DRC is a private non-profit agency serving Orange, Putnam, Sullivan and Ulster Counties with:
- mediation services
- educational programs
- training and workshops
- group facilitation
A Brief History
The Community Dispute Resolution Centers were established in 1981 by the New York State Legislature when it created the Program as a three-year pilot project under the administration of what now is the New York State Unified Court System’s Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution. This groundbreaking legislation established standards for the delivery of mediation services throughout New York State and authorized funding for local community dispute resolution centers. The legislation was made permanent in 1984, and the Unified Court System now funds local community dispute resolution centers that serve the needs of citizens in every one of New York State’s 62 counties.
DRC is part of a larger Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) community, the Unified Court System’s statewide network of the Community Dispute Resolution Centers’ (CDRC) programs. Enabled in 1981 by NY State Legislation, Article 21a, there are centers in all 62 New York Counties. Under the auspices of the NYS Unified Court System, the Community Dispute Resolution Centers, all local non-profit organizations, provide mediation, arbitration, group facilitation and other dispute resolution options as an alternative to the traditional court system.
DRC was established in 1982 as the Orange County Mediation Project, Inc. (OCMP). In 1986 the agency expanded across the majestic Hudson River to assume oversight of the Putnam County program. Along the way, with offices in both Orange and Putnam Counties, it became clear that the program had grown well beyond “project” status. Everyone agreed that it was time to choose a new name, one that would reflect and honor the more permanent status of the organization. Shortly thereafter, in 1993, the Orange County Mediation Project, Inc. became known as the Dispute Resolution Center (DRC.)
The ensuing years were a time of steady growth for the DRC. Beyond the core program of community mediation, the agency was one of the early pilots to offer Special Education Mediation, Custody Visitation Mediation and the Parent Education and Custody Effectiveness (P.E.A.C.E.) in the early 1990s. In 1997, DRC’s proposal for a Supreme Court Referred Divorce Mediation Program was chosen as one of the five pilot programs by Chief Justice Judith Kaye’s Judicial Commission. All the while, the number of school and youth programs continued to grow, allowing the agency to serve increasing numbers of youth. At the same time, DRC took the lead in creating collaborative efforts that resulted in expanded and innovative programming and services. Then, in 2002, more than doubling the geographic size of the area served, DRC expanded again by contracting with the New York State Unified Court System to provide mediation services for Sullivan and Ulster Counties.
In addition to the New York State Office of Court Administration’s funding, DRC’s work is supported by grants from the following:
- NYS Unified Court System Office of Court Administration
- New York State Dispute Resolution Association
- Orange County Department of Social Servics
- Orange County Legislature
- Sullivan County Department of Social Services
- Sullivan County Youth Bureau
- The Dyson Foundation
- Ulster County Youth Bureau
- Ulster County Legislature