Mediation Matters & COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Is Mediation Matters still offering services?
Yes! Even though we are not currently in Mediation Matters office space, staff and professionally trained volunteers are working remotely. Services that are normally conducted in person are now being offered remotely.
How do I request and/or obtain services?
You may request services through our website’s Contact Us page or call one of our offices:
Albany office – 518.446.0356
Saratoga office – 518.584-6361
Schenectady office – 518.847.0117
Messages are retrieved multiple times a day. A Mediation Matters staff member will respond in a timely manner.
Services are also requested/obtained by a referral from another entity such as a court, workplace, community agency, etc. A Mediation Matters staff member will follow up on all referrals.
Who is the point of contact for Mediation Matters?
Sarah Rudgers-Tysz, Executive Director and Jim FitzGerald, Director of Services are primary contacts for Mediation Matters. Sarah can be reached at 518.446.0356, ext. 13. Jim can be reached at 518.446.0356, ext. 16.
Additionally, the entire staff are at-the-ready to assist you in whatever you may need. A listing of the entire staff and their contact information can be found here.
How are services offered remotely?
Mediation Matters offers services remotely using web-based platform (ex: Zoom) or a conference call platform (ex: FreeConferenceCall.com). When signatures are needed to commence services, Mediation Matters uses DocuSign, an e-sign technology platform.
Are remote services private and confidential?
As with in-person services, Mediation Matters takes confidentiality extremely seriously regarding remote services. While no remote platform is without risk, Mediation Matters’ protocols for remote services require all settings on technology used for services to be set to ensure as much privacy as possible. Intake procedures are designed to make certain services occur in the most confidential manner possible. Services do not commence unless parties agree to maintain confidentiality. All staff and volunteers are trained and required to uphold confidentiality in all aspects of service delivery.
How will I know what to do in preparing for remote services?
Mediation Matters staff conduct a thorough intake process prior to any service (in-person or remote). A portion of the intake process is reserved to assist clients in preparing for a mediation session including a “test run” on the platform that will be used.
If my mediation reaches an agreement during a remote session, how do we write up the agreement?
Professionally trained mediators will assist parties in writing up an agreement and share the document via DocuSign for review and signature. Parties will have a copy of signed agreements. Mediation Matters staff will submit the agreement to particular court if required.
Can I access an agreement document from a prior mediation?
Mediation Matters maintains agreements on file for a certain number of years before they’re destroyed. Requests for agreements can be made by contacting Jim FitzGerald, Director of Services at 518.446.0356, ext. 16.
When will in-person services resume?
Mediation Matters board of directors and executive leadership will comply with all NYS public health orders. Resumption of in-person services, when permitted, will be conducted in consultation with public health guidelines, and such information will be posted on this website.
Will remote services be available after the pandemic is over?
Mediation Matters is dedicated to making services as accessible as possible and will continue to offer remote services after the pandemic to those clients for whom remote services remains their best possible option.
What are your hours of operation during the pandemic?
While official office hours for Mediation Matters is 9:00am to 4:00pm, the timing of services are customized to meet clients’ needs to include evening hours.
What is the cost for remote services?
Mediation Matters recognizes the financial hardship during the pandemic and is waiving the administrative fees associated with services until further notice.
Can I still participate even though my court date was postponed?
Yes. Mediation Matters services are offered with or without a court filing; that has not changed during this time. Mediation Matters staff are connecting with all of the courts in our area and will work with them and you to ensure appropriate paperwork is filed.
Can my young person still participate even though my school is operating remotely?
Yes. Mediation Matters can provide services to youth and families and schools in preparation for return in the fall. We will use a platform for these sessions that is acceptable to all.
What protocols are in place for contacting my child while working remotely?
Mediation Matters staff will seek parent/guardian permission before contacting any minor. Once permission is secured, the staff will talk with the youth on their own to give them the same opportunity as the adults in their lives.
What if I have unique needs for working on a remote platform?
Mediation Matters continues to make accommodations for all parties and will discuss any unique needs during the intake process.