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Your Questions, Answered!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lori Dieckman
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Your Questions, Answered.


Each month in the Hub, we will feature question for Felicia Washington, our Impact & Values Coordinator, to research and answer.


This month's question focuses on the 2019 State of Community Mediation (SOCM) Report.  Members may access this report at no cost when logged into the NAFCM website.



What are the top 3 challenges facing community mediation centers (CMCs)? What are centers doing to face those challenges?


The SOCM report shows that the top 3 challenges facing community mediation centers are:

Budgets continue to be a challenge for community mediation centers. While a little over a third of CMCs had a budget at or over $250,000, over half of CMCs had budgets that were below $200,000. This budget difference may cause difficulty for CMCs that work with smaller budgets and need to do the same community mediation work as the higher budgeted CMCs, but struggle with limited funding and human capital to expand their programs and outreach.

Attracting and/or retaining a diverse pool of volunteer mediators is a challenge. 32% of CMCs reported a consistent number of volunteers with only 20% being attorney volunteer mediators.

Visibility: Many CMCs find it challenging to educate the public about the services they offer to their communities in their effort to be more accessible. Most CMCs partner with other organizations and institutions to improve awareness of their center. Agencies with no prior experience with CMCs expressed concern that engaging with a CMC might not result in adequate resolutions to conflicts.

Partnerships: CMCs have developed partnerships with a range of organizations and institutions that create multiple entry points for residents to become aware of and receive community mediation services. A persistent problem for partner organizations was the inability to change due to strict processes, rules and policies.

Community mediation centers are successfully dealing with challenges by:

Reaching out to other sectors (health care, education, social services, etc) to gain support and increase awareness through partnerships

Having mediators travel to meet parties in a location more convenient for them (for example, a local library)

Hosting special community events with other local organizations for public visibility

Working with affinity agencies to train the agency’s staff in mediation skills

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