Dependency Mediation is an opportunity for the parents, other family members, foster parents, professionals involved in investigating and/or assisting the family, guardian ad litem, any other parties and the lawyers involved in this case to have a generally confidential and privileged discussion moderated by an neutral and impartial mediator to see if they can voluntarily reach an agreement and submit the agreement to the court for approval instead of each party pleading their case to the court and asking the court to decide the case.
The issues involved often include whether:
1. the child or children should live with their parents or elsewhere on a temporary or permanent basis,
2. an evaluation and/or treatment/services should be provided for the child or children,
3. an evaluation and/or treatment/services should be provided for the parents,
4. court should be asked to adjudicate the child as dependent, terminate parental rights, dismiss the case, etc. and
5. any other agreements which are needed to address other issues involved in the matter.
Yes, these terms mean the same thing. In many states the term used is dependency mediation, however nationally the term most commonly used is child protection mediation. Other terms such as deprivation mediation, child welfare mediation, child abuse and neglect mediation, CHIPS (child in need of protection and services) mediation, and permanency mediation are also used in some jurisdictions outside of Florida.
Yes, a petition to terminate parental rights case can be referred to a dependency mediator by the court.
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