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Professionals who work with children and parents have become increasingly dissatisfied with the customary reliance on the traditional adversarial system in resolving family-related disputes, including cases involving children's protection, placement, and permanent care. The power struggle in contested cases and hearings relating to child welfare may foster hostility among the parties and dissipate money, energy, and attention that could otherwise be used to solve problems cooperatively. Parties may become polarized, open communication may be discouraged, and there may be little investment in information sharing and joint problem solving. Children may suffer when adversarial tensions escalate and ameliorative services are delayed.


Reproduced with permission. Copyright 2005 National Association of Counsel for Children, all rights reserved. Originally published as Duquette, Donald N. "Non-Adversarial Case Resolution." In Child Welfare Law and Practice: Representing Children, Parents, and State Agencies in Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency Cases, edited by Marvin Ventrell and Donald N. Duquette, 349-362. Denver, CO: Bradford Publishing, 2005