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Washington's 21 Dispute Resolution Centers (DRCs) strengthen equity in dispute resolution through free or affordable community-based mediation and training statewide, including trauma-informed services supporting housing stability, family stability, and youth and community restorative practices.

  • DRCs help families, individuals, organizations and communities to effectively navigate conflicts amid mounting economic, political, and social pressures.

  • DRCs provide community access to justice in response to tensions including polarization, housing crises, family struggles and public safety. 

  • DRCs meet clients where they are, and meet accessibility needs through language assistance, options for in person, phone, and online services, working with community partners. 

  • The DRCs continue to deliver voluntary housing stability services following the June 2023 conclusion of the two-year, mandatory Eviction Resolution Pilot Program, in addition to other dispute resolution and training services.

Resolution Washington appreciates the Legislature’s 2023-2025 biennial investment in the wellbeing of communities statewide via DRC general operating support.

Legislative Requests

Enhance affordable housing, transitional housing, and supportive services through service-ready organizations
Resolution Washington strongly encourages Washington State to consider new program collaborations in priority areas, including upstream solutions to housing challenges and access to justice that draw upon existing strengths within organizations and communities across our state.

 

Prioritize equity and access to justice in legislation and investment 

Resolution Washington and the DRCS request that the Legislature prioritize policies, practices, and services that advance equity, dismantle poverty, and address systemic racism, including by integrating effective and equity-focused dispute resolution processes when creating legislation.

Click here for a PDF of the 2024 Resolution Washington Legislative Agenda

 

 

Washington’s 21 Dispute Resolution Centers (DRCs) strengthen equity in dispute resolution through the provision of free or affordable community-based mediation and training statewide, including trauma-informed services supporting housing stability, family stability, and youth and community restorative practices.

Stable, sufficient operating funding for DRCs ensures Washingtonians statewide have access to low- or no-cost dispute resolution services, empowering individual decision-making while reducing burdens on courts and other agencies. Stable core funding also ensures DRCs are ready to add special programs as needed to help the State meet critical needs, such as housing stability.

Check out our 2023 Annual Report for more information.

Check out DRC program and client stories below and on our Testimonials page.

 

DRC Historical Commitment with the State

About DRCs & Impact

 

About DRCs

Resolution Washington is Washington's association of nonprofit Dispute Resolution Centers (DRCs) that leverage a comparatively tiny portion of the state budget and significant volunteer resources to deliver cost-effective conflict resolution services across the entire state. In 2020 Resolution Washington directly served 59,689 residents including 2,915 youth in communities across the state, providing access to services regardless of ability to pay in accordance with RCW 7.75. 2020 was a challenging year for the DRCs as service providers and for the people they serve.

RESWA-Annual-Report-Award-Graphic_Web-RG

Resolution Washington is committed to equal justice for all marginalized community members and supports people of color and low-income residents in having access to equitable opportunities statewide.

Resolution Washington is a partner of the

Resources

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Historical commitment

Historical Commitment with the State

It is the role of the Legislature to “stimulate the establishment and use of dispute resolution centers to help meet the need for alternatives to the courts for the resolution of certain disputes” (RCW 7.75.010 (2)(a)).

The state Legislature established a framework for DRCs in 1984 to provide a high-quality resolution alternative for many types of disputes. DRCs “meet the needs of Washington’s citizens by providing forums in which persons may voluntarily participate in the resolution of disputes” (RCW 7.75).

Through this statute, DRCs provide mediation, mediator training & certification, and public education. DRCs provide relief to Courts throughout the state by mediating disputes where the participants can settle, reducing docket sizes and wait times while allowing the Courts to focus on those cases requiring their attention.

Through other funding sources, DRCs also provide additional services. We tailor our programs to meet the needs of the local communities, including restorative practices work with schools, at-risk youth programming, homelessness prevention, collaborations with tribes, and community facilitation.

Resolution Washington member DRCs currently serve the entire state. Several of our DRCs are on the brink of survival, struggling financially despite provision of valuable service to courts, public institutions and communities. They have managed to survive thus far only due to the heroic dedication of their very limited staff and committed volunteers, but they cannot meet the full mandate in this manner.

Without increased financial support those struggling DRCs will be forced to reduce public access to these resources set by statute. That would prevent DRCs from meeting the full breadth of current and future needs for the state and local communities.

DRC fees revenue is down 59% -chart showing a $600,000 reduction in fees between 1997 and 2019

In 1997, 18 centers reported that they collected $1,044,858 in court filing fee revenue from Counties throughout the state. In 2019, 21 centers reported $679,257 from this revenue stream. In 1997 dollars, the 2019 revenue is equivalent to $426,362. DRCs are now receiving 59 percent less revenue in than they did in 1997, adjusted for inflation. The fees are paid by local residents filing cases in Court and are highly variable by County from year to year.

Historical Commitment with the State

Map of the 21 DRCs across Washinton State

We empower people across sectors for effective, long-term solutions.

Conflict occurs at every level of society, and it can either strengthen or destroy relationships. Our 21 member DRCs across the state equip individuals, groups and organizations to manage conflict, improve relationships and support a culture of understanding and effective problem-solving.

All our member DRCs provide these core services:

  • Mediation

  • Mediator training & certification

  • Public education

Our DRCs also tailor services to meet local needs through a variety of programs including:

  • Restorative practices

  • Family and elder services

  • School collaborations

  • Conflict coaching

  • Facilitation

Because we are embedded in communities across the state, our work reflects local needs. We bring together people with diverse viewpoints and interests to address issues like:

  • Truancy

  • Homelessness

  • Environmental issues

  • At-risk youth and families

  • Community and planning disputes

We convene communities to resolve our most difficult issues.

We bring together people with diverse viewpoints and interests to solve problems like homelessness, reentry, and more. Because we are embedded in communities across the state, our work reflects local needs.

STORIES THE DATA DOESN'T TELL... The following are a few highlights of solutions we helped facilitate in the communities we serve:

About DRC Impact

Mediator Acts as a Lifeline for Landlord and Tenant Negotiating Arrears

FULCRUM INSTITUTE DISPUTE RESOLUTION CLINIC | SPOKANE

The landlord wants to negotiate a rent repayment plan for the 4 months’ rent the tenant owes, while facing his own mortgage arrears on the rental property. The laid-off tenant has no money at present to negotiate a repayment plan, yet needs to make a good faith effort in order to avoid eviction when the moratorium is over. Both tenant and landlord are drowning in debt, the unknown, and the constantly shifting tides of orders, extensions, rent assistance, and stimulus checks. The mediator is on the end of the line, listening, keeping the channel of communication open between landlord and tenant, helping them find a way forward, even if just to maintain goodwill and hope for now, a lifeline in a rising river. 

Building Trust and Coalition with Covid-19-Impacted Latino Community

DISPUTE RESOLUTION CENTER OF GRAYS HARBOR & PACIFIC COUNTIES | ABERDEEN

An out-of-work Latino father sold the tools of his trade to pay his back rent, afraid if he didn’t the family would be evicted and deported. Others in the Gray’s Harbor Latino community went without utilities and food, distrustful and unaware of their rights under the eviction moratorium. There was also naivete about Covid-19 protocol, endangering their lives.  The two Spanish-speaking staff at Gray’s Harbor who had been weaving a web of trust within the Latino community for years, widened that web to include other community agency partners, becoming a conduit of communication and coalition that is mitigating the distrust and misinformation, and increasing the number of Latinx people who now feel safe and sound in their homes. 

Participants Surprised by their Unconscious White Bias

SIX RIVERS DISPUTE RESOLUTION CENTER | KLICKITAT & SKAMANIA COUNTIES

The covert bias class participants were suddenly silent; the slow awareness of their own unconscious insults hanging in the air. “I had never realized complimenting a black woman about her hair could be taken as a racial insult,” one student shared. She now was beginning to understand how this singling out was an act of further separation for someone whose people had experienced centuries of segregation and abuse. The all-white participants were facing their own racism before leading a public dialogue on escalated racist and violent happenings, each becoming themselves the change they wished to see. 

 

Recovering Mother and Daughter Heal their Broken Relationship Through Parent Teen Mediation

WHATCOM DISPUTE RESOLUTION CENTER | BELLINGHAM

Mom’s drunken behavior had finally driven a wedge between her and her daughter. The daughter now lived with dad who entered the family into parent-teen mediation to heal the rift. The mediators helped open channels of communication between mother and daughter, giving the daughter to safely share her thoughts, and draw healthy boundaries, and the mother a place to admit her remorse and love for her daughter. Covid-19 restrictions created another barrier, but mediators helped the two find their way to weekly, distanced walks at their old childhood park, where together they took small steps toward trust again.  

We provide a framework for more cooperative communities.

Our present level of civil discourse is not so civil. The public rhetoric is filled with blame and “us versus them” sentiment. In the state of Washington, we have an opportunity to step forward and offer a vision of what cooperation and collaboration could look like. Resolution Washington is doing this work at the local level through our community-based DRCs and is available to collaborate on these issues at the state level.

With the investment of the state Legislature, we can continue to lay the foundation of conflict resolution and civil discourse that our communities, state and nation so desperately need right now.

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