August - Following devastating budget cuts, which forced the closure of 48 courthouses and eliminated the California Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Children's Court’s Mediation program, and faced with devastating recidivism, (then Referee) Marilyn Mordetzky took it upon herself to establish a new dependency mediation program.
In October of 2014, Mediators Randy Drew and Stacey Lisk were recruited by Commissioner Mordetzky. When we began, we were only mediating Exit Orders. These are Parenting Plans for co-parents. More detailed and lasting Exit Orders are important, because they help reduce conflict between co-parents, which provides more peaceful, stable lives for children, and keeps them out of foster care. Better agreements keep parents & children from returning to the juvenile justice system.
2015 Was our first full year; and the three of us mediated about 100 cases, before Commissioner Mordetzky returned to the bench full-time.
As the first ever court-connected mediation program created by mediators, every system was deigned to maximize benefits and results. It became clear that every child and every co-parent could benefit from the creation of their own detailed, self-designed parenting plan. Our goals called for bold innovations.
Our close relationship with the courts allowed us to invent the ‘stipulated co-parenting agreement’. Prior to the stipulated co-parenting plan, parents often needed to miss additional days of work, and the kids missed additional school days in order to properly close their cases.
A Supervising Attorney for the Los Angeles Dependency Lawyers remarked, “In all my years as a dependency lawyer, I have never seen that before."