§ 4226.98. Mediation.

 (a)  The county MH/MR program shall adopt procedures that afford a party who presents a complaint about any matter relating to the identification, evaluation or placement of the child, or the provision of appropriate early intervention services, the opportunity to resolve the dispute through a mediation process.

 (b)  The procedures shall ensure that the mediation process is:

   (1)  Voluntary on the part of the parents.

   (2)  Offered to a parent who requests a due process hearing under §  4226.99 (relating to due process procedures).

   (3)  Not used to deny or delay a parent’s right to a due process hearing under §  4226.99, or to deny or impede other rights afforded under this chapter.

   (4)  Conducted by a qualified and impartial mediator who is trained in effective mediation techniques.

 (c)  The mediation session shall be scheduled within 10 calendar days of the request for mediation or a due process hearing and shall be held in a location that is convenient to the parties to the dispute.

 (d)  An agreement reached by the parties to the dispute in the mediation session shall be set forth in a written mediation agreement.

 (e)  Discussions that occur during the mediation session shall be confidential and may not be used as evidence in any subsequent due process hearings or civil proceedings, and the parties to the mediation may be required to sign a confidentiality pledge before the session begins.

 (f)  The county MH/MR program shall establish procedures to encourage the use and explain the benefits of the mediation process, whereby a parent who chooses not to use the mediation process may request a meeting, at a time and location convenient to the parent, with a disinterested party or one of the following:

   (1)  A parent training and information center or community parent resource center.

   (2)  An alternative dispute resolution entity.

Cross References

   This section cited in 55 Pa. Code §  4226.95 (relating to prior notice); and 55 Pa. Code §  4226.97 (relating to conflict resolution).

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