State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > North-carolina > Chapter_7B > GS_7B-202

§ 7B‑202.  Permanencymediation.

(a)        The AdministrativeOffice of the Courts shall establish a Permanency Mediation Program to providestatewide and uniform services to resolve issues in cases under this Subchapterin which a juvenile is alleged or has been adjudicated to be abused, neglected,or dependent, or in which a petition or motion to terminate a parent's rightshas been filed. Participants in the mediation shall include the parties andtheir attorneys, including the guardian ad litem and attorney advocate for thechild; provided, the court may allow mediation to proceed without theparticipation of a parent whose identity is unknown, a party who was served andhas not made an appearance, or a parent, guardian, or custodian who has notbeen served despite a diligent attempt to serve the person. Upon a finding ofgood cause, the court may allow mediation to proceed without the participationof a parent who is unable to participate due to incarceration, illness, or someother cause. Others may participate by agreement of the parties, theirattorneys, and the mediator, or by order of the court.

(b)        The AdministrativeOffice of the Courts shall establish in phases a statewide Permanency MediationProgram consisting of local district programs to be established in all judicialdistricts of the State. The Director of the Administrative Office of the Courtsis authorized to approve contractual agreements for such services as executedby order of the Chief District Court Judge of a district court district, such contractsto be exempt from competitive bidding procedures under Chapter 143 of theGeneral Statutes. The Administrative Office of the Courts shall promulgatepolicies and regulations necessary and appropriate for the administration ofthe program. Any funds appropriated by the General Assembly for theestablishment and maintenance of permanency mediation programs under thisArticle shall be administered by the Administrative Office of the Courts.

(c)        Mediationproceedings shall be held in private and shall be confidential. Except asprovided otherwise in this section, all verbal or written communications fromparticipants in the mediation to the mediator or between or among theparticipants in the presence of the mediator are absolutely privileged and inadmissiblein court.

(d)        Neither themediator nor any party or other person involved in mediation sessions underthis section shall be competent to testify to communications made during or infurtherance of such mediation sessions; provided, there is no confidentialityor privilege as to communications made in furtherance of a crime or fraud.Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as permitting an individual toobtain immunity from prosecution for criminal conduct or as excusing anindividual from the reporting requirements of Article 3 of Chapter 7B of theGeneral Statutes or G.S. 108A‑102.

(e)        Any agreementreached by the parties as a result of the mediation, whether referred to as a"placement agreement," "case plan," or some similar name,shall be reduced to writing, signed by each party, and submitted to the courtas soon as practicable. Unless the court finds good reason not to, the courtshall incorporate the agreement in a court order, and the agreement shallbecome enforceable as a court order. If some or all of the issues referred tomediation are not resolved by mediation, the mediator shall report that fact tothe court. (2006‑187,s. 4(a).)