Children should not have to lose contact with a mother or father just because the parents have dissolved their relationship or because the parents are abusive to each other. Research indicates that when there is on-going contact between a child and his or her separated parents, both the child and the parent benefit. The children adjust better to the disruption of their family. The parent is more likely to maintain a feeling of connection to the child and therefore provide on-going physical and emotional support.
Through Family Services Center's Safe Exchange Program, children are given the opportunity to have safe conflict-free access to both parents. Through our caring and competent staff, a continuum of child access services are provided:
The Safe Exchange Program is primarily designed to allow access when there are possible physical or emotional safety concerns for the child. These visits typically occur when there is insufficient evidence that the child's safety would be maintained without a third party present. In most cases a court-order for supervised visitation is given. Specially trained Family Services Center personnel, constantly supervise and record the interactions between the parent and child. At times a security officer may be present. Through this component, the Center strives to create an environment that fosters the development of healthy relationships between child and parent. This component allows the safe practice of newly acquired parenting skills.
Closely related to supervised visitation, this service allows the child to be exchanged from one parent to the other without being exposed to the conflict of the parents. This component provides supervision of movement of the child from the Custodial to the Non-custodial parent at the start of the exchange and then from the Non-custodial parent back to the Custodial parent at the end of the contact. Monitoring is limited to the actual exchange with the remainder of the visit occurring unsupervised.
All parties involved in our Safe Exchange Program are required to participate in parenting classes. Parenting is offered in an individual or group setting.
'I had not seen my children in two years. My ex-wife wouldn't let me have them when she was suppose to. Every time that I did see them we fought in front of them and I would rather not see them than put them through that any more. It was such a blessing for me and my kids when the judge ordered we use the Safe Exchange Program at Family Services Center. Now we get to see each other and there is no conflict.'