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The Nebraska Mediation Association (NMA) is a statewide network of mediators which develops, implements, and sustains quality conflict resolution, mediation, and consensus building. The NMA promotes mediation, and supports and provides training and educational opportunities for all mediators in the State of Nebraska. Through this member network, NMA provides links, resources, and enhanced opportunities among mediation professionals.
The Office of Dispute Resolution does not directly work with private mediators, with the exception of Parenting Act Mediators (see below), but will respond to basic questions in the field. Persons involved in private practice of mediation should be familiar with state statutes and court rules regarding mediation, as well as relevant professional codes of ethics regarding the practice of mediation. Private mediators may also contact the Nebraska Mediation Association
for more information.
All mediators mediating under the Parenting Act
are governed by the Act and related statutes, as well as guided by the Nebraska Standards and Ethics for Family Mediators
. In addition, mediators who wish to be eligible for appointment by Nebraska's trial court judges to mediate Parenting Act cases must be approved by the Office of Dispute Resolution as a "Parenting Act mediator." The Policy for Approval of Parenting Act Mediators
describes the approval process,mediator training and educational requirements, and mediator status and grievance process. An Ethics Advisory Opinion
was released in 2013 discussing the approval of Lawyers in the State who may be mediating Parenting Act cases.
Please click the link below to apply for approval as a Parenting Act Mediator:
Please contact Jay Wilson
, Parenting Act Administrative Assistant, Office of Dispute Resolution, via email or via phone at 402-471-2911 with any questions or concerns regarding your application.
ENSURING CENTER ACCOUNTABILITY
While ODR assists in the development of dispute resolution programs, the office also provides oversight regarding the quality of available services. ODR oversees and maintains the statewide ODR Policy Manual and ODR Training Institute Standards and Guidelines. Updates and revisions occur regularly and are achieved through joint input and involvement of the ODR Advisory Council and the centers.
Accountability is built into the system at a number of levels. Every three months, the centers submit quarterly reports consisting of electronically transmitted updates of all cases, projects, and other services provided during the reporting period, as well as quarterly financial statements. ODR merges the data and prepares a statewide quarterly report of all system activity. These quarterly reports are reviewed by the State Advisory Council at regularly scheduled meetings. ODR and the centers meet regularly, to review activities and projects, exchange information, assess programming, and plan collaborative efforts.
ODR establishes the criteria by which the centers are evaluated. A process of monitoring center-set goals in the areas of case management/development, program/project development, finances, outreach/education, center administration, and statewide system involvement is ongoing on an annual basis. Review teams comprised of State Advisory Council members and ODR schedule annual on-site visits to each center. Regular audits are also required of the centers. The ODR Advisory Council reviews all information and makes recommendations for the continued funding of each center.
ODR has worked collaboratively with the centers to develop and promote internationally respected training programs, with built-in apprentice opportunities for those seeking to practice their skills in Nebraska. Mediators are paired with experienced mediators to mediate cases. This builds their skills and provides a valuable service to the community. Centers also provide regular in-service activities for the continuing education of their mediators.
ODR works with the centers to ensure compliance with the Standards and Ethics for Mediators
, as established in the Dispute Resolution Act. Centers work in conjunction with ODR to establish evaluation and grievance procedures that allow those using mediation to report concerns to center directors, and allow ODR to monitor the satisfaction levels of those using mediation across the state. ODR encourages the use of co-mediation, both for skills building and additional oversight.
STATE AND NATIONAL INVOLVEMENT
ODR convenes quarterly meetings of the ODR Advisory Council, participates in regular meetings with the center's staff, prepares an annual report to the state and assists with statewide conflict resolution system design efforts; for instance, within the Nebraska Judicial Branch and with the Nebraska Departments of Education and Health and Human Services. ODR also supports center efforts to integrate mediation into the legal system with referral procedures, citizen education, intake and case management, funding and monitoring.
The office also provides a national connection for Nebraska within such organizations as the American Bar Association ADR Section,the State Justice Institute, the Policy Consensus Initiative, and the National Association for Community Mediation.