Jefferson County Mediation Services (JCMS), the only continuous, comprehensive county mediation program in Colorado, marks its 25th anniversary in 2018, having served individuals and families through more than 23,000 conflict resolution cases.
JCMS provides county residents with free mediation services for most areas of conflict including neighbor‐to‐neighbor conflicts over noise, animals and property lines, contract disputes, landlord‐tenant issues, code enforcement issues, child support, custody and holiday parenting disputes, protection order conferences, police‐citizen mediation and workplace disputes.
“Much appreciation and thanks go to Jeffco Mediation Services for helping us resolve cases on a weekly basis, year after year,” noted District Court Judge Thomas E. Vance. “This not only benefits the court but also the community where parties can amicably resolve their disputes with neutral and professional mediators.”
Over the years JCMS has built a base of more than 200 professional volunteer mediators, representing diverse educational and employment backgrounds. All professional volunteer mediators who range in age from early 20s to 91, have completed a minimum 40‐hour mediation training course and many have post‐graduate degrees and certifications. All have passed background checks.
At the 25th Anniversary Volunteer Appreciation Ceremony on Aug. 28 at Applewood Golf Course, JCMS honored its mediators including nine new members of its 100 Club, a total of 62 volunteers who have mediated 100 or more cases.
According to JCMS Executive Director and founder Mark S. Loye, the program has grown exponentially, beginning with only 69 cases in 1994. “Several notable people were among the original organizers serving on the committee that developed JCMS,” Loye said. Among them is Brian Boatright, a former Jefferson County deputy district attorney and now a Colorado Supreme Court justice.
In 2017, mediation services processed more than 1,460 cases. Loye notes two big surges in JCMS cases over the 25‐year history. In late 1995, the programadded several hundred cases after Small Claims Court magistrates requested mediator involvement. In 2008, JCMS partnered with the county’s Child Support Services, again adding significantly to the growth of mediation services. JCMS has mediated 4,900 landlord‐tenant and small claims in the past five years. Since 2012, JCMS volunteer mediators have also worked on a total of 838 child support services cases that were diverted from the court to mediation, and assisted child support services through mediation to increase collections by more than $2.5 million.
Five JCMS staff members provide administrative services including processing incoming cases, assigning cases and court mediations to volunteers, managing data bases, recruiting and supporting new volunteers and managing cases.
In 2017, hours donated by volunteer mediators were valued at $472,200, based on the low end of the range of costs generally charged by professional mediators. Jefferson County referring agencies avoided, and as a result saved, $162,840 in costs with help from mediation services.
“Mediation services have saved the county significant resources and staff time to make the best use of taxpayer dollars and after 25 years, county departments have an established, existing resource they can rely on,” Loye said.
“Population growth brings with it more potential for conflict. JCMS diverts pressure from the courts and referring agencies, and can be much less threatening and less costly to participants.”
To learn more about Jefferson County Mediation Services, call 303-271-5060, email [email protected] or visit the Jefferson County Mediation Services website.