EAC Network’s Enhanced Supervised Visitation (ESV) Family Coaches were recently honored at the 33rd Annual Child Abuse & Neglect/Family Violence Volunteer and Professional Recognition Day presented by the Suffolk County Advisory Board on Child Protection and the Suffolk County Task Force to Prevent Family Violence. Family Coaches Caitlin Maraj, Estefania Yactayo, Dinah Torres-Castro, and Luz Martinez received certificates of recognition for their outstanding work to support children and parents.
Families that are referred to ESV have some sort of domestic violence issue/concern, substance abuse issue, struggle with mental illness, or have Suffolk County Department of Social Services involvement for other reasons. Instead of providing traditional supervised visitation services, our Family Coaches are actively involved in supporting parents to demonstrate their best parenting skills, meet the needs of their children through planning, and make each visit fun for the children.
Last year, our ESV Family Coaches served 69 families, facilitated 1,430 hours of coached visits, had 17 families progress to unsupervised visits, and three families were completely reunified! To make all of that happen, our ESV Family Coaches provide services during the day, evenings, and Saturdays, which often means they must be flexible with their personal schedules and their work hours change frequently.
Our ESV Family Coaches always go above and beyond. They research and write down step-by-step directions, including finding landmarks, to help a parent who is unable to navigate the bus schedule and ensure they arrive to appointments on time. They research economical locations for a family to have a fun, positive visit. They work over their scheduled hours to help a parent complete their parenting class homework to ensure the parent understands the concepts taught in class and gets credit for completing the required material, as some of our parents are unable to read and write. They clip coupons and watch clearance racks for the parents they work with. But most importantly, they work with families on having a fun, positive time together, and succeed!
Initially, many parents come to ESV angry, hurt, or in denial of any issues or concerns, and they express feeling at a low point in their lives; however, our Family Coach team, with their endless smiles and supportive words, encourage parents to keep moving forward with hopes of positive changes. It’s no secret that they deserve this recognition, and I am so proud to have them on my team.
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Anne Caplan has served as the Program Director for EAC Network’s Enhanced Supervised Visitation, Suffolk Supervised Visitation, and Project Access programs since June 2013. She began her career with EAC Network in May 2005 as a Counselor at the former Suffolk Learning Center where she later served as Program Director. Anne has completed several trainings including the Coaching Family Visits Toolkit through the New York Office of Children & Family Services and a National Child Passenger Safety Certification course. Anne holds a Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, a Master’s of Education degree from East Carolina University, and an Advanced Certificate from Dowling College.