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NYSDRA is committed to the promotion of quality conflict management and peaceful dispute resolution.

Established in 1985, NYSDRA is a professional membership association, and also administers statewide dispute resolution programs under contract with several state agencies. Members include Community Dispute Resolution Centers (CDRCs), individual practitioners, and others who are dedicated to advancing the field and their skills. NYSDRA also provides: 

 An annual conference with workshops and awards for leaders
 Advanced mediation and arbitration training
 A website with listings of educational and employment opportunities, special events, and directory of service providers
 Outreach and advocacy to increase public awareness of dispute resolution and the services provided by our members  
 Connections between emerging needs for dispute resolution and the services offered by our members

For over 30 years NYSDRA has supported our CDRC members, who provide mediation and arbitration services in every county of the state. The network handles court referred cases, local referrals and NYSDRA referrals, and delivers services to 65,000-70,000 people across the state in nearly 30,000 cases. At least 74% of those cases result in agreements or resolutions, usually within a few weeks, with compliance rates of over 95%. Dispute resolution and other services are provided at low or no cost to NY residents. 

NYSDRA provides administrative staff, overall supervision and quality assurance, specialized training, technical assistance, consumer outreach and education in the following advanced dispute resolution programs:

NYS Agricultural Mediation Program is a joint federal and state program, sponsored by the United States Department of Agricultural and the NYS Unified Court System. NYSAMP provides mediation services to farmers and other customers of the USDA, agricultural creditors, and other members of agricultural communities. Conflicts include neighbor complaints, debts, unpaid bills, business planning, land use conflicts, and succession planning. 

Lemon Law Arbitration Program with the NYS Office of the Attorney General. Established in 1986, this program offers an independent and fair forum to resolve disputes between consumers and vehicle manufacturers or dealers.
Early Intervention Mediation Program with the NYS Department of Health. Established in 1993, this program assists families of infants and toddlers with developmental disabilities when conflict arises over a child’s services.

Special Education Mediation Program with the NYS Education Department. Established in 1990, this program offers parents and schools access to mediation services to help them resolve disagreements about the special-needs students’ individualized educational programs.

ACCES VR Mediation Program with the NYS Education Department. Also established in 1990, this program offers consumers alternative dispute resolution options to resolve disagreements about vocational rehabilitation services.

The Community Dispute Resolution Centers network was established in 1991; CDRCs serve all 62 counties of New York. Nearly 1400 professionally trained mediators donate their time in their communities. Mediation is cost effective:  the average cost is less than $350 is much lower than litigated cases. Referrals come from family and civil courts, previous clients, self-referrals, public agencies and private organizations. CDRCs provide services to all residents, including low-income persons and underserved groups. Their shared mission is to give people tools to address conflict peacefully and productively, and to improve access to justice. 

Outreach and Advocacy:  NYSDRA and the CDRC network are increasing the understanding and use of dispute resolution and resources. Our public awareness campaigns have increased our visibility and our capacity to advocate in the state legislature, court system and executive office. In 2016-17 Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks pledged to increase funding to the CDRCs in order to expand family services. We are working with agencies and stakeholders to identify local resources for implementing the Raise the Age legislation and other juvenile justice reforms. NYSDRA also initiated a public awareness campaign using the internet and Google AdWords to connect residents with local services.  

Structure and Partnerships: NYSDRA is a private not-for-profit organization with a volunteer Board of Directors, an Executive Director and 7 staff members. The Directors bring legal, mediation, and business acumen to their positions on the Board, as well as a passion for the mission. Our staff are a passionate and dedicated team committed to the programs we deliver.

NYSDRA is an active member of several organizations which also provide advice and resources.  These groups include the NYS Council on Divorce Mediation, New York Council of Nonprofits, Inc., Empire State Society of Association Executives, National Association for Community Mediation, National Center on Dispute Resolution in Special Education, and the Coalition of Agricultural Mediation Programs. Our close relationship with the Unified Court System provides us the opportunity to support the work and witness the impact CDRCs are having in their communities. 

NYSDRA’s public and private members benefit from sharing experience and knowledge of emerging practices and community needs, and from our coordinated outreach and advocacy initiatives. Through shared data, ideas and energy, we work with many stakeholders to improve access to justice; increase the use of dispute resolution, restorative practices, and collaborative problem solving; and to build stronger and safer communities.

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