit hours for which it was approved.

Approved Parenting Act mediators are encouraged to keep records of the continuing education courses attended in their personal files. They are also encouraged to submit CME courses with ODR as they are completed throughout the year using the online reporting system which can be accessed using the link provided above.

Biennial Reporting Guidelines

Biennial Reporting Guidelines
Biennial Reporting Guidelines

Approved Parenting Act mediators shall submit a biennial report to ODR, indicating completion of required CMEs, Parenting Act mediation activity, and other relevant information.

Biennial reports shall be submitted every 2 calendar years using the online reporting system provided by ODR through the Mediator Portal. The deadline for submission occurs December 31st of every even-numbered year.

Mediator Competency for Affiliates of ODR-approved Mediation Centers

Ensuring Center Accountability

Ensuring Center Accountability
Ensuring Center Accountability
While ODR assists in the development of dispute resolution programs, the office also provides oversight regarding the quality of available services. ODR oversees and maintains the statewide ODR Policy Manual and ODR Training Institute Standards and Guidelines. Updates and revisions occur regularly and are achieved through joint input and involvement of the ODR Advisory Council and the centers. Accountability is built into the system at a number of levels. Every three months, the centers submit quarterly reports consisting of electronically transmitted updates of all cases, projects, and other services provided during the reporting period, as well as quarterly financial statements. ODR merges the data and prepares a statewide quarterly report of all system activity. These quarterly reports are reviewed by the State Advisory Council at regularly scheduled meetings. ODR and the centers meet regularly, to review activities and projects, exchange information, assess programming, and plan collaborative efforts. ODR establishes the criteria by which the centers are evaluated. A process of monitoring center-set goals in the areas of case management/development, program/project development, finances, outreach/education, center administration, and statewide system involvement is ongoing on an annual basis. Review teams comprised of State Advisory Council members and ODR schedule annual on-site visits to each center. Regular audits are also required of the centers. The ODR Advisory Council reviews all information and makes recommendations for the continued funding of each center.

Mediator Competency

Mediator Competency
Mediator Competency
ODR has worked collaboratively with the centers to develop and promote internationally respected training programs, with built-in apprentice opportunities for those seeking to practice their skills in Nebraska. Mediators are paired with experienced mediators to mediate cases. This builds their skills and provides a valuable service to the community. Centers also provide regular in-service activities for the continuing education of their mediators. ODR works with the centers to ensure compliance with the Standards and Ethics for Mediators, as established in the Dispute Resolution Act. Centers work in conjunction with ODR to establish evaluation and grievance procedures that allow those using mediation to report concerns to center directors, and allow ODR to monitor the satisfaction levels of those using mediation across the state. ODR encourages the use of co-mediation, both for skills building and additional oversight.

State and National Involvement

State and National Involvement
State and National Involvement
ODR convenes quarterly meetings of the ODR Advisory Council, participates in regular meetings with the center's staff, prepares an annual report to the state and assists with statewide conflict resolution system design efforts; for instance, within the Nebraska Judicial Branch and with the Nebraska Departments of Education and Health and Human Services. ODR also supports center efforts to integrate mediation into the legal system with referral procedures, citizen education, intake and case management, funding and monitoring. The office also provides a national connection for Nebraska within such organizations as the American Bar Association ADR Section, the State Justice Institute, the Policy Consensus Initiative, and the National Association for Community Mediation.