Thursday, September 22, 2011

Commonly Asked Questions

For most people, having to have supervised visits or exchanges is an experience that is new and unexpected.  As with any new experience, there are many questions that need to be answered; here are a few of the most common questions and answers:

1.  How does this whole process work?
We try to keep things simple so that visits can get underway.  Over the phone we get a sense for the situation (e.g. frequency, duration and location of visits, how many children, what limits the court has on visits) and just how quickly parties can move forward.  All parties must review, sign and return our contract, provide copies of relevant court orders, and agree on a time/location for the first visit.  The process speed is really up to the parties involved.

2.  Who arranges and supervises the visit?
Our agency can make the arrangements for the visit (time and place) as it is often easier for a third party to make these arrangements.  A professionally licensed social worker will meet the parties at the designated time and location.  This social worker will arrive already briefed on the situation and aware of any restrictions.  It is the goal of the social worker to simply be present to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the child/ren, but not be a central part of the visit.

3.  Do you have a facility for visits?
No. We are a community based agency and therefore we do not have a facility to conduct visits.  We strive to supervise visits wherever parents can agree to have the visits.  Locations can range from a parent's home, to a park/playground, to the zoo/aquarium/movie theater/baseball game, or simply at one of the local beaches.

4.  What if there is a no-contact order, restraining order or domestic violence protection order in place?
Our agency takes these restraints very seriously.  If there are any restraints in place, there will need to be a 10-15 minute window of time between one parent dropping of a child/ren and the other arriving.  There shall be no lingering.

The process can be very simple and very fast when all parties are on board with getting visits underway.  Though a week or two may not seem particularly long to an adult, for a child waiting to see its mother or father, it can feel like a lifetime.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Our Social Workers

At Children First, we pride ourselves on providing highly experienced social workers to do all of our supervision.  Whether it is in King, Pierce or Snohomish County, we have social workers available weekdays and weekends to meet the needs of working and non-working parents.

For many parents, having a third party participate in visitation is something new to them.  Our social workers understand this and make sure to not interject themselves into the visit, but rather be there should the health, safety or welfare of the child/children be in jeopardy.  Our agency strives to have one social worker stay with the family for all of the visits to ensure continuity.

In King County we have approximately 6 social workers who are available for supervised visitation.  Many of them are affiliated with the Department of Social and Health Services and are particularly trained in handling domestic violence situations.  Their experiences are broad ranging from youth counselors, to Guardian Ad Litems, to domestic violence advocates. The common theme between them, however, is their incredible dedication to the field of social work and the clients they work with.

On separate (but slightly related) note: I wanted to include a few pictures from the recent Taste of Main event in Bellevue. My wife is a former board member (and current honorary board member) at the Children's Response Center (CRC) and we make a point of participating in this annual fundraiser every year. For those who are not familiar with it, the Taste of Main is an annual event when almost every business on Bellevue's Old Main street opens its doors and offers food, kids activities, or discounts to benefit CRC which provides counseling and other services to children on the Eastside who've suffered sexual or traumatic abuse (and assistance for their families, too).