Many families accessing services with Family Connections have histories of domestic violence. Often in those cases, the children have witnessed traumatizing altercations between their parents, but still love them both and want to spend time with each parent safely. Part of the work for our Case Managers includes ensuring children are safe while experiencing their non-custodial parent in positive ways, while also guaranteeing survivors of abuse are protected.
Ethan* was still a baby when he started visitations with his father, David. There was a long history of abuse between David and Ethan’s mother, and though she wanted her son to have a relationship with his father, she was anxious about the visits given her shared past with David. Family Connections recognized and responded to her anxiety, working closely with her to set up specific transition times and procedures for the visits so she’d never have to be on the property at the same time as David.
During their first transition and visit, Ethan struggled being away from his mom for the first time. His Case Manager collaborated with both parents, each separately, to ensure that the focus of each visit remained on safe and positive bond-building for Ethan with his dad. After a few weeks of visits, Ethan’s mom reached out to the team to tell us how safe she felt knowing our team was supervising the visitations and providing Ethan a way to access his father that did not put her at risk.
David and Ethan bonded over the course of their visits. Ethan began to smile when his dad came into the room as they grew to know each other. David was creative in engaging Ethan in play with balls and hot wheels cars. David told his Case Manager how their positivity helped him feel confident as Ethan’s father and the difference that confidence had made to him. Over the course of services, David has taken time out of his workdays to engage in virtual Nurturing Parenting Skills lessons and continued to develop and practice his positive parenting skills.
Over a year later, Ethan comfortably toddles around the Harmony House during his visits and smiles anytime his is mentioned. Ethan’s mom feels comfortable and supported by our team. David and Ethan are just beginning to have some outside visitations, potentially spending time together at the library or a park. We’re excited by how much this family has grown!
*Names and identifying information have been changed to protect client identities
Are you interested in supervising and documenting visits for families? CLC’s visitation and exchange program offers both traditional and non-traditional internships. Contact Sarah at Sarah@casalarimer.com for more information about internships.