Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?
In situations where a child is or may be in need of protection, a Children’s Aid Society (CAS) must consider ADR if there is a possibility of going to court or already court involvement. When contested cases go to court, they take a long time to finish and it costs everyone involved a great deal of money, time, and emotional pain. Children may be left in limbo and not knowing what the future holds for them or how they will see their family. Also, the court process becomes a competition where only one side can “win.” When a judge decides the outcome after a trial, someone always walks away unhappy with the outcome and the family has lost the opportunity to develop their own family solution to the problems. ADR provides an opportunity for families to “have their say” and create a workable plan for the children.
Who can participate?
Any family that is involved in a child protection matter involving the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) where there is a possibility of going to court or already court involvement may fit the criteria to participate in ADR. Participants may include family, extended family, community supports, legal representatives, OCL (Office of the Children’s Lawyer), Elders, Chiefs, Band Representatives and other supports.
Is there a cost to families, CAS or First Nation communities for participating?
There is no cost to participants that participate in an ADR service. Funding is provided by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) to ADR-Link to provide ADR to families, CAS and First Nation communities at no cost to the participants. Additional costs associated with the ADR process are approved on a case by case basis.
How is a referral made?
To make a referral, see the Make A Referral page to get started.
How long is the ADR process?
The length of the process can vary depending on the type of ADR method and nature of the referral. Practitioners require time to consult and prepare participants as part of the ADR process. After the initial consultation, the Practitioner will be able to estimate how long your particular process will take.
How do I report feedback about my experience with ADR?
Families, participants, practitioners, and Children’s Aid Societies can give feedback on the ADR-Link service by filling out a feedback form.
How do I access ADR in other regions of Ontario?
Each region of Ontario has its own referral process. ADR-Link serves 8 counties in the South West Region. For information about ADR in other parts of Ontario, contact your local Children’s Aid Society.
How do I become a Family Group Conference, Child Protection Mediation, or Original Dispute Resolution Practitioner?
Child Protection Mediation
The Ontario Association for Family Mediation is the approved trainer for child protection mediation in Ontario. Learn more about becoming a Child Protection Practitioner.
Family Group Conferencing
The George Hull Centre is the approved trainer for family group conferencing in Ontario. Learn more about becoming a Family Group Conferencing Practitioner.
According to Ministry guidelines, Practitioners interested in practicing Indigenous Approaches/ODR must follow specific criteria. This criterion includes being recognized by the Indigenous community with whom the child is affiliated or by an Indigenous organization as qualified to engage in Indigenous Approaches/ODR, possess knowledge of the Child and Family Services Act, and hold a satisfactory criminal record check completed within the last three years. Contact us to learn more about becoming a Indigenous Approaches/ODR Practitioner.
4th Option/Other Approaches
According to Ministry guidelines, Practitioners interested in practicing the “4th Option” or “Other” must meet a number of requirements. Contact us to learn more.