Clients Served Last Year:
Anne Caplan, MAEd
The lack or absence of positive parent-child relationships can hinder children’s emotional growth and development. Furthermore, non-custodial parents who are involved with custody disputes, domestic violence or substance abuse issues, mental illness, instances of child abuse or neglect, or those who are absentee parents who want to return to their child’s life often face barriers to access their children.
Offer non-custodial parents access to visit with their children in order to develop vital parent-child relationships in safe, neutral, supervised settings.
How We Do it:
Supervised Visitation (SV) bridges the gap for court-ordered families who have experienced parent-child alienation or separation through two child-friendly and conflict-free facilities in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. After pre-service interviews, visitation is scheduled at a mutual time for both custodial and non-custodial parents. Visits are supervised by trained staff who send reports to the referring judge for progress review.
Supervised Visitation allows children to continue, rebuild, or establish a relationship with their non-custodial parent without being placed in the middle of their parents’ conflict and/or other issues, which results in children having a better chance at being responsible citizens and developing healthy attachments, and allows custodial parents to have comfort knowing their children’s interaction with the non-custodial parent is safe.
Furthermore, Supervised Visitation provides referrals to parents for other EAC Network programs, such as the Long Island Parenting Institute, to assist them with reaching their parenting and family goals.
Enhanced Supervised Visitation (ESV) takes Supervised Visitation a step further and is offered to families involved with the Department of Social Services and/or the foster care system.
In addition to providing supervised visits, ESV specifically focuses on enhancing parenting skills by providing assistance, encouragement, information, and coaching to parents during visits. Family Coaches engage and empower parents to be experts on their own children; they are encouraged to identify, understand, respond to their children’s needs, and have fun with them.
Ultimately, ESV parents work to transition to positive, meaningful unsupervised parenting time or even reunification with their children.
Family Treatment Court Supervised Visitation (FTCSV) also offers supervised visits, but by referrals only from Family Treatment Court in cases where parents have been found neglectful as a result of alcohol and/or substance abuse.
Because the FTCSV office is located in Family Treatment Court, intakes are completed immediately after a judge makes the visitation mandate, and visits are able to be scheduled within a week. Rather than held at the SV facilities, FTCSV supervised visits take place either at the family’s home or at a community/public location such as a library or restaurant. In a few rare cases, the Department of Social Services will host a supervised visit.
Additionally, FTCSV offers monitored visits: rather than EAC Network staff acting as supervisor, staff personally check in with court-appointed supervisors who are conducting the supervised visits.
How You Can Help:
Supervised Visitation is in constant need of new toys and supplies including board games, cards, cars and trucks, kitchen sets, dollhouses, washable art sets, arts and crafts, Legos, trains, Play Doh, bubbles, plastic bowling ball and pins, washable markers, crayons, colored construction paper, electronic games (such as Nintendo DS), Wii system, flat screen television, e-readers, iPads, desktop or laptop computers, small table and chairs for children, vinyl chairs for the adult waiting room, Home Depot Master Tool Bench, lockers, and more. To support Supervised Visitation with a gift, click here or call (516) 539-0150 x117.
The Outcomes of Supervised Visitation
Non-custodial parents learn how to correctly respond and develop a relationship with their children, which results in improved emotional well-being and positive changes in behavior and actions.
Many non-custodial parents meet their very young children for the first time in our supervised setting, and some of our families have reunited at our facility after years without contact.
Many families within transition to unsupervised visits, which demonstrates a level of reconciliation and trust.
What People Say About Supervised Visitation
When I first came to Supervised Visitation, I was very angry. I had to go through the most horrific four years of anyone’s life. I had been fighting for custody of my children. A beautiful 11 year old girl, Nicole, and a one year old boy, Francesco, that we had through the in-vitro process. My life became shattered the day of a custody trial when my attorney, at the time, told me that my daughter Nicole called the law guardian and told him that I strangled her, punched her in the face, and hit her in the face with my shoe. My attorney told me that the Judge hates me and I will never be allowed near my kids. At that very moment, I became numb and nothing mattered to me anymore. My attorney screamed at me in the middle of the hall to sign the divorce agreement which handed over everything to my ex-wife. He has since been arrested and I, needless to say, no longer have him representing me. I still am fighting in court to date to see my children. I haven’t had one holiday, birthday, or overnight visit with my children in four years. The quick hearing took place in November. I finally came to your program in late January, early February. I was a beaten down, broken shell of a man. Angry with the court system and left heart broken by my daughter who was the center of my universe. Through Supervised Visitation, I was allowed to spend an hour with my son. My daughter never came even though I begged to see her. Francesco and I always had such a great time within that hour. You allowed us to bring toys from home to play with. I brought in a medieval castle with dragons, horses, warriors, and catapults. We would get into role playing of the figurines where other children would want to come over and play with Francesco and me. We appreciated you and your staff so much that we donated toys so that other families may enjoy their time there as much as Francesco and I did. All people have to realize is that you are there to facilitate time for them to see their children. Once they do, the hatred dissipates from them and they get to enjoy the company of their children. You gave to me what I was not able to get otherwise and that is some time with my child. For that, on behalf of Francesco and I, I wanted to extend our most deepest appreciation of you, your staff, and most importantly, the program. Without Supervised Visitation, I wouldn’t have been able to see my son at all for the last two years. Your thoughtfulness means so much to me.
I wanted to let you know that there is always hope! It has been eight years since our son has spoken or seen his father. His father had a serious drug problem, so the disease took over his life and left no room for anything or anyone including his own son. For approximately seven months, now I believe going on eight, my son’s father has been clean and sober. He looks healthy, he seems his old same self from years ago, albeit a little worn. Even though I have no intention of reconciling, I am still his friend and very happy for him and our son. They have reestablished and started to rebuild an almost forgotten relationship and it is a wonder to see. All I know is that our son is overjoyed. That being said, our son still has reservations and is still processing all of this, but is tentatively eager to go forward and I know his heart is mending, he has told me so.
Being at EAC Network has given us the stepping stone much needed in our situation. We had been at EAC Network before and were provided the same wonderful safety net and controlled environment. Again, we have the same and it is extremely helpful. Our son and his father were able to once again gather in a neutral environment (at Supervised Visitation) and were able to talk a lot and reconnect. my son’s father is so excited, grateful, humble, and lovingly taken away by the sight of his son, now very different, older. His father cannot wait to do more with his son, talk more, just everything. They are even going to a basketball game at the Barclay Center together next month and to dinner first. I was asked permission and of course I said I would discuss it with my son to see how he feels about it and he said he was comfortable with that outing.
My son, as I said before is cautious, because well, I have always been honest with him so he is very aware of what has transpired, however he misses his dad terribly and he knows that the feeling is more than mutual from his father. So, we do this, we take small steps and with the help of God and EAC Network and their guidance, and hopefully it will all work out and continue on this positive path and become what we all pray for, which is an everlasting, beautiful relationship between the two of them.
I am a Family Coach for the Enhanced Supervised Visitation program. I first interned at EAC Network for the Supervised Visitation program during my last year of undergrad and was captivated by the intimate family dynamic. I applied for the Family Coach position where the objective is to move visitations from a supervised setting to an unsupervised setting by teaching parents how to best meet their child’s needs. However, once I began, I quickly learned this was not just a job but a lifestyle. I was granted an opportunity to influence the next generation, but more so, promote positivity, motivation, self-love, and most of all get to practice and teach effective communication with each parent. I’ve learned it is not just about informing parents about their child’s developmental age but how to build healthy and open relationships. Every day I learn how different each individual is, how different each family is, how much hurt dwells in the lives around us, and how important every single interaction is. This position has brought priceless enlightenment and I hope to share it with every family I work with.
As a Family Coach I have seen visiting parents grow and develop abilities that were not as prominent as they were when they were first referred to the programs in order to take care and meet the needs of their children. For some parents the growth happens quicker than others; however, I feel all the parents left with something to move them forward in life with their children.
I am an Enhanced Supervised Visitation Family Coach. I was first drawn to the program by the idea of helping families. We assist families with parenting skills to move from supervised to unsupervised visitation through coached visits. Being a Family Coach is very rewarding. On a daily basis you get the chance to be encouraging, positive, a role model, and most of all a source of help to parents so they can achieve their goals of unsupervised visitation. I have only been a Family Coach for a little over two months but throughout my time, I have had parents say to me:
- “I really appreciate how much you care for me and my son; I can see that this is more than a job for you.”
- “I appreciate the articles you gave me to read; it will help me during my visits and to be a better parent.”
I have also observed a parent who rarely would actively interact with their children, who now plays games and engages them in conversation because of the power of coaching.
The office at Enhanced Supervised Visitation is small, but very dynamic with an amazing team where each member has various experiences and serves as great role models for me and the parents we service.
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