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47 Fam. Ct. Rev. 1 (2009)

handle is hein.journals/fmlcr47 and id is 1 raw text is: 


                                JANUARY 2009

                      IN  CHILD   PROTECTION DISPUTES

   Volume  47 of FCR  begins with a special issue that synthesizes the role of mediation
and conferencing  in child protection disputes and identifies a roadmap for its future.
The special issue was created by guest editors Bernie Mayer and Kelly Browe Olson, both
well-known  experts in the field and dedicated to its growth and development.
   Bernie is a professor at the Werner Institute for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution at
Creighton University and a partner at CDR Associates in Boulder, Colorado. He has worked
as a mediator, trainer, and researcher since 1980. Bernie was co-director of the Child
Protection Mediation Project, one of the first efforts to use mediation in child protection
cases. He was a principal organizer of the Child Protection Decision Making Think Tank,
described in later articles in this issue, that brought the child protection mediation community
together and was the genesis of this issue. Bernie is a widely published author. His works
include Dynamics of Conflict Resolution, Beyond Neutrality, and his newest book: Staying
With Conflict.
   Kelly is an associate professor and Director of Clinical Programs at the University of
Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. She was the Mediation Clinic
Director from 2001  to 2003. She mediates and supervises abuse, neglect, delinquency,
special education, custody and visitation, and small claims mediations. She also teaches
Alternative Dispute Resolution, Domestic  Violence, and Family  Law  courses. She is
a frequent speaker and trainer on mediation and children's legal issues.
   FCR  has published  many  articles and a previous special issue on mediation and
conferencing in child protection disputes. The importance of the subject has become ever
more  apparent to me because  of my membership   on the American  Bar  Association's
(ABA)  Youth  at Risk Commission. The Commission's  work brings me  into contact with
experts in foster care and, most importantly, with foster youth themselves.
   What  I have learned and relearned is that removing a child from his or her family is a
life-altering experience to be undertaken sparingly and carefully. Children removed from
their families become our collective responsibility. Their lives are changed, not due to any
fault of their own, but because we promise that society will make the best efforts to give
them a better path in life and put them on the road to a more promising future.
   Often, however, children removed from their families suffer more rather than have their
lives improved. Approximately 500,000 children are part of our nation's foster care system.
These  children are placed in foster care as a result of allegations that their parents or
caretakers have abused or neglected them or are simply unable to care for them. While
safer from abuse and neglect, their formative years are often characterized by movement
from placement  to placement, disruption of schooling, and the severing of ties with all

FAMILY COURT REVIEW, Vol. 47 No. 1, January 2009 1-6
c 2009 Association of Family and Conciliation Courts

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