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Department of Human Services
Michelle R.B. Saddler, Secretary
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05) Procedural Safeguards & Disputes
Policy: c) Mediation
Any party having a dispute involving the identification, evaluation, or placement of a child for Early Intervention services, or the provision of the services may request mediation regardless of whether a request for an impartial administrative proceeding has been or will be made. The mediation request may occur prior to or simultaneously with a request for an administrative proceeding and is open to any and all parties (public agencies, private agencies, parents) having standing in such disputes.
The purpose of a mediation process is to provide an alternative to the impartial administrative resolution as a way to resolve disagreements between parents and EI services personnel. In virtually all cases, it is less costly and less adversarial than an administrative proceeding. Neither party is asked to abandon its beliefs about the child's ability. Rather, the parties are asked to consider alternatives, which could be incorporated into the child's IFSP and to be aware of the concerns and problems expressed by the other party.
The form Request for Mediation shall be used. Requests for mediation must be made in writing to:
DHS - Bureau of Administrative Hearings
401 S. Clinton, 6th Floor
Chicago, IL 60607
With copies sent to the CFC office serving the family and to:
DHS - Bureau of Early Intervention
222 S. College, 2nd Floor
Springfield, IL 62704
The written request shall include the name and address of the child and of the person requesting mediation, a description of the nature of the problem of the child, including the facts related to the problem, a proposed resolution to the problem, supporting relevant documentation of the facts, and the name and address of service providers.
If a request for administrative resolution is made, mediation will be offered. Mediation may not be used to delay or deny the right to an administrative resolution or other rights under Part C.
The mediation will be conducted by a qualified and impartial mediator who is trained in effective mediation techniques and who is knowledgeable in laws and regulations relating to EI services under Part C. A mediator may not be an employee of an agency providing services to the child at issue, nor of DHS, nor have a personal or professional conflict of interest.
The mediation is offered at no cost to the parties. It must be voluntary by all parties.
The mediator shall assure that mediation conferences are convened and concluded in a timely fashion and in no event later than the administrative resolution of a complaint if one is requested.
The mediator will contact the parties to set a mutually convenient date, time and location for the mediation conference, to answer any questions the parties may have regarding the process and to request additional information from the parties.
The role of the mediator is that of a neutral facilitator assisting parents and EI personnel to resolve their disagreement. Although the mediator is in control of the session, the mediator is not the decision-maker and may not compel action by either party. The mediator allows the parties to present their positions, establishes an understanding of the disagreement, determines points of agreement, and offers suggestions/proposals for resolution, attempting to help the parties achieve a mutual solution that is in the best interests of the child. The mediator facilitates the process, summarizes positions and may help the parties consider possible alternatives.
If an agreement is reached by the parties, it shall be set forth in a written mediation agreement signed by authorized representatives of parties to the dispute. The mediation agreement will record only the date of the mediation, the parties to the mediation, the terms agreed upon and the following statement: All discussions that occurred during the mediation process shall be confidential and may not be used as evidence in any subsequent due process hearing or civil proceeding.
Discussions that occur during the mediation process shall be confidential and may not be used as evidence in any subsequent administrative hearing or civil proceeding. The parties will be asked to sign a confidentiality pledge prior to the commencement of the mediation. Only the fact that mediation occurred and the terms of any mediation agreement reached is admissible in subsequent proceedings.
Participants in the mediation conference should be limited to those necessary to resolution of the dispute and shall include persons authorized to act on behalf of the parties. In determining participants, the parties and mediator should be guided by desire to achieve mutual non-adversarial problem solving with the child's interests and the interests of the EI system as the goal.
The parties are expected to approach the mediation session in good faith and with the intention of attempting to reach an agreement. It is important that all parties approach the session with a willingness to listen and to consider all aspects of the issues in the interests of the child and of the EI system. They are active participants in the session and, if agreement is reached, develop the terms of the agreement with the assistance of the mediator.
The mediation allows an uninterrupted opportunity for both parties to present their views in a non-adversarial setting. It allows parents and EI personnel to focus on their common concerns, rather than their differences. Even if an agreement is not reached, there is the potential of both parties leaving the session with an enhanced perspective of the issues, and with a more positive working relationship.
Regional intake entities, Service Coordinators and other participants in the EI system shall encourage resolution of disputes by mediation.
Policy: a) Procedural Safeguards
Policy: b) Complaints
Policy: c) Mediation
Policy: d) Request for Impartial Administrative Resolution
Procedure: a) Procedural Safeguards
Procedures: b) Disputes
State of Illinois
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