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Abstract

Disputes arising from a child protective service intervention, and other child welfare related issues, often have their roots in the fundamental conflict of two important American values: liberty and fraternity (community). Lost within the multilayered conflict involving multiple parties is the at-risk child and a clear focus on his or her best interests. Collaborative processes enhanced by mediation can address underlying value conflict as well as disagreement over substantive issues. All concerned parties thereby are helped to focus on the best interest of the child.