our mediation referrals come from?
Community Mediation Center
::General Sessions Civil
::General Sessions Criminal
1. General Sessions
Civil Court involves adults suing each other
in matters such as landlord tenant disputes, collections, consumer
issues, neighbor disputes, torts such as damages from a car
accident, etc. In most cases the maximum amount a person can sue
for is $25,000. We also do “Sessions Divorces” for unmarried
couples or roommates who have property disputes caused by
County General Sessions Court Mediation
2. General Sessions
Criminal Court involves two opportunities for mediation:
a. Where a Warrant has been issued:
In these cases a person has been charged with a crime, and the DA
feels that mediation would be appropriate. Usually these involve
assault, theft, or harassment, where the people in dispute are
neighbors or have some long-standing relationship. Many of these
cases involve former couples and issues of child visitation.
b. Before a Warrant has issued (Pre-Warrant):
These cases are referred from the DA, Judicial Commissioner, or
law enforcement staff.
When a person attempts to file charges against someone, they go
before a Judicial Commissioner (JC) or DA. If the DA or JC feels
that the case would be better served by mediation, he/she may
choose to refer to mediation rather than grant a warrant to charge
the defendant with a crime. Usually these cases involve similar
issues & relationships to those where a warrant has been issued.
3. Juvenile Court involves 4 programs:
a. Juvenile Justice & Status Offense Cases:
These cases involve delinquent youth who have been received
a charge in situations such as school fights, theft,
vandalism, or harassment. We also mediate cases involving
youth who have been charged with an offense which is against the
law because the offender is a minor: runaway, smoking,
curfew violation, truancy.
The young disputants may resolve their case so that
they have no Juvenile Court record.
We also mediate cases
where the child is in detention and needs a probation plan before
CMC mediates between the truant student, the parents or legal
guardians, and a school representative. When children in
middle and high school are truant, their cases are referred to CMC
by Knox County Schools. The successful mediation prevents both parent and
child from being prosecuted for truancy by the Knox County
District Attorney. Truancy is usually the “tip of the iceberg”, so
we also provide a screening for special education needs, school
bullying & harassment, abuse and neglect, substance abuse and other issues which
may also be present. These cases are mediated before a warrant is
Parenting and Visitation Cases: These usually involve unmarried
parents who have issues concerning parenting responsibilities and/or visitation. Often one
parent's access to their child has been limited due to drug,
alcohol, or other addictions. Sometimes a grandparent has been
given custody and needs to work out visitation with the parents to
maintain a relationship with the child.
c. Parent/Teen: We get referrals where the child/teen resides
with the parent but they have communication or discipline issues.
CMC will help the parent & child come up with ground rules for
living together and help them work on communication and discipline.
Dependency Mediation: CMC receives referrals
from the Department of Children's Services to mediate between
parties involved in a juvenile court case when a child is removed
from its parents and put into foster care because of allegations
of abuse and neglect. The State of Tennessee is then the
child's legal custodian, and the parent must fulfill the
requirements of a "permanency plan" so that the child can be
returned home. If the parents cannot do so, the parents'
rights may be terminated and the child will be placed with an
adoptive family. In mediation, DCS, the natural parents, the
foster parents and various agency helpers may be able to solve
problems which shorten the child's time in foster care.
5. Parenting Mediation Education Coordination:
CMC has coordinated the program since it became one of 6 pilots in
the state in 1997. Divorcing or divorced parents can be ordered to
mandatory mediation by divorce courts to resolve parenting plan
issues. CMC provides intake, domestic violence screening, and
mediator referrals for all divorce or post-divorce cases needing
assistance from either 4th Circuit or Chancery Court. Mediators
are Rule 31 listed, and are paid directly by parties. We are
currently exploring ways to better serve the clients, the local
family bar, and the courts.
6. Domestic Violence Screening
CMC screens all mediation cases for indicia of domestic violence
during the disputants’ initial interview with staff (intake). We
train our volunteer mediators in domestic violence screening
protocol, and in how to terminate mediation safely when it becomes
necessary because of domestic violence issues arising in the
context of mediation. We believe the screening process is
continuous. CMC also provides domestic violence training for Rule
31 mediators and is working with the Family Justice Center to
develop ways to mediate cases where there is a history of family
1. Peer Mediation-Schools:
CMC Provides peer mediation training in 12 schools currently in
Knox County, and previously trained Alcoa & Heritage High Schools
in Blount County. 2nd Annual Mediation Fest took place Friday
April 16 with 15 schools participating.
2. Adult Protective Services:
We have received referrals to mediate cases where there is concern
that an elder or disabled person is receiving inappropriate care
in an institution, nursing home, or at home.
CMC works with local police & sheriff depts. to mediate referrals
before the conflict rises to level of arrest. Cases often include
boundary disputes, landlord tenant and public housing disputes,
noise, dogs, etc.
4. Mediation between and within Organizations:
CMC mediates disputes or communication problems within nonprofit
organizations and small businesses (staff-staff disputes,
staff-board disputes, etc.) and between organizations and small
5. SWORPS Visitation:
CMC has signed a contract with the UT School of Social Work,
Research and Policy. CMC will mediate referrals from a new program
developed by SWORPS in conjunction with Child Support Enforcement
Services. These cases are similar to those received from Child
Support Court, in that they are usually unmarried parents with
child support and visitation issues. The parties may or may not be
involved in a court process, but the staff at the Enforcement
office may refer the parties to mediation to resolve visitation
and parenting (not child support) issues.
Fee Based Services
1. Organizational Mediation: When
governmental agencies, nonprofits and private businesses, big and
small, have an internal conflict, or when two organizations are in
dispute or would like to collaborate, mediation is a confidential
and thoughtful way to clarify and resolve issues.
Land Use Mediation: An example of a case would be a dispute between
residents of a development and a developer planning new
construction in the area.
3. Special Education Mediation:
are cases where parents have issues about the quality of services
a school is providing their child, or dispute a disciplinary
1. Volunteer Training:
Training is held at least once each year, in the Fall. Usually 14-24
students per class, 35-40 hours total. Class is held over a
two-weekend period. CMC staff and seasoned volunteers assist with
teaching and role-play. CMC charges participants a low
tuition to cover our costs; in addition, new volunteers
must agree to mediate for CMC for one year. The
volunteer mediator has an opportunity to observe real mediations
done by our experienced mediators, and has access to our year-round mentoring and
"Bridge" Training: This training is for those
mediators who have already taken approved Rule 31
training (civil or family) and who would like to
volunteer to co-mediate for CMC. Mediators benefit
from experience, and CMC provides the professional with
interesting and challenging mediations, as well as
providing an opportunity to give back to the community.
Each spring, we conduct a bridge training for civil
mediators and a bridge training for juvenile/dependency
4. Community Housing (TCAC):
Services provided through a grant from HUD that passes through
TCAC. CMC has included TCAC (TN Community Action Committee) staff
and residents of housing authorities from around East TN at five
of our volunteer mediator classes, approximately 28 people.
Additionally, CMC has provided workshops at the annual TCAC
conference, and has provided on-site mediation and
meeting facilitation, as well as additional training for
5. Workplace Training/Mediation:
This is a fee-based service. CMC has occasionally been asked to
provide mediation for local businesses and non-profit
organizations. CMC has also provided several 2-3 hour workshops
for non-profit employees on conflict resolution. For non-profits
and small businesses, our fees are reduced. Please
call and ask for information.
6. Department of Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities:
Staff training in conflict management & resolution