Juvenile Mediation Program – San Mateo Superior Court

Juvenile Dependency icon Project Name: Juvenile Mediation Program
Court: San Mateo Superior Court
   Documents: Statement of Information for Mediation Program
Confidentiality Agreement
Juvenile Dependency Brochure
Juvenile Delinquency Brochure Side 1
Mediation Referral Form Dependency
Mediation Referral Form-Internal 2014

Overview/Program Description:

The Juvenile Mediation Program provides mediation services to parties in both Juvenile Delinquency and Juvenile Dependency matters. The Juvenile Delinquency program conducts restorative justice mediations between youth offenders and their victims to establish accountability of the offender in addressing the harm to the victimized party. The Juvenile Dependency program conducts mediation for various conflicts between parents, extended family members, caregivers, dependents, siblings, service providers and social workers to support and preserve placements and relationships that support the best interests of the children. Both programs also provide Mediations between parents and their children specifically to address issues around communication, boundaries, friends and associates, activities and household relationships and responsibilities. We utilize specially trained volunteer mediators in each of the two programs and collaborate closely with Probation, Children and Family Services, CASA, Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, and Community Partner Agencies, such as Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center, North Peninsula Family Alternatives and Star Vista.

Program Benefits/Savings:

The Juvenile Delinquency Program often serves as a sole intervention for cases assessed in the probation department and/or in conjunction with the Victim Impact Awareness program, an interactive, collaborative intervention class involving probation, the Juvenile Mediation Program, and community based partner agencies, Star Vista and North Peninsula Family Alternatives. These cases, when successfully completed, are diverted from any further court action, saving court costs, staff and judicial time, prosecutorial and defense costs and time and community resources. Mediation referrals are also received post disposition to address issues of restitution and to repair personal and community relationships between the parties directly impacted by the crime. Participation in the Delinquency Mediation Program is voluntary for all participants. Client Satisfaction Surveys completed by the participants indicate a high rate of satisfaction with the mediation process and the outcome, leading to a positive perception of the justice system. Follow-up studies reflect a positive impact in reducing recidivism rates of participating youth offenders and resulting in the potential for long term improvements in community safety.

The Juvenile Dependency program helps to resolve difficult and challenging family dynamics in a non-adversarial forum that supports reunification for families. Mediation also provides facilitated opportunities to help reduce conflict between immediate and extended family members, caregivers, dependents and service providers to preserve placements for children pending re-unification, long-term foster placement or adoption. Mediation often results in the resolution of, or the narrowing of triable issues that would otherwise consume staff and judicial time necessary to conduct extended hearings and trials. Mediation participants have an opportunity to provide direct input into the plan. “Buy-in” of the participants through mediation supports long term solutions and limits the need for continuing litigation.