Recognizing that local dispute resolution centers can offer people of all incomes an effective alternative to costly litigation, the state Legislature has appropriated $1 million for them for the 2008-09 biennium.
At Bellevue, the Neighborhood Mediation Program will receive a share of that funding, along with 18 other dispute resolution centers around the state. The new funds could allow Neighborhood Mediation to expand both the number of residents it serves and the kinds of disputes it helps resolve, Program Manager Andrew Kidde said.
"Dispute resolution can be an effective way to bring all parties to the table in search of a common goal – a solution to a problem," Gov. Chris Gregoire said. "Thank you to Washington's dispute resolution centers for their work to build strong communities through mediation and conflict resolution training."
Over the last year Resolution Washington, the statewide association of dispute resolution centers, has educated lawmakers about this valuable community resource.
Community dispute resolution centers (DRCs) provide low-cost mediation and conflict resolution services for a wide variety of disputes including: divorce and parenting plans, asset division, business/consumer issues, neighborhood conflict, parent/teen conflict, employment disputes, victim/offender reconciliation, landlord/tenant problems, elder care issues and group mediation.
Many DRCs provide mediators in small claims court as an alternative to litigation. Records indicate that people who mediate their disputes keep their agreements more than twice as often as people who litigate their disputes. Statewide, dispute resolution centers served almost 58,000 people in 2006 and saved the courts an estimated $1 million.
Resolution Washington has more details.
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