This evaluation looked at data from 103 mediations and 260 participants. Mediation resulted in agreement on all or some of the issues 87% of the time, and in those cases in which Alaska Protective Services was involved, 91% of the agreements were found to have "an acceptable level of risk." Agreements were more likely to be reached for living arrangements, level of care needed, whether guardianship or conservatorship was needed, and how decisions should be made. Plans for dealing with family conflict were least likely to be agreed upon at mediation.
Participants were largely satisfied with the process and felt they were listened to, understood, and treated fairly and with respect. There were no differences in these responses based on the participants' role. Interviews suggested that mediation reduced the number of contested hearings; however, there was insufficient data to verify this.
Description of Study: Evaluation of the outcomes of the first three years of a statewide program.
Method: Examined court data and post-mediation surveys of participants.
Sample Size: 103 mediations and 260 participants and parties
Variables Examined: Settlement rate, mediation agreements, post-mediation contested hearings, party satisfaction with the process
Program Variables: New voluntary program. The program contracted with private mediators who had been trained in adult guardianship mediation and completed a mentorship. Services were provided at no charge to the participants. The program used the facilitative, problem-solving model of mediation. Half of the mediations were scheduled just after the petition was first filed. The other half were scheduled when guardianship had been in place for “some time”. 46% of the mediations were completed in one session. Another 36% were completed in 2 or 3. Time in mediation ranged from 30 to 1,200 minutes. The mean was 4 hours 48 minutes.
Findings: 87% of mediations ended in agreement. Issues most likely to be settled were: whether a guardian was needed and who it should be (86%); level of care needed (88%); living arrangements for the adult (90%); and how decisions should be made (83%). Least likely to reach agreement were issues surrounding how the family should deal with conflict (59%). 91% of participants were satisfied with the agreement. Almost all would recommend mediation to others. Data suggests that mediation reduced the number of contested hearings by 80 or 90 over the three year study period. Each referral cost an average of $1,380.