Under the auspices of the Parent Mediation Program (PMP), administered by the Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration (MOPC), separating, divorcing, or never-married parents in Massachusetts received up to four free hours of mediation services from community mediation centers to help deal with issues over parenting time, visitation, access, and parenting plans. MOPC and participating centers worked together to insure that the Parent Mediation Program weathered the twin challenges of reduced funding and increased demand for services during Fiscal Year 2016. The timely fulfillment of administrative responsibilities and the delivery of quality mediation services led to agreement rates, including parenting plan agreements, which were at the upper end of the range of typical rates for divorce agreements. PMP mediation helped most parents make at least some progress in reducing the involvement of courts and improving their interactions with one another, including managing their conflicts and communicating better. Sizable minorities of parents, particularly non-custodial parents, experienced some increase in their contacts with their children, thereby reinforcing their acceptance of responsibility for their child’s welfare. For the most part, parent satisfaction with the mediation process was high. The demonstrated effectiveness of the program formed the basis for recommending that the program be expanded and additional funding be sought.
Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration. (2016, August). Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration Parent Mediation Program, January-June 2016 and Fiscal Year 2016 Evaluation Report. Boston, MA: Massachusetts Office of Public Collaboration, University of Massachusetts Boston. http://scholarworks.umb.edu/mopc_pubs/16