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The History of WCDRC

Celebrating 30 Years of Resolving Disputes

The Wayne County Dispute Resolution Center (WCDRC) can trace its origins all of the way back to 1987, when the “Southwest Detroit Neighborhood Reconciliation Center” was founded under the umbrella of New Detroit, Inc.  Its original mission was to provide peaceful dispute resolution for the residents of the 3rd and 4th police precincts in southwest Detroit. In the thirty years since its founding, the Center has greatly expanded its scope and changed its name several times, but remains dedicated to providing peaceful resolution to residents of Wayne County.

Two short years after its creation, the Center expanded its scope and joined the statewide network of community dispute resolution centers provided for in the Community Dispute Resolution Act of 1989 and began receiving court filing fees as a primary funding source. An important element of the CDR Program was to utilize volunteers as mediators. In 1990, to reflect its growth, the Center’s name was officially changed to the “Detroit Neighborhood Reconciliation Center.”

In 1993, the Detroit Neighborhood Reconciliation Center became legally independent of New Detroit, Inc. and Sharon Miller became its first Executive Director. The Center began to serve not only the City of Detroit, but also the suburbs of Wayne County. The new referral sources included the 18th (Westland) and 23rd (Taylor) district courts as well as the Taylor Police Department and Canton Township Department of Public Safety. Soon thereafter, with the adoption of court rules governing court-ordered mediation, the Wayne County Probate Court became one of the Center’s earliest and largest sources of court-referred cases.

In 2003, after 13 years as Executive Director, Sharon Miller stepped down and Howard Lischeron, WMC’s Deputy Director, stepped into the position of Executive Director. His charge was to further expand the programs of the Center both in terms of number and emphasis. To reflect and encompass the growing work being done in the area of mediation throughout Wayne County, the Centers name was changed in 2005 to the Wayne Mediation Center. At the same time, two offices were consolidated and relocated to Dearborn, more in the center of the County.

Beginning in 2007, WMC began new program initiatives, expanding its special education mediation, truancy and permanent placement for children who are victims of abuse and neglect. To pursue these initiatives, WMC obtained grants from a variety of sources and began conducting mediator training, originally in conjunction with the University of Detroit-Mercy School of Law. This enabled the Center to provide scores of recently trained mediators the opportunity to work with more seasoned mediators in delivery of much needed assistance to parties in disputes.

In January 2010, Howard Lischeron retired as Executive Director, and Bernard Dempsey was hired to further the growth and initiatives begun under Howard, particularly focusing upon the Center’s youth and family targeted programs.

Today, WCDRC, also known as Wayne Mediation Center, has approximately ten separate sources of funding and still relies upon many volunteer mediators to handle more than 3,000 cases a year referred from numerous courts, schools and agencies in Wayne County.

Help Our Children

Our Youth live in a challenging era with technology and distractions running rampant. Not only is this difficult for our Youth to focus, but having trouble in the home only amplifies this already big problem. The Wayne County Dispute Resolution Center needs your help! A small donation goes a long way for our Youth.

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