Michelle L. MacDonald
I am founder and volunteer president of Family Innocence, a non-profit dedicated to keeping families out of court: resolving conflicts and injustices peacefully. www.FamilyInnocence.com Family Innocence’s restorative circle mediation model facilitates communication among family members by implementing a listening exercise, and use of a talking piece and peacemaking dialogue, where everyone can speak and be heard, closing each circle session with written agreed actions. We provide a community of co-facilitators and volunteer family innocence advocates to support family members. Our mediators are Rule 114 qualified. Our organization is on the list of providers of Alternative Dispute Resolution courses.
Areas of Interest and Service
We created a new model of mediation – restorative circle mediation, lead by myself and other faculty, including Judges, attorneys, mediators, restorative practitioners, psychologists, doctors, teachers, family members, professionals and consumers. The course was approved for 46 hours for Family Law/ Facilitative Hybrid and domestic abuse training. The emphasis is on education and conflict resolution before any court action is taken. We serve family members experiencing and provided education and resources and take steps to resolve a conflict before a court action begins, possibly avoiding the court action altogether.
I am an attorney, restorative circle facilitator, mediator and trainer, practicing law with MacDonald Law Firm, LLC since 1986. I am founder and volunteer president of Family Innocence. I teach restorative Circle classes, including the approved 46 hour Restorative Circle Mediation Trainings. I served as a Small Claims Court Judge and Adjunct Family Court Referee in Hennepin County. I was introduced to Restorative Circles in 2012 by Judge Bruce Peterson, trained with Dominic Barter in Restorative Circles, and became convinced that Restorative Circles can be implemented in the family community to resolve conflicts. I am Rule 114 qualified since 1995. I am an active member of the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice.