Diving below the surface of conflict. Leading transformative conversations with Santa Clara County employees, departments, agencies, communities, and residents. Helping everyone find common ground.
How transformative mediation and ombuds practice works:
Listen Confidentially – We invite you into safe, strictly confidential conversations, where your voice matters, your experiences matter, and your needs matter.
Convene Informal Conversations – We bring people in the County together to build communication bridges that heal County relationships, improve trust in one another, and facilitate mutual understanding.
Work Omni-partially – We are allies to everyone who is open and ready to dive beneath surface-level positions, to explore tough questions, to meet deep needs, and to find common interests that humanize County government.
Independent Servant Leadership – We manage communication and conflict resolution processes that are separate from County department, County agency, and State court mechanisms to help surface needs and interests that otherwise fall through the gaps of formal process.
**Collectively, confidentiality, informality, omni-partiality and independence are the backbone of our transformative practice and accord with the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) Standards of Practice & Code of Ethics @IOA Standards of Practice & Code of Ethics (ombudsassociation.org).
Ask us for communication & conflict resolution support.
Asking ACOO (Adult Custody Organizational Ombuds) means...
- Inviting safe, confidential conversations that improve access to supportive jail services and processes, and help support fair treatment and dignity in County jails.
- A pilot program with the Custody Bureau's Grievance Unit to help people with denied jail grievances surface underlying needs and clarify goals, obstacles, and options to differently navigate County jails.
Asking JWOO (Juvenile Welfare Organizational Ombuds) means...
- Improving communication and responsiveness between the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) and the children and families the Department serves.
- Helping anyone who feels stuck, uncertain, frustrated, or unheard in the juvenile dependency system and is looking for a way forward.
Asking our Children, Families, Seniors Conflict Resolution Program for service & support means...
- Family meetings about care and housing of aging parents.
- Family relationship and behavior plans.
- Conservatorship/Guardianship dialogues and mediations.
- Trust and estate mediations.
Asking our County Mediation Programs for service & support means...
For County agency clients, County communities, and County residents:
- Facilitated dialogues for children, families, and seniors involved with County Social Services.
- Restorative community conferencing (including Victim-Offender Dialogues) to help people repair harms and surface sometimes hard-to-see root causes of community conflict.
For County employees, agencies, and departments:
- Improved relationship dynamics between work colleagues, managers, and direct reports.
- Support with communication breakdowns and disharmony within teams and groups, with liaisons, and with customers/clients.
Asking our Restorative Justice Program for service & support means...
- Victim-Offender Mediation (VOM) dialogues in criminal contexts to help repair harms, build understanding and promote community healing.
- Facilitating parent-youth dialogues in criminal contexts to support family healing.
- Juvenile Justice or District Attorney referred dialogues to look beyond punitive justice in criminal contexts.
And, when civil court judges directly ask us to mediate, it typically means...
- Providing community members a court alternative for resolving complex probate/guardianship cases or helping people find resolution in civil harassment/temporary restraining order matters.
Engage us to support your individual or group needs.
Communication and Conflict Coaching
- Helping individuals bridge from difficult and destructive communication cycles to helpful and constructive ones.
- Providing executives and rising leaders with a safe forum to consider, plan, and strategize about important next step decisions and action.
- Learn simple tools and techniques to effectively manage communication and conflict.
- Develop and improve listening skills and inquiry approaches to engage people and help them feel heard.
Consensus Building Workshops
- Help bring group dynamics to consensus, with informed decisions and actionable plans forward.
- Focused conversations that bring clarity to objective, reactive, interpretative and decisional information, to give decision-makers what they need to succeed.
Group / Department Facilitations
- Surfacing what people are seeing, hearing, feeling, thinking and doing to build shared context, mutual understanding, trust...and to better inform consensus-based change.
- Helping groups navigate difficult behaviors and interpersonal dynamics, looking at conflict differently, pinpointing challenges, and surfacing solutions.
- Develop plans for organizational change.
- Voluntariness - Your choices determine whether there is openness and readiness for this type of process.
- Omni-partiality - We listen to everyone and look for common ground areas at and below the surface of conflict.
- Confidentiality - We hold information strictly confidential to make processes safe and inviting for people to talk freely about sensitive subjects. (Note: California protects mediation confidences in its Evidence Code §§ 1115 - 1129).
Organizational Ombuds Programs
- Akin to organizational mediators who focus on healing County relationships and empowering system change.
- The heart and soul of the practice is to be responsive to people's immediate needs, while also providing a platform for anonymized system feedback and structural change.
- System level work largely consists of aggregating people's lived experiences in ways that help County decision-makers identify root causes of conflict and differently manage County systems, County structures, and County services to differently meet needs.
- Practices are aligned with transformative mediation and with the International Ombudsman Association (IOA's) Ethical Standards of Practice, where IOA states practice pillars as: Office Independence, Strict Confidentiality, Process Informality & Neutrality.
The Office of Mediation and Ombuds Services (OMOS) is open and conducting all business operations by phone, email and video conferenceVOM Youth TestimonialVOM Victim testimonialINSIGHT: Avoid Being a Whistleblower With Safe Place Ombudsman ProgramsAdult Custody Organizational Ombuds (ACOO) Brochure - EnglishAdult Custody Organizational Ombuds (ACOO) Brochure - SpanishJuvenile Welfare Organizational Ombuds (JWOO) Brochure - EnglishJuvenile Welfare Organizational Ombuds (JWOO) Brochure - SpanishChildren, Seniors, Families Mediation Program FlyerProbate Mediation FlyerOffice of Mediation and Ombuds Services (OMOS) Flyer
Ombuds & Mediator Program Contacts
County agency clients, communities, and residents:
Email: [email protected]
County employees, departments, agencies program:
Children, Seniors, Families conflict resolution program:
Probate Mediation Program Phone: 408-993-4123
Adult Custody Organizational Ombuds (ACOO):
(Note: Adult custody health patients, jail detainees & inmates may dial #37 from Elmwood, Main and Women's facilities for a confidential line)
Juvenile Welfare Organizational Ombuds (JWOO):
Facilitated Reentry Listening Circles (for families, including in connection with CAPS):
Restorative Conversation, Mediation and Facilitated Circle Processes:
2310 North First Street, Suite 100
San Jose, CA 95131
Visitors are requested to make an appointment before arriving at OMOS.
Main Office: 408-993-4100