Fifth Judicial District of Pennsylvania
County of Allegheny
Child Custody | Generations Program

The Generations program, part of the Child Custody Department, is a mandatory two-part process for individuals involved in a custody dispute. This alternative dispute resolution program includes an educational seminar for adults, an interactive group for children ages six through fifteen, and a mediation orientation session. Classes are held at the Family Law Center.

The adult education seminar of the Generations program is approximately three hours in length and offers parents/caregivers the skills to reach their own resolution on custody issues. The following topics are addressed:

  • How to build a co-parenting relationship
  • How to communicate and problem-solve
  • How to help children cope effectively with their changing family
  • Identify how parent/caregiver conflict can affect the behavior of children
  • Understand that most children do best when they have the opportunity to know and love both parents
  • General overview of the mediation session

The children’s group serves children between the ages of six and fifteen years old. Children are appropriately grouped by age so that they can identify and share with peers similar experiences in their families. These groups are facilitated with activities, discussions, art, music and play.

Mediation Session:
Child Custody Department
440 Ross Street, Suite 1030
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

The custody mediation session gives parents/caregivers an opportunity to meet with a trained mediator to address issues related to meeting their child(ren)’s needs and to formulate a custody arrangement. Neither children nor attorneys participate in the mediation. Parties will meet with a mediator for two to two and a half hours to discuss approaches to a successful parenting plan. The goal of mediation is for parents to create their own custody plan, called a Memorandum of Understanding. Mediation is not therapy and does not include legal advice. Rather, the mediation process encourages adults to work together and to be responsible for their own parenting decisions.

Mediation sessions are confidential with limited exceptions. The discussions during mediation cannot be recorded or copied. The mediator cannot be required to testify in court. Mediators are often members of the legal or mental health fields with advanced degrees, in addition to having basic and ongoing advanced training in mediation.

Common Questions:
  • How do I prepare my child for the class?
    Talk to your child regarding sharing their feelings about their family with friends their own age.
  • Will I be able to talk to the children’s’ facilitators at the end of the class?
    Children’s’ facilitators will be happy to discuss with you the activities your children were involved in. However, they will not be able to provide you with specific comments made by individual children.
  • Who do I ask about special needs?
    Call the Custody Department at 412-350-4311 for further information regarding your situation.
  • Do you have daycare available?
    There is NO daycare available for the education seminar. Family Division provides a children’s room for daycare purposes when parents attend their mediation session.

Quotes from parents and children who attended the Generations program:

  • "I am glad that I attended the session. The Generations program is here to help parents keep their children out of the middle."
  • "This seminar really taught me some things that either I was unsure of or didn’t know. On my way to the class, I was angry that I had to come. Now I’m so happy that I attended."
  • "Thank you for an alternative to court."
The best thing that happened to me in class today was . . .
  • "I got to talk and get the scary feelings out of my stomach." Age 6
  • "The class taught me that it’s ok to have fun and not worry about the grownups." Age 7
  • "I learned that it’s not alright for my mom or my dad to put me and my brother in the middle, and I’m going to ask them to stop it." Age 14