The pilot project for child protection mediation was completed in 1993 and services have continued to be offered since that time. The project had a formal evaluation and although it had a small sample size, reached the following conclusions:

1. "Most cases mediated resulted in agreements.

2. These agreements can and will effectively protect children.

3. Families who try the process like it.

4. Most often social workers were satisfied with the agreement made, were favorably impressed by the mediator and regarded mediation as an effective use of their time.

5. Mediation improves or helps sustain the working relationship between the social worker and the family in a significant proportion of the cases.

6. The mediators feel that mediation is clearly appropriate for use in child protection.

More specific observations were as follows:

The great majority (greater than 85 percent) of the families participating preferred mediation to meeting with the social worker alone. Amongst single mothers the figure was 100 percent.

79 percent of the families felt the solution worked out was fair and the same percentage felt that they "had a real say in working out the agreement".

Half of the families thought that the mediation process improved their working relationship with the social worker (21 percent felt there was no change).

Over 70 percent of the families were very satisfied or fairly satisfied with the agreement made in mediation. (Dissatisfaction often related to the fact that the terms of the agreement made contemplated continued Ministry involvement in the family.)

Of the social workers involved in mediation, 70 percent were very satisfied or fairly satisfied with the agreements made.

Social workers felt that mediation improved their working relationship with the family 35 percent of the time and did not improve 45 percent of the time (in 10 percent of the cases there was no further involvement and the question was not applicable in 10 percent of the cases).

Sixty-five percent of the social workers thought that the agreement reached was different from what would have been arrived at without mediation. Comments from social workers included "it broke the deadlock", "there wouldn't have been any agreement without going through this process", 'it provided the forearm to develop additional details and consequences'. "

 
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