Judicial Program Coordinator
Mediation is considered (by the Court) for all first-time status offenses and for first-time misdemeanors where the victim is willing to participate. The Court also uses mediation to settle portions of cases and to settle some restitution issues.
Mediation gives the complainant/victim and the offender an opportunity to meet, talk about the offense, express concerns, and negotiate a mutually amiable agreement. It improves the capacity of the juvenile justice system to aid victims who have been negatively affected by the behavior of the young offender. It also provides an opportunity for youth to understand and acknowledge how their actions have adversely affected the community, school environment, consumer market, etc.The mediation conference is informal, confidential, and non-adversarial. The goal is to have both the complainant/victim and the offender reach a resolution that addresses all of their concerns. Mediations are conducted by mediators who have completed a rigorous schedule of training, observations, and certification. They are professionals and students within the community.
The Cobb Juvenile Court has been chosen by the Georgia Supreme Court to participate in a model mediation program to investigate the efficacy of mediation in child dependency cases. In each of these cases specially trained mediators are provided by the state to assist the parties to reach an agreement regarding the best way to deal with deficiencies in child care that have brought the child dependency accusations to the Court. The parties may craft an agreement that defines the problems and the solutions to correct them so that the child may find his or her way to a safe, loving and permanent home. Research shows that when people are a part of the process of defining these issues and creating agreeable solutions to them, they tend to comply with the agreements more exactly than they comply with a Court order from a judge. There is no charge to the participants for mediation of child dependency complaints. Access to the program is through the judges or through the Mediation Coordinator.