Many of the cases that wind up in District Court are based on warrants taken out when friends and family members are angry with each other. They are viewed as “nuisance cases” which take up the court’s time and most are perfect for mediation. For those who would lose their job, the opportunity to attend college or serve in the armed services if they ended up with a conviction, mediation enables those participants to follow their life goals.
A successful mediation is a win-win for everybody. It frees up the court’s time so it can deal with more serious matters. There is no winner or loser so each person gets what he or she wants and it’s cheaper. The charge for mediation is $60 plus a $20 administrative fee. If the case goes to court, courts costs are $180 to be paid by the losing party.
When a student has 10 or more unexcused absences, a petition may be filed by the school against the student and the parent which requires them to go to Juvenile Court. Truancy mediations are held before the student has 10 unexcused absences to determine the cause of the absences and what changes can be made so that the parents, child and school personnel don’t wind up in Juvenile Court.
Medicaid Appeal Mediations
When a person has Medicaid funded services reduced or terminated, that person has the right to appeal the decision. Cases are referred by the Office of Administrative Hearings to the Mediation Network who then refers the cases to the designated center. ReDirections mediates cases from Rockingham, Guilford and Caswell counties. Mediations are conducted over the telephone and participants include the petitioner, a medicaid representative and the mediator. In addition, service providers, family members, attorneys, etc. may also participate.
Workin' it out
Many entry-level workers lack basic interpersonal skills as well as experience in the workforce. "Workin It Out" is a structured classroom based curriculum which prepares employees for success in the workplace. Trained instructors use realistic stories, thought provoking exercises and guided discussion to help workers and managers develop the personal insights and professional skills needed to manage daily problems. Different versions for different populations include materials for: New or dislocated workers unfamiliar with the unspoken rules of the workplace; at-risk youth and young adults preparing for e first time employment; ex-offenders in transition from corrections t community and work; and hard to serve individuals with multiple barriers to employment. In addition, there is a curriculum for supervisors who are struggling to understand and manage challenging employees.
Thanks to the Wentworth Town Council which funds the program, Conflict Resolution skills are currently taught to all of the 9th graders who attend Rockingham High School. This is a 4.5 hour class which is taught over the course of 3 days. The goal is to enhance the students' ability to solve conflicts peacefully.
Participants who have been convicted of domestic violence charges and are court ordered attend the hour and a half class for 26 weeks. The class uses the Duluth curriculum which holds abusers accountable for their behaviors while teaching them to think critically and reflectively in order to change their behaviour. ReDirections works closely with probation to ensure that each officer is aware of his probationer’s attendance and class performance.
ReDirections will develop a personalized conflict resolution training to address the issues and concerns of specific groups. The goal is to help the participants understand ways they may successfully manage their conflict instead of allowing their conflicts to manage them. The training consists of looking at conflict as a positive opportunity to resolve issues by exploring effective communication styles, understanding and dealing with anger, practicing active listening and learning peer mediation skills through interactive role playing activities and exercises.