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Family Mediation

My husband needs more care and our family disagrees about what type of care he needs.

Since our son is now in school, the parenting plan we made when he was a toddler needs to change. We argue when we try to talk about it.

Mediation is available for families facing disagreements about child custody/visitation, care of a loved one, and many other situations that families face and need to make decisions about. Mediation is voluntary and confidential.

Family mediators are professionally trained, are impartial and facilitate conversations between two or more family members so that they can get clearer about next steps, make decisions and understand the other's perspective whenever possible.

To find out more about family mediation, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 471-7213 x 209.



Divorce Mediation

Did you know that mediation is available for couples who are separating and divorcing, as well as for post-divorce issues?

Divorce mediation provides couples a forum to make decisions about every aspect of their divorce including:

-  child custody
-  child support
-  marital assets and debts including homes, retirement plans,
and many other topics that need to be decided. 

Mediation is a process where parties can have a conversation facilitated by impartial mediators who will not make decisions, but help parties talk about what's important to them, become clearer about options and goals, and understand each other's perspective whenever possible. When parties make decisions, those decisions are documented in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).  Divorce mediation begins with a confidential consultation appointment for each party separately. To make your appointment, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 471-7213 ext. 209.




Surrogate's Court

Sixteen of the Center's most experienced mediators were trained over two days by Jody Miller and Erica DeTraglia, Chief Clerk of the Surrogate's Court, Dutchess County, for service in a pilot project with Surrogate's Court. The program allows parties to choose mediation over conventional court processes in Surrogate's Court, which hears cases involving families with contested wills and estates. This pilot project, the first of its kind, will be coordinated by Leanne Lawson, Family and Divorce Program Coordinator.


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The Mediation Center of Dutchess County is pleased to announce that it has elected new officers to its board of directors.  Nevill Smythe, President, Jacki Brownstein, Vice President, Hooker Heaton, Treasurer and Larry Hertz, Secretary.  Members of the board of directors are Pamela Barrack, Valerie Belton, Rachel Flanagan Frost, Esq., Robert Haskins, Esq., Hon. Gerald Hayes, (Retired), Dr. Roy Merolli, Don Murphy, and Joan Pagones.  The Mediation Center, a non-profit agency serving the community for more than 30 years,  provides mediation, training, bullying prevention and the Coalition on Elder Abuse in Dutchess County.


The Olweus Program Works!

Ralph R. Smith Elementary School in Hyde Park launched their Olweus Bullying Prevention Program on September 2014.  Although there was a slight increase in reported bullying, the following results were achieved after 1 year of implementation:

  • a decrease in the percent of students that think they could join in bullying others. 
  • a 3% increase in the percentage of students who feel sorry for the bullied student (92.7% in 2014 to 95.4% in 2015).
  • a 19% increase in the recognition of teacher interventions (44.9% in 2014 to 53.6% in 2015).
  • a 26% increase in student interventions in bullying situations.
  • a 19% decrease in student reports of parent contact with the school in regards to bullying.
  • a 2% increase in helping a student who has been bullied.
  • a 20% decrease in the number of students who would just watch the bullying happen.
  • a 41% decrease in the number of students who think teachers have done nothing about bullying.
  • a 44% decrease in the percentage of students reporting they have no friends or only 1 friend at school.
  • a 23% decrease in the number of students reporting that they dislike school.

We look forward to surveying students again at the end of the 2015-2016 school year! For more information about the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program contact Honey Minkowitz at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Programs are funded in part by the County of Dutchess.

 Programs funded in part by Dutchess County Youth Services.