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ADR: Paths to Settlement

Resolución Alternativa de Disputas: Vías a la conciliación

Child Welfare Professionals

Two young girls looking through booksThe Children's Court mediation program is a resource for CYFD staff, families, and the Courts. By providing a non-adversarial approach, the mediation program assists child welfare professionals in their work with families facing long-term issues such as substance abuse, domestic violence, poverty, and mental illness, and work together to reach permanency solutions for children. A trained professional mediator meets with the parents, attorneys, CYFD case workers and other interested parties and assists in achieving understanding and agreements regarding placement, visitation, treatment and permanency for children. Any party involved with abuse and neglect cases may request mediation.

Meetings and Training

The Children's Court Mediation Program offers training (as funding allows) for the professionals who participate in child abuse and neglect mediation, including CYFD staff, Respondent Attorneys, GALs, Youth Attorneys, CASA and others. Please check for meetings and scheduled training in your area.

How to Refer a Case to Mediation

All child abuse and neglect cases, from investigations (i.e., pre-legal, prior to a legal filing) to reunification (i.e., child is returned home) or the termination of parental rights, including open adoption may be referred to mediation.

Parents and their attorneys, CYFD, the GAL, Youth Attorney, CASA or the Court may request mediation. After a legal filing, any interested party, as defined by the New Mexico Abuse and Neglect Act (34A-4-1, NMSA), may request the court refer them to mediation.

All referrals (legal and pre-legal) for mediation are made directly to the regional coordinators by submitting a Case Referral Intake.

Legal cases require a court order, filed by the Children's Court Attorney (CCA). Endorsed copies must be mailed to the parties entitled to notice and the regional local coordinator. The orders include provisions requiring that all parties attend the mediation, a confidentiality statement, and the location, date and time of the mediation, if known. The regional coordinator can assist with ensuring an order for mediation is filed with the court.


Children's Court Mediation Program Contacts

For general information about children's court mediation, contact:

ADR Statewide Program Manager
Phone: 505-827-4960

Email: aocmsp@nmcourts.gov


Statewide Mediation Coordinator

Phone: 575-649-7655

Email: sr-gallegos@q.com


1st Judicial District Court

Gary Lombardo
Phone: 505-455-8231
Email: sfedgtl@nmcourts.gov

Can an attorney, client or other parties to the mediation appear telephonically?

It is preferable that all parties appear in person for mediation. Mediation works best when parties can benefit from face to face dialogue. Under exceptional circumstances, when telephonic participation is vital, the requesting party must contact the regional coordinator or the assigned mediator at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled mediation date to determine if telephonic participation is possible.

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Helpful Resources

Documents and Forms