The DSC has done a lot of great work with their educational efforts. As a juvenile justice reform advocacy organization, we look at effective programs in the state that divert youth away from the justice system. We have found DSC’s mediation practices to be really effective in resolving issues that would have otherwise resulted in a suspension or expulsion. The proof is in the numbers; for instance, in Danbury suspensions declined by almost 60% from 416 to 169. The Dispute Settlement Center is a well-respected organization in the communities it serves from Hartford to Bridgeport and from Stamford to Danbury. We have seen programs that do a good job of trying to prevent youth from offending, but mediation is, by far, one of the best tools for reducing re-offenses.
My association with The dispute Settlement Center began in 1995 when I became the second Executive Director in a then 3 year old organization. During that time we grew beyond our court mediation programs to include peer mediation training in the Norwalk elementary schools and community mediation services through our contacts with the Norwalk community police program. Since that early period, I remained involved with DSC as a volunteer mediator and joined the Board approximately five years ago. I have witnessed the organization grow exponentially in the areas of youth mediation and community education. At this point in time, the DSC has a well deserved reputation as the pre-eminent community mediation agency serving the Fairfield County Area.
DSC (The Dispute Settlement Center) helps youth at risk, adults at risk, homeowners at risk, and teaches all involved in the process, the power of mediation as a tool to resolve conflict. In many cases this process is a life changing event for youth at risk, and a tremendous ally to support systems in the education process. The outcome is typically a successful resolution to a conflict, without burdening the judicial system, and without the fallout or expense associated with court proceedings. This organization is staffed by a team of dedicated professionals and para professionals who believe in what they do, and the results speak for themself.
The Dispute Settlement Center (DSC)has been a partner with RYASAP for the last 7 years both through our Juvenile Review Board (JRB) as well as our Juvenile Justice Task Force (JJTF). With the JRB, DSC has provided mediation services to young first time offenders and their families who are being diverted from the juvenile justice system. The services are particularly effective where there is conflict between family members and with the community in which the young person ahs committed their offense. The model balanced and restorative justice is consistent across both the JRB and DSC. With the JJTF, DSC has been a ongoing member for the last 7 years and has contributed vital services to building a continuum of care for young people in the juvenile justice system in teh greater Bridgeport, CT area. The JJTF consists of over 40 area providers representing law enforcement, probation, detention, education, parent advocacy and children's advocacy and legal services. The DSC has been a very involved partner in the work of making major improvements in increasing services to young people and diverting a large number of young people from the JJ system.
The Dispute Settlement Center in Wilton, Connecticut is a high impact non-profit Community Mediation agency serving a substantial cross-section of individuals, agencies and institutions in Fairfield County, Connecticut. For many years, DSC has helped individuals who have been involved in a wide variety of disputes and conflicts. The number of people who have been positively impacted by DSC has grown into the thousands each year. The help and assistance of skilled Mediators has proven to be an effective resource for all of the many communities in Fairfield County. Included within the scope of the populations served are: students in multiple schools; children in the juvenile justice system; adults in the criminal justice system; and many others who have taken advantage of the mediation and conflict resolution opportunities that DSC provides before engaging in more protracted and expensive litigation. DSC has developed very positive and productive relationships with Chiefs of Police, School Administrators, Court Officials, Judges in both Adult Criminal and Juvenile Courts, Probation Officers, Family Relations Counselors, Attorneys and countless other professionals. It is abundantly clear that DSC contribute enormously to fill the need for social programs and services above and beyond the limits of the services provided by established and existing institutions. This "public-private" partnership between DSC and those existing institutions continues to grow and flourish in Fairfield County largely due to the tireless efforts of a dedictate staff; a very devoted Board of Directors; and the extremely important and generous financial contributions from individuals, agencies, and foundations who share the concern for providing meaningful alternatives for individuals involved in various types of conflicts and disputes.
The Dispute Settlement Center, serving Western CT, is a model agency for the valuable role that mediation can play in the life of communities. DSC works in the schools, in the courts,among neighbors and within families to find constructive, mutally satisfying alternatives to settle disputes. DSC educates young people to resolve conflict through mediation and relieves the courts of ever increasing dockets through mediated settlements.DSC has helped renters and homeowners avoid eviction and foreclosure and given police departments alternative options for handling offenses within communities. Mediation is a humane and thoughtful alternative to resolving disputes and strengthens communities by reducing resentment and recidivism. DSC has documented approaches and data to show the impact and value of its work.
I am an attorney by training, and I was very interested in the growing field of alternative dispute resolution, especially in the juvenile justice and educational settings. I was thrilled to come across the Dispute Settlement Center, a non-profit mediation agency based in Wilton, Connecticut that serves much of the state. DSC is one of a very small number of mediation agencies in Connecticut with strong community and court mediation programs. As a former juvenile court mediator and researcher with DSC, I have seen firsthand the empowering, positive impact of mediation on young offenders and on the judicial process. Mediation works -- our participants' reoffense rates are lower and satisfaction rates are higher than their peers who do not have the opportunity to try mediation. DSC has a reputation for working well with the attorneys, judges and probation units in the juvenile and adult courts that they serve. I would strongly recommend this agency to practitioners seeking a place to apply (or acquire) their mediation skills and to members of the judicial branch looking to join the growing alternative dispute resolution movement in Connecticut.
The Dispute Settlement Center is a little known non for profit that accomplishes great things. They keep their staff lean and really place as much money into accomplishing their goals. They provide mediation services to assist juveniles avoid going into the court system, set up peer mediation programs in several schools, receive grant money to help people avoid losing their homes in foreclosure and provide affordable mediation services to the community for a whole host of disputes.
The Dispute Settlement Center worked extensively with our high school staff and students to develop a mediation and a peer mediation program. The best part of the work their trained professionals did, was help empower us to sustain these programs on our own and to integrate these methods into the daily practices of school life. Since the development of our mediation programs, we have seen a marked decrease in behavioral incidents and suspensions. We are also pleased that the Dispute Settlement Center helped us to develop more leadership opportunities for high school students by training them to become peer mediators.
The Dispute Settlement Center is a great organization. In the few short weeks that I worked there over the summer, I learned so much and met so many kind people. I also had the opportunity to sit in on several mediations. The mediators are so skilled and work so hard. Five stars for the Dispute Settlement Center!