Archive for the ‘Top Stories’ Category

Child-Centered Divorce

Child-Centered Divorce

Why Mediate Your Parenting Plan?

Child-Centered Divorce

Child-Centered Divorce occurs when you are going through a divorce and you put your child’s best interests first during the process. January is “Child-Centered Divorce Month,” but we observe this tenet every day of the year.

Despite any negative emotions you feel toward the other parent, focusing on what is truly best for your kids can help avoid or minimize the negative effects on children when the end of a parental relationship takes place.

A Parenting Plan is a vital part of a Child-Centered Divorce. This plan helps parents living in different homes think through all aspects of their child’s life. A Parenting Plan can be created in the courts, by the parents through attorneys or with the assistance of a trained mediator.

Why mediate your Parenting Plan?

  • Mediation is an informal, confidential process guided by our mediators.
  • Our mediators will help you work through complicated emotions, so that your focus is on your child’s future.
  • Mediation offers a high rate of compliance with your agreement, since both parents worked together to create the Parenting Plan, with terms and conditions included.
  • By participating in mediation, you may improve communication with the other parent, and learn problem solving skills so you can handle future disagreements with your co-parent. (These are skills you can apply to all of your personal and professional relationships.)
  • The most important outcome? Happy, well-adjusted children.

    If you would like to know more about Mediation and/or Parenting Plans, contact Concord Mediation Center at 402-345-1131.

Spotlight on Mediation

Spotlight on Mediation

Before your conflict escalates to violence or one party shouts to the other, “I’ll see you in court,” we want you to know There Is A Better Way.

Conflict is a normal part of life.

  • It can occur when a little leaguer’s parents want the coach to play their child more often.
  • It can be present when one household is irritated with the music level of their neighbors.
  • Words of anger are likely to be uttered when divorcing parents cannot agree about visitation for their child.
  • A dispute can erupt when co-workers disagree about which one gets the credit for a successful project.
  • A struggle can expand into headline news, when rival religious factions use force and destroy whole communities.

We recognize that challenges are going to take place in your personal and professional life, but we encourage you to learn more about peaceful resolution alternatives before you find yourself in the middle of a heated exchange.

Mediation Week (October 18-24)
and Conflict Resolution Day (Thursday, October 22)
provide us with the opportunity to let you know
there is a better way to address disputes.

Mediation is a voluntary, confidential, informal yet structured process where neutral, trained mediators work with two or more persons to reach a solution to their conflict. This process fosters better communication and improves relationships.

Mediation:

  • Is an extension of the negotiation process.
  • Is future-oriented and does not place blame or find guilt.
  • May not resolve all of the issues in a conflict, though it does attempt to make the issues more manageable as to avoid destructive alternatives.

In a safe and structured setting, our highly trained neutral mediators and facilitators assist the disputing parties in defining their issues, permitting each person to explain his/her perspective while trying to understand the other person’s point of view and brainstorming possible actions and solutions to which both parties can agree.

Conflict is to be expected. However, how we choose to deal with it can make a big difference. It’s all about making the world a more peaceful place, for families, businesses and communities.

Conflict is a normal part of life. Be proactive – Learn more about peaceful conflict resolution alternatives before you find yourself in the middle of a heated exchange.

To learn more about the tools and skills necessary to deal with problems, we invite you to call us at 402-345-1131.

Special Education Mediation

Special Education Mediation

It’s back-to-school time, and both parents and schools want children to be successful. Successful outcomes are more likely to occur for students with special needs when parents and schools work as partners in providing an education for children. However, even in the best of circumstances, partners can face disagreements.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) entitles children with disabilities to a free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. Parents and school officials may disagree on what special education services and placement a child should receive under this right.

For example, if you work for the school district, you may see that the parent doesn’t fully understand why the special education team is recommending a particular placement.

As a parent, you may be concerned that your child needs one-on-one assistance throughout the school day, including restroom visits, not just in the classroom.

Both parties may see their own point of view, but would benefit from having a trained neutral third party who could bring everyone to the table to discuss the issues. This process is called mediation.

Mediation is an alternative option for resolving conflicts between parents and schools. This option may be sought because both parties are committed to mending damaged relationships.

At Concord Mediation Center, the process of Special Education Mediation can help effectively manage conflict and avoid aggravating adversarial parent-school relationships.

The mediator’s role is to facilitate discussion and help parties reach an agreement — not to recommend solutions or take sides. Our trained mediators pay attention to the comfort level of the participants and ensure that each person at the table is heard. Mediators focus the discussion by summarizing key points, identifying the issues and facilitating the process to move the discussion from voicing the concerns to evaluating possible outcomes. Their job is to direct the conversation, encouraging participants to be creative in seeking solutions that are beneficial to both parties.

The Nebraska Department of Education has contracted with Concord Mediation Center to provide Special Education Mediation services at no cost to the parties.

For more information, please call us at 402-345-1131.

Special Education Mediation

2015 Pathways Awards Honorees Inspired Record-Size Audience

2015 Pathways Awards Honorees Inspired Record-Size Audience

We were proud to recognize the honorees at our 2015 Pathways Award Luncheon on Friday, June 19. Nearly 140 in attendance were inspired by their words as they accepted their awards. The Wilkes talked about their personal challenges and tragic experiences, and how they chose to react positively to those situations. Kerri Davis was lauded for her work as an advocate for children, finding permanent homes for them through adoption.

Pictured are, left to right: Mike Kelly, 2013 Pathways Award Honoree; Fred Wilson, 2014 Pathways Award Honoree; 2015 Pathways Award Honorees Jeff and Heidi Wilke; Kerri Davis, 2015 Ron Volkmer Practitioner Award recipient; Lori McKeon, 2014 Ron Volkmer Practitioner Award recipient; and Ronald Volkmer, 2013 Ron Volkmer Practitioner Award recipient. (All photos courtesy of Sam Nigro, Big Picture Productions.)

Read more about the Wilkes in this Omaha World Herald article: Around and About: Couple receive center’s Pathways Award

Thank you to everyone who came to share the day with our honorees.

Enjoying the special day, are, left to right: 2015 Ron Volkmer Practitioner Award honoree Kerri Davis, Board Member Ron Volkmer, luncheon emcee Dave Zawilinski, Concord Mediation Center's Executive Director Cindy Tierney and 2014 Volkmer Practitioner Award recipient Lori McKeon.

And a special thank you to our event sponsors.

Maximizing Workplace Effectiveness

Maximizing Workplace Effectiveness

While conflict is a normal part of life, the challenge of conflict lies in how you choose to deal with it.

Attention business managers and supervisors, do you want to maximize workplace effectiveness?

Unresolved Conflict Is Costly

Managers and supervisors realize that disagreements between employees are to be expected.

The typical manager spends up to 40 percent of his or her time dealing with workplace conflicts. That’s one to two days of every work week. Washington Business Journal, 2005

However, if issues are not resolved, they can impact productivity, hinder morale and may even prompt some good employees to leave.

Approximately 3/4 of all difficulties in organizations stem from strained relationships between employees, not deficits in individual employee’s skills or motivation. “Managing Differences,” Barbara Kreisman, 2005

Why should businesses invest in our workshop?

The cost of losing and replacing an employee may be as high as 150 percent of the departing employee’s annual salary. Workforce.com

While conflict is a normal part of life, the challenge of conflict lies in how you choose to deal with it. Organizations that see disagreements as opportunities and resolve them effectively stand out because of their strong capacity for innovation and success!

Organizations adopting conflict resolution processes report 50 to 80 percent reductions in litigation costs. “Vanishing Trial,” Thomas Stipanovvich, 2004


The trained experts at Concord Mediation Center offer time- and cost-effective training programs designed to help you:

  • manage employee conflicts,
  • develop better communication,
  • improve the workplace environment, and
  • enhance productivity.

We are ready to deliver workshops designed to provide you the tools to help you add value to your workplace.

Contact us today for more information!

 

A Mother’s Voice Heard During Family Group Conference

A Mother’s Voice Heard During Family Group Conference

A young mother struggles with chemical dependency.  Her children, all under the age of 10, have been separated from her at the point in their young lives when they need their mother most.  And despite her efforts at improving her life, she faces the troubling possibility that her rights as a parent will be permanently ended. During the previous year, several case managers and service providers have worked with this young mother but often their efforts are disjointed.
Frequently, this mother’s voice was unheard when decisions were made concerning her children.  This is where the Concord Mediation Center’s unique and effective Family Group Conferencing process can become a beacon of hope to a young parent struggling to do what is best for her beloved children.

In Family Group Conferencing, Concord Mediation Center facilitators bring together resources and supports to help families thrive.  Family Group Conferencing builds partnerships between family members, service providers, representatives of the court and social service systems and others.  In a neutral setting guided by neutral facilitators, family members’ voices are heard and perspectives are valued. Children, in particular, benefit when all of the people in their lives work respectfully together.

The Concord Mediation Center Family Group Conferencing process is built around the core value of family.  It builds on the resiliency, shared accountability, and inner strength of family members to make the best possible decisions for their children.  Some of the demonstrated outcomes of the Family Group Conferencing process include enhanced safety and permanency for all children of families involved with court and human service systems.  Concord Mediation Center facilitators are experts at ensuring that voices are heard and effective plans for supporting each family are devised.

The young mother described above was able to participate in a Family Group Conference at the Concord Mediation Center.  The conference facilitator ensured that everyone associated with this young woman was invited and able to attend. Professionals involved in the young mother’s substance abuse treatment, representatives of the county’s Family Court, all family members, and even friends assembled to participate in the Family Group Conference.  The foster parents caring for the young mother’s children provided their input on how the children had been doing since being removed from their mother’s care.

The outcome of this one young woman’s Family Group Conference was that a plan was devised to support her recovery from substance abuse and provide a safe, permanent home for her children. And best of all, her voice was an integral part of the process.  As parents become empowered to chart their own course to a healthier, more vibrant family life for their children they feel less like victims of a system they are unable to control.

A young mother struggles with chemical dependency.  Her children, all under the age of 10, have been separated from her at the point in their young lives when they need their mother most.  And despite her efforts at improving her life, she faces the troubling possibility that her rights as a parent will be permanently ended.

During the previous year, several case managers and service providers have worked with this young mother but often their efforts are disjointed.  Frequently, this mother’s voice was unheard when decisions were made concerning her children. This is where the Concord Mediation Center’s unique and effective Family Group Conferencing process can become a beacon of hope to a young parent struggling to do what is best for her beloved children.

In Family Group Conferencing, Concord Mediation Center facilitators bring together resources and supports to help families thrive.  Family Group Conferencing builds partnerships between family members, service providers, representatives of the court and social service systems and others.  In a neutral setting guided by neutral facilitators, family members’ voices are heard and perspectives are valued. Children, in particular, benefit when all of the people in their lives work respectfully together.

The Concord Mediation Center Family Group Conferencing process is built around the core value of family.  It builds on the resiliency, shared accountability, and inner strength of family members to make the best possible decisions for their children. Some of the demonstrated outcomes of the Family Group Conferencing process include enhanced safety and permanency for all children of families involved with court and human service systems. Concord Mediation Center facilitators are experts at ensuring that voices are heard and effective plans for supporting each family are devised.

The young mother described above was able to participate in a Family Group Conference at the Concord Mediation Center.  The conference facilitator ensured that everyone associated with this young woman was invited and able to attend. Professionals involved in the young mother’s substance abuse treatment, representatives of the county’s Family Court, all family members, and even friends assembled to participate in the Family Group Conference. The foster parents caring for the young mother’s children provided their input on how the children had been doing since being removed from their mother’s care.

The outcome of this one young woman’s Family Group Conference was that a plan was devised to support her recovery from substance abuse and provide a safe, permanent home for her children.  And best of all, her voice was an integral part of the process.  As parents become empowered to chart their own course to a healthier, more vibrant family life for their children they feel less like victims of a system they are unable to control.

In Family Group Conferencing, our facilitators bring together resources and supports to help families thrive.  Family Group Conferencing builds partnerships between family members, service providers, representatives of the court and social service systems and others.  In a neutral setting guided by neutral facilitators, family members’ voices are heard and perspectives are valued. Children, in particular, benefit when all of the people in their lives work respectfully together.

The Concord Mediation Center Family Group Conferencing process is built around the core value of family.  It builds on the resiliency, shared accountability, and inner strength of family members to make the best possible decisions for their children.  Some of the demonstrated outcomes of the Family Group Conferencing process include enhanced safety and permanency for all children of families involved with court and human service systems.  facilitators are experts at ensuring that voices are heard and effective plans for supporting each family are devised.

The young mother described above was able to participate in a Family Group Conference at the Concord Mediation Center.  The conference facilitator ensured that everyone associated with this young woman was invited and able to attend. Professionals involved in the young mother’s substance abuse treatment, representatives of the county’s Family Court, all family members, and even friends assembled to participate in the Family Group Conference.  The foster parents caring for the young mother’s children provided their input on how the children had been doing since being removed from their mother’s care.

The outcome of this one young woman’s Family Group Conference was that a plan was devised to support her recovery from substance abuse and provide a safe, permanent home for her children. And best of all, her voice was an integral part of the process.  As parents become empowered to chart their own course to a healthier, more vibrant family life for their children they feel less like victims of a system they are unable to control.

A young mother struggles with chemical dependency.  Her children, all under the age of 10, have been separated from her at the point in their young lives when they need their mother most.  And despite her efforts at improving her life, she faces the troubling possibility that her rights as a parent will be permanently ended.

During the previous year, several case managers and service providers have worked with this young mother but often their efforts are disjointed.  Frequently, this mother’s voice was unheard when decisions were made concerning her children. This is where the Concord Mediation Center ’s unique and effective Family Group Conferencing process can become a beacon of hope to a young parent struggling to do what is best for her beloved children.

In Family Group Conferencing, Concord Mediation Center facilitators bring together resources and supports to help families thrive.  Family Group Conferencing builds partnerships between family members, service providers, representatives of the court and social service systems and others.  In a neutral setting guided by neutral facilitators, family members’ voices are heard and perspectives are valued. Children, in particular, benefit when all of the people in their lives work respectfully together.

The Concord Mediation Center Family Group Conferencing process is built around the core value of family.  It builds on the resiliency, shared accountability, and inner strength of family members to make the best possible decisions for their children. Some of the demonstrated outcomes of the Family Group Conferencing process include enhanced safety and permanency for all children of families involved with court and human service systems. Concord Mediation Center facilitators are experts at ensuring that voices are heard and effective plans for supporting each family are devised.

The young mother described above was able to participate in a Family Group Conference at the Concord Mediation Center .  The conference facilitator ensured that everyone associated with this young woman was invited and able to attend. Professionals involved in the young mother’s substance abuse treatment, representatives of the county’s Family Court, all family members, and even friends assembled to participate in the Family Group Conference. The foster parents caring for the young mother’s children provided their input on how the children had been doing since being removed from their mother’s care.

The outcome of this one young woman’s Family Group Conference was that a plan was devised to support her recovery from substance abuse and provide a safe, permanent home for her children.  And best of all, her voice was an integral part of the process.  As parents become empowered to chart their own course to a healthier, more vibrant family life for their children they feel less like victims of a system they are unable to control.

Creating A Parenting Plan

Douglas County Conciliation and Mediation Services referred the parents of a nine-year-old boy to Concord Center to prepare a Parenting Plan. Concord Center initially contacted the parents via letter.

The Parenting Plan process begins with each parent having an individual session with a mediator to discuss their situation, strengths of the parenting relationship and any challenges that are occurring that each parent wants to address in the mediation session. After mediators have met with each parent a determination is made about whether the parents will mediate together or in separate rooms due to any parental conflict that may be occurring.

Once they were able to meet and participate in their initial individual sessions with the mediators the parents met together with two mediators to begin the work of developing a Parenting Plan for their son. The parents agreed that the mother would maintain sole legal custody and sole physical custody of their son. The parents also acknowledged that the mother resided outside Nebraska. The parents agreed that their son would spend every weekend with his dad.

Moreover, the parents discussed how to spend time with their son on holidays. For Independence Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, they agreed that both parents would have parenting time every year. For the winter break that begins on December 26 and ends when school resumes, the parents agreed to alternate time with the child in odd- and even-numbered years.

In the Parenting Plan, the parents agreed to communicate about possible changes to the parenting schedule with each other directly rather than involving the child. The parents acknowledged that all communication about the child occur between the biological parents only regardless of future relationships. Moreover, the parents agreed to notify each other about the child’s activities and to participate in those activities.

Following the mediation, one mediator prepared a written draft of the Parenting Plan. The parents did not object to the written plan, and it was submitted to the local county court for final approval.

to learn more about Parenting Plans visit our Family Mediation page.

Usable Skills Through Training

Concord Center offers customized training for businesses in our community and surrounding areas.  Our training brings insightful ideas and immediately usable skills to individuals and teams as they work to improve their communication and conflict resolution skills.

To see a current list of the training sessions that we offer and to learn more visit our training page.

A Safe Place for Difficult Conversations

Welcome to Concord Mediation Center

Concord Mediation Center is located at 4225 North 90th Street in Omaha, on the east side of North 90th Street between Maple and Fort Streets.

Please call 402-345-1131 if you need directions.