Frequently Asked Questions

What is mediation?

Mediation is a process in which an impartial third party, a mediator, helps parties attempt to resolve their disputes in a private setting. The mediator focuses discussions on the disagreements and circumstances that caused the dispute between the parents and the county administrative agency.

Mediators encourage discussion, make suggestions, look at the parties interests, and help parties try to reach a mutually agreeable solution. The mediator is not a decision-maker.  Mediation is voluntary and free to parents.  The cost of the mediator is paid by state funds.

Why use mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary process that allows parties to work together in an effort to resolve conflict in a private and confidential setting. Mediation allows parents and county representatives to express their views and concerns. Research on mediation has shown that it is less adversarial, and more time and cost effective than formal hearings. However, mediation does not delay or deny the right to a hearing. While the dispute is being resolved, the child must continue to receive early intervention services unless the parents and the county administrative agency agree otherwise.

Who are the mediators?

Mediators are chosen from a list of skilled professionals who have completed special education, early intervention, and mediation training.   Mediators who are not on this roster may be used, but at the parties' expense.

What kinds of disputes are appropriate for mediation?

Mediation may be used when disputes arise concerning the determination of eligibility, the evaluation or assessment process, or the provision of appropriate early intervention services.

How is mediation initiated?

Either a parent or a county administrative agency, or both, may request mediation. The process begins by completing a Request for Mediation form and mailing, faxing, or scanning and emailing it to the Birth to 3 Mediation System administered by Burns Mediation Services.

Who may participate in the mediation sessions?

The parents and two representatives from the county administrative agency of the Birth to 3 Program may participate. With the consent of both parties, others may also participate.

What happens at the end of mediation?

If an agreement is reached, the agreement is put into writing and signed by both parties. Implementation and enforcement of the agreement is the responsibility of both the parties.

If an agreement is not reached, the mediator and the parties will maintain the confidentiality of the mediation session. The parents may request a formal hearing before an impartial decision-maker who will make a decision about the dispute.

The discussions in mediation may not be used as evidence in any subsequent impartial hearings or civil proceedings. The fact that a party did not consent to mediation or withdrew from mediation or that the mediation did not result in a resolution of the dispute can not affect the judgment of impartial decision-makers.

Any discussions that occur during mediation sessions are confidential.

Mediators encourage discussion, make suggestions, and help parties come to a mutually agreeable solution. The mediator is not a decision-maker.

The mediator does not impose a decision, but rather helps the parties identify issues, generate options and create their own solutions.