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Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) – Understanding the Options

Available as a ½ day or full day format or as a 60-90 minute intensive presentation and designed for CMHO agencies, CAS staff and managers, Indigenous communities, community legal services and those working on family law matters. This workshop offers an overview of the four methods of child protection ADR available to families as an alternative to court; Family Group Conferencing, Child Protection Mediation, Indigenous Approaches/ODR and the 4th Option.

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) has been used in child protection cases informally for many years. It was not until 2006, when the Child and Family Services Act was amended to include the use of ADR in child protection cases, that ADR became formalized in Ontario. At the same time, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services began providing funding for this service. This workshop will provide participants with an understanding of ADR related to child protection. An overview of the policies, funding parameters and referral guidelines will provide participants with a better understanding of when to utilize this service in their own practice when they are working with families involved in child welfare, child protection, mental health and family law matters. The workshop will specifically review the services available in the Southwest Region of Ontario through ADR-LINK and how ADR can provide an alternative to resolving issues for families aside from court.

Beneficiaries of this workshop include:

This workshop is suited for: Children’s Aid Society staff and management, judges, lawyers, children’s lawyers, social workers, foster parents, Indigenous community agencies and members, families involved in child protection, ADR Practitioners and those working in children’s mental health, child welfare, child protection and family law matters

By the end of the workshop, participants will:

  • Understand ADR and its use in relation to child protection and child welfare
  • Understand the ADR-LINK program including referral process, catchment area, criteria for referrals etc.
  • Understand the Ministry of Children & Youth Services policies regarding child protection ADR
  • Understand the Child & Family Services Act section regarding child protection ADR
  • Understand how ADR can be a beneficial alternative to court for families involved in child protection
  • Understand the similarities and differences of the four methods of child protection ADR available in the Southwest Region including; Family Group Conferencing, Child Protection Mediation, Indigenous Approaches/ODR and the 4th Option
  • Understand and explore case examples of potential referrals and know when to refer
  • Understand the role of the neutral Practitioner, referring worker or agency, family participants, legal participants and others that are involved in an ADR
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