Parent Pledge Project
Parent Pledge is a partnership between Harlem Community Justice Center and New York Peace Institute to provide free, professional mediation services for parents living in Manhattan or Brooklyn who are seeking a faster and more collaborative alternative to court in order to work out child support agreements.
What Is Parent Pledge Mediation?
Parent Pledge mediation provides separated parents the opportunity to discuss co-parenting and child support rights and responsibilities in a collaborative environment with the help of professional mediators. Parents can discuss any topic that is important and relevant to their unique circumstances and work through some core issues, with help from the mediators to reach a mutually agreeable parenting plan that really meets everyone’s needs and is in the best interest of their child(ren). These mediators have extensive conflict resolution training and are knowledgeable in the field of co-parenting and child support.
What Are Some Possible Outcomes of Parent Pledge Mediation?
Parents have a choice – Parents can put the terms of their mediated agreement in writing and decide whether they wish to keep it between themselves voluntarily or file the agreement in Family Court. The parents can choose at any point to file a petition in court in order to get a formal enforceable agreement. If the parents file a petition in Family Court, they will present the mediated agreement to the court as a recommendation. It is up to the court to accept the recommendations presented by the parents in the mediated agreement.
Typically, Parent Pledge takes 2-3 mediation sessions, each between 1.5 and 2 hours in length. Parents can decide to return to mediation at any point to modify their parenting plans or address conflicts that arise in the future.
What Are Some Of The Topics That May Be Discussed in Mediation?
Parents can discuss any topics relevant to their unique circumstances. Some common topics include:
- Child support
- Parenting approaches (e.g. discipline)
- Communication between parents
- Decision Making
- Child(ren)’s relationship with others
For more information about parent pledge mediation topics, click here.
What Are The Benefits Of Parent Pledge Mediation?
Mediation is Beneficial for Your Child(ren)- Working together for your children development is the right thing and it does work!
Mediation is Free- Avoid the cost of going to court and hiring an attorney. Take advantage of professional services by highly qualified mediators at no cost. (And retain your right to speak to an attorney before mediation or at any time during the mediation process, including prior to signing a written agreement. Attorneys are able to participate in mediation at the agreement of all parties.)
Mediation is Effective- Mediated agreements have high compliance rates because when people reach an agreement together, they usually stick to that plan because it meets their needs and is realistic for them. Evidence demonstrates that mediation will also help prevent future difficulties regarding to the care of the child or children.
Mediation is Voluntary- Decide for yourself to use the mediation process to resolve conflict and make decisions in your child(ren)’s best interest.
Mediation is Faster - Resolve custody, visitation, and support issues in less time than it would take through the court process. If you decide to file in court for a child support order, go before 1 p.m. to receive expedited, same-day review of the support agreement.
Mediation is Non-Adversarial- Trained professional mediators can help you focus on the future in collaborating with the other parent to create a workable parenting plan.
Mediation is Confidential- Information shared in a mediation is legally protected and cannot be used as evidence in any court. Nothing said in mediation will be shared outside of the Parent Pledge Program by mediators or staff, unless we hear about any child in danger.
Mediation is Empowering- Have greater control over parenting and childcare decisions when you decide the terms of the agreement yourself.
Mediation is Flexible- Create an agreement with creative solutions to fit your unique needs.
Mediation is Convenient- Choose from any of our four locations to schedule your mediation session:
Harlem Community Justice Center
170 E 121st Street
New York, NY 10035
Hours: Monday-Friday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Every other Thursday 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
Oberia D. Dempsey Center
127 W 127th Street
New York, NY 10027
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
New York Peace Institute Manhattan Mediation Center
111 John Street, Suite 600
New York, NY 10038
Hours: Monday 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm,
Tuesday-Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
New York Peace Institute Brooklyn Mediation Center
210 Joralemon Street, Suite 618
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Hours: Monday-Wednesday 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm,
Thursday and Friday 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Why Might I Not Be Eligible for Parent Pledge Services?
Parent Pledge services are available to any family, except where:
1) A family has an open case for custody and/or visitation in the Family Court – unless it takes place at the Harlem Community Justice Center. There is a mediation program in the Family Court for active cases, but it does not mediate child support matters. In order to mediate child support together with custody and/or visitation matters, parents can withdraw their case from court for mediation. (Parents retain the right to re-file after the mediation at any point);
2) There is an open case with child protective services (ACS) that is under investigation. Families receiving preventive services may be eligible for Parent Pledge services;
3) Domestic violence is present (mediation is not appropriate for where domestic violence is an issue); or
4) A petitioner has already filed for child support or a local public assistance agency has filed for support on behalf of a custodial parent receiving public assistance. If a petition for child support is withdrawn from Family Court, the case can be eligible for Parent Pledge services.
How Much Does it Cost?
Parent Pledge services are provided at no charge to parents.
How Do I Request A Mediation?
Parents with children in common who would like to mediate their co-parenting and child support issues can contact us now to learn if Parent Pledge is right for you:
170 E 121st Street
New York, NY 10035
Phone: (212) 360-8753
Be sure to include your name, address, phone number, email address, and description of the problem. You can also fill out this form to be contacted for an intake conversation.
For more information about referring clients to Parent Pledge, please click here.
Other Services at Harlem Community Justice Center
Parent Pledge participants can also take advantage of various services at the Harlem Community Justice Center to address their families’ needs including referrals to free parenting classes.
- Harlem Justice Corps- Educational support, internships, vocational training, career placement, and stipends.
- Youth Services- Anger management classes, community service programs, parent-teen mediation, family counseling, mentoring, leadership development, and career training.
- Housing Services- Help Center pro se attorney, landlord/tenant mediation referrals, HRA abatement, and housing subsidy assistance.
- Parole Reentry Services- Support groups, drug treatment, transitional employment and vocational services, health care, and mental health treatment.
Other Services at New York Peace Institute
Parent Pledge participants can also take advantage of dispute resolution services at New York Peace Institute. Whether a dispute involves two people, dozens of people, or several groups, New York Peace Institute is committed to promoting peace in our communities. New York Peace Institute offers services at no cost to help people address a wide range of issues like: Housing Disputes (landlord-tenant and neighbor), Family Issues (parent-child, co-parenting), School-Related Matters (special education disputes, suspensions), Civil Matters (breach of contract, property disputes, debt), Workplace Conflict (co-workers, employee-employer), Criminal Matters (fights, assault, property damage), and more. Get in touch with New York Peace Institute to learn how they can help at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.nypeace.org.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. speaks at a graduation of the Harlem Parole Reentry Court.
Eugene Schneeberg, Director of the Office of Faith Based & Neighborhood Partnerships at the U.S Department of Justice addresses the graduates.
Faith-Based Volunteer Partner Award
NYS DOCCS Commissioner Brian Fischer Addresses the Harlem Parole Reentry Court Graduates
Hon. Kelly O'Neill-Levy Addresses Harlem Parole Reentry Court Graduates
Youth Court Members and Staff March in the 2013 African American Day Parade (Courtsey of Ernest Owens)
Youth Court Members and Staff March in the 2013 African American Day Parade in Harlem (Courtsey of Ernest Owens)
2014 Harlem Reentry Family Day Block Party
2014 Harlem Reentry Family Day Block Party