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PACESDanielle Hunter, program specialist, left, and Megan Sturges, facilitator, discuss an upcoming visit in the PACES Exchange and Visitation Center. (Photo from PACES)
Targeting families involved in divorce, estrangement, conflictual situations or domestic violence, the PACES Exchange and Visitation Center, Kansas City, Kan., provides a safe, neutral, child-friendly environment for families.
“Unfortunately in our society today, there continue to be situations that cause separation among family members,” said Kari Anson, service coordinator, PEV Center. “With staff trained to facilitate exchanges and visitations, we are able to protect the emotional and physical well-being of children while they maintain or develop relationships with their non-residential parents.”
Anson adds that May is International Supervised Visitation Center Awareness Month and presents a great opportunity to educate and inform about these services. The orange ribbon is the symbol used to raise awareness about this service.
Since December 2009, PACES has collaborated with the Wyandotte County District Court to provide supervised visits and monitored exchanges for court-ordered families through the PACES Exchange and Visitation Center. The center also accepts self-referrals and referrals from other sources. The PEV Center currently serves 60 to 70 families a month for either exchanges or supervised visits. The center is the only resource of its kind in Wyandotte County offering exchange and visitation services to families.
Supervised visitation occurs when a trained staff member observes interactions between non-residential parents (parents who do not live with the children) and their children during visitations at the PEV Center. Monitored exchanges involve a staff member supervising safe exchanges of children between residential (the parent with whom the child lives) and non-residential parents with no contact between the parents.
“Our role is supervision and monitoring,” Anson explained. “In some supervised visitations, we offer a range of interventions. These may include modeling appropriate parent-child interactions, sharing child development information and exploring family dynamics to help facilitate a positive experience – all l with the overreaching goal to support healthy child-parent relationships in a safe place.
“We strive to engage clients and build relationships with them to model relationships they can build and cultivate with their children,” Anson added.
The PEV Center is located at 7840 Washington Ave. For more information about the program, its fee structure and services, call 913-689-2165. PACES is the Wyandotte County agency providing services to address behavioral and emotional concerns of children and adolescents, and their families. (www.paceswc.org)