Certification: The state of the New England states
Note: Some information below has been adopted from an article by Diane Levin, who blogs on http://mediationchannel.com and has been following this issue for years. The complete article is posted on this site under "Resources/How to Become a Mediator/Find a Training Program." The information about specific states comes from a report produced by the Institute of Government, College of Professional Studies at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock as part of a contract with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
Although practitioners, officials, and others have been discussing the idea of certifying neutrals for almost 30 years, today there is no nationwide licensing or certification of mediators, and the topic prompts strong reactions from many practitioners.
No state in the United States has established a formal licensing or certification process for mediators, but some states and state court systems have set their own standards for mediators who receive referrals or provide service through court-approved mediation programs. Most of these involve training (with 40 hours of basic training emerging as a standard) and ethical responsibilities.
In addition, some professional organizations (such as the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation and the Family Section of the national Association for Conflict Resolution, and ACR’s Workplace Section, to name three) award “Advanced Practitioner” status to mediators who meet certain criteria for experience and content knowledge. Some training groups and one website, http//:mediate.com, offer a certification label, but these have no official recognition nationally or state by state.
The Uniform Mediation Act, which was set forth by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in 2002, seeks to define mediation and establish confidentiality protection, but it must be adopted state by state.
As discussions about certification continue on state and national levels, NE-ACR will keep its members informed. What follows are brief summaries of the current situations in the New England states.