Juvenile Court Mediation
Mediation is available for the following matters within the jurisdiction of Juvenile Court: disputes regarding parenting (such as custody and visitation), status offenses including unruly behavior, delinquency, and school attendance (truancy). The mediator is an employee of the Ashtabula County Court system whose background and training focus on assisting families in developing cooperative ways to resolve disagreements. For mediation involving status offenses, delinquency and truancy, the Court also employs trained Family Intervention Specialists. These individuals have the responsibility of maintaining contact with the families for up to 90 days to provide support and assistance in maintaining the agreement reached in mediation.

Although the judge or magistrate usually makes these referrals to the Joint Court Mediation Project, parents may also initiate mediation on their own. In these situations it is up to both parties to contact the mediation program before an appointment will be scheduled.

Parties typically attend mediation sessions together and without counsel, though separate meetings are at times advisable and will be arranged by the mediator. During the mediation process, the parties are encouraged to relate the issues they believe to be important for consideration and to listen to information and contributions from the other party. Ideas relating to the future parenting of their children as well as proposals for settlement of other issues important to the family will be exchanged and evaluated by the participants together and in private meetings.

When an agreement has been reached, a memorandum of this agreement will be prepared and given to the parties for their review and review by their attorneys. This agreement may be filed with the Court if the parties wish to do so.

Status Offenses & Delinquency
In cases in which juveniles have had an initial complaint filed regarding their behavior, the juveniles and their parents participate in a mediation session designed to provide an opportunity for the family to decide on how those matters might be resolved constructively.

In the session the mediator helps parent and child discuss their mutual concerns and develop an agreed plan to address the specific behavior in a way that is satisfactory to both parties. As in many other types of mediation the agreement is written by the mediator and signed by child and parent. If the matter has been referred through the Court, juveniles who follow through with mediated agreements can avoid further Court intervention, including a penalty or court record.

School Attendance
Concerns involving truancy are referred by school districts through a similar process to unruly behavior and delinquency complaints (above). The goal of mediation is to identify what can be done to make future court involvement unnecessary.

School personnel such as attendance officers or administrators often participate in the mediation session to assist the family in identifying specific steps child and parent might take toward consistent school attendance. The mediator prepares an agreement that details what all parties agree will be helpful in achieving that goal. The family members sign the agreement and keep a copy so everyone is clear on how progress will be made toward improvement.