Center for Resolutions, a division of Community Dispute Settlement Program of Delaware County, was founded by a few staff members of the Testimony and Concerns Committee of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting in 1976. They began to observe the court system and noticed neighbor and family cases coming before the District Judges often did not get resolved. The legal system did not get to the root of conflict, and as a result, the conflicts often escalated. When they saw the challenges faced by the judges they searched for another way to find more satisfying resolutions. They approached the Bar Association and eventually developed a mediation program and began training volunteer community members. In 1981, Community Dispute Settlement Program spun off from the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting as an independent organization primarily offering mediation services.
In 2003 CDSP changed its name to Center for Resolutions to reflect its expansion of services. In addition to mediation, CFR now offers conflict coaching, facilitation, school programs, customized workshops and conflict resolution trainings for children and adults. Additionally, we expanded our practice to incorporate more aspects of the Restorative Justice philosophy with our Youth Aid Panel Program. Restorative Justice is a framework which involves victims and communities more broadly in the criminal justice system. Our Youth Aid Panel Program provides juvenile offenders the opportunity to go before a panel of trained community members who work with them to create a resolution which holds them accountable for their actions, encourages them to make amends, includes an educational component and often recommends community service. Currently, Center for Resolutions has 30 Youth Aid Panels in over 19 municipalities in Delaware County. We have over 250 youth aid panel volunteers and approximately 40 volunteer mediators who play an integral role in sustaining our programs. Today our staff and volunteers work to complement the efforts of the legal community to resolve conflicts and prevent violence.