Published by CIP | February 23, 2023
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The Statewide Juvenile Dependency Mediation Program (JDMP) enjoyed a wonderful year in 2022. The program pursued its mission of shortening the time to permanency for children in Nevada's welfare system by providing dependency mediation services and making sure all participants in juvenile mediation were heard. Below, you will find a more detailed look at the great year we had and our efforts in order to improve practice and mediation outcomes.
On July 1, 2022, a diverse group of six new mediators were added to our panel. Each have unique backgrounds and experience, but one thing they share is a strong desire to support Nevada's children. We are proud to introduce Tom Bolan, Brian Brown, Karen Davis, Steven Hammonds, Keith Hightower, and Michael Stannard:
Tom worked for 40 years serving indigent, under-served, and in-crisis communities, families, and individuals. Tom spent 17 of those years with the Washoe County Public Defender's office as a Family Court Investigative Specialist, where he had the opportunity to become involved in dependency mediations. Tom brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our team, as well as an unwavering desire to help communities and families in need.
Brian has been practicing mediation for 13 years and has spent the past three years practicing in a full-time capacity. Prior to becoming a full-time mediator, Brian represented the Washoe County District Attorney's Office and diligently worked to ensure that the best outcomes were achieved in dependency cases. Currently, Brian serves as the Vice Chair on the Board of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) section of the State Bar.
Karen brings a vast amount of skill to our team with more than 18 years of mediation experience, and more than 20 years of work in the child welfare system. In addition to earning a master's degree in social work, Karen has demonstrated her passion and prowess for helping families through her work with the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS), serving both in the field and as a supervisor. Karen continues to use her expertise to make a positive impact in juvenile mediation.
Steven has a background in supporting vulnerable communities serving as a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, as well as a clinical social worker. Steven works with families that are involved with DCFS to positively impact their lives, providing critical services such as therapeutic groups and multidisciplinary team meetings. Steven has a strong desire to continue to make a difference by using his education and experience to promote the best outcomes for children in the welfare system.
Keith brings a unique blend of personal and professional experience to our program. Keith worked in the field of education and attained a Master's of Education, before entering law school and receiving a Juris Doctorate degree. As a single father and a mediator with a variety of family-oriented programs, Keith is well suited to help legal matters reach a fair resolution while successfully giving parties a voice in the outcome of their case.
Michael has a valuable foundation of public service experience having previously served as a mediator and family law attorney. Michael strongly feels that mediation and alternative dispute resolution is essential to the success of our State's judicial system and uses his rapport-building skills to succeed in such roles. Michael has since brought his experience and skill to JDMP in order to help families achieve permanency in a fair and timely manner.
- Between March 28 and April 1, 2022, JDMP held a 40-hour Dependency Mediation Training in Reno. Margaret Crowley with Margaret Crowley Mediation facilitated the training. This training is an extensive training that enabled JDMP to select new mediators.
- On April 20, 2022, JDMP participated in the Super Community Improvement Council (CIC) presentation held by Nevada's 11th Judicial District.
- On June 13, 2022, JDMP held an advanced mediation training in Las Vegas. The training was facilitated by the Mediator Training Center. The psychology of online mediation was taught by Jean Sternlight, founding director of the Saltman Center for Conflict Resolution. A deeper look into parents' perspectives on the child welfare court process was conducted by Audrey Beeson, Esq. and Frank Toti, Esq.
- Between September 21 and 23, 2022, JDMP was an active participant in the Court Improvement Program's CIC Summit, an event designed to facilitate statewide collaboration and training among dependency stakeholders.
- On October 26, 2022, JDMP assisted the Court Improvement Program with holding a Post-Traumatic Stress and Compassion Fatigue Training in Reno. The course instructor was Carl M. Dawson, M.S., MAC, Q-SAP, LPC. On October 27, 2022, JDMP assisted with the same training in Las Vegas.