Georgetown University Child Development Center
3307 M Street NW Suite 401
Washington, DC 20007
United States

The GUCDC, a component of the Department of Pediatrics within the Medical Center, offers both clinical services and policy assistance to communities in a way that encourages a collaborative system of care to children with or at risk for disabilities. The Conflict management Program provides mediation and facilitation to communities that require assistance with the process of collaboration. The Program also trains administrators, providers and family members from a variety of child-serving systems in the processes of interest-based negotiation, mediation and facilitation so that the systems can begin to insert the principles of collaborative decision making into their individual exchanges as well as throughout their system.
The Program was created and is run by Elizabeth Z. Williams, J.D. and Phyllis R. Magrab, Ph.D. Ms. Williams has litigated and mediated in a variety of child related cases. She has been the director of the conflict management program since 1995. Dr. Magrab is a well-known child psychologist and has been the director of the GUCDC for 25 years.
Since its inception, the conflict management program has conducted training in several sites across the country. Communities have shown particular interest in the negotiation training. The training typically lasts 2 days for about 24 participants. Systems are encouraged to include a diverse representation of stakeholders in each training. One local school system committed to providing the negotiation training to about 300 participants including administrators, teachers, other service providers and parents. Both immediately and in the long term, conflict has been prevented or resolved at the local level and good, problem solving relationships are becoming more common between parties traditionally hostile to one another.
As individuals and systems are encouraged and, in fact, mandated to collaborate, it is imperative that all involved understand and implement a process which makes mutually satisfactory and durable collaboration possible.