Alameda County/Dependency Mediation Program
Families & Children’s Bureau
Superior Court of California
600 Washington Rm. 4060
Oakland, CA 94607
|General Email Address||
The primary purpose of the court’s involvement in child abuse and
neglect cases is preserving and helping families. Yet the adversarial
nature of court proceedings in these non-criminal cases can retraumatize children and undermine families.
Dependency mediation is a program of the Juvenile Court that provides
an alternative to contested hearings and allows for the parents and other
parties to more directly participate in the resolution of issues. The
mediator, parents, child welfare worker, and other participants meet in a
neutral setting to express ideas and concerns, explore solutions and
create binding agreements. With the judge’s review and approval, the
written agreements become court orders.
Encouraging shared problem solving while preserving the court's
authority to protect children provides an early non-adversarial resolution
of cases of child abuse and neglect. Once a case is mediated, it is often
easier to resolve any future differences that arise because the parties
are committed to working together on behalf of the child.
Participants typically include:
• The child welfare worker or other agency designee. Most often the
assigned worker attends, unless it would be detrimental to the mediation
process. In this case, another party could be designated at the discretion
of the mediator.
• The child/ren’s attorney
Inclusion of the following is at the stipulation of the parties, order of the court,
or discretion of the mediator:
• The child/ren, if over 12, and with the permission of his/her attorney.
(There is a separate protocol for determining how a child will participate)
• Other family members
• Foster parents
• Related Service providers
• CASA volunteer
• Any other interested party other than attorneys whose involvement may
facilitate decision making or resolution
How are cases referred for mediation?
Any party, at a court hearing, may request mediation to resolve a
contested issue, i.e., placement, case plan component, visitation, etc.
The court may also decide to refer a case for mediation as a first
alternative to a contest hearing.
The parties may also all agree to mediation (A Stipulation) and the
mediation program can work to arrange a meeting.
A child welfare worker, or a party’s attorney can also make an Ex
Parte application to the court.
|Hours||Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m|
|Nearby Bus Lines|
|Nearby BART Stops|
This organization is listed in the Youth Services Directory.