DOROTHY WORRELL HELPS LOCAL FAMILIES STAY TOGETHER AT NASSAU SUPERVISED VISITATION
After 4 years as the Program Director of Nassau Supervised Visitation (NSV), I am as enthusiastic about the program as I was on day one.
I’m still thrilled by the smiles and running of children into the visiting room as they greet their parents. The loud noises and the kids’ delight when they see the array of toys all over the visiting room floor makes me think we are doing something right. I take pride in keeping our space neat, clean, and organized, but 30 seconds after the children arrive, all bets are off. But, the ensuing mess means the kids are happy and having a good time.
Supervised Visitation can be as challenging as it is rewarding. All of our families are referred by Family Court or Supreme Court. Regardless of the reasons why they are referred to NSV, each family is treated with respect and dignity. Families are in pain, they are angry, and they tell me they don’t need to be here. I validate their pain and anger, but I also tell them that the alternative is that they would not get to see their children. Once parents hear this, they readily agree that seeing their children, even in a supervised setting is worth it.
In July 2016 we united a visiting parent with his baby for the first time. The baby is 8 months old and the father had never seen or held his baby. We see these stories over and over. I will never get tired of reuniting families.
Last week we had a major breakthrough in NSV. We have been working hard to reunite a visiting parent with their daughter. The daughter is very angry and refused all contact or communication with the visiting parent. Week after week, the Visiting Specialists have played with the child while the visiting parent observes. The visiting parent was ready to give up, stating that their child would never come around to accepting them. We refused to let this parent give up and walk away from their child. Last week, we moved this family to our small family visiting room. We reassured the child that they would be safe and we would never leave them alone. Within minutes, this child and parent were laughing, smiling and playing. It was an emotional and photogenic moment. We had worked so hard for this moment and the fruits of our labor were rewarded with laughter and smiles.
This is what NSV is all about.
To learn how NSV changed the life of our former client O.J., click here.
To learn more about NSV, click here.
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Dorothy Worrell is the Program Director of Nassau Supervised Visitation located in Hempstead. She has over 20 years of child welfare experience working with abused and neglected children in foster care as well as adoption and residential settings.