Children’s Safe Exchange and Visitation Expansion
Children’s safe exchange and visitation services reduce risks for violence while encouraging safety, healing, and healthy parent-child connection.
Community members gathered on November 10th to support the launch of children’s safe exchange and visitation services for residents of Boyle, Garrard, Lincoln, and Mercer counties. Grace Church provides space for services in the children’s wing of their facility in Danville.
“As a church, we are committed to helping the families and children of our community flourish,” says Director of Ministries Kevin Dilbeck. “We are excited to open some of our space to help meet this need.”
More than 400 petitions for orders of protection are filed in the region each year. Escalation of violence is common when victims separate from abusive partners, and many survivors and their children risk harm while fulfilling custody agreements.
When visitation between child(ren) and the non-custodial parent/guardian must be supervised, for example by court order, a specially trained monitor is present to document observations during the visitation. Safe exchanges oversee the transition of child(ren) between parents/ guardians if off-site visitation is allowed.
No contact occurs between custodial and non-custodial parties during visitations or exchanges. Up to 30 weekly visitations and exchanges will be facilitated when the program reaches operational capacity.
Shannon Weer coordinates the newest location. Shannon is a former professor in the criminal justice department at Eastern Kentucky University, where she taught domestic violence issues.
“We provide a space for families where children are kept safe,” Shannon says.
We commit to prioritizing the safety of children and adults; honoring the nature, dynamics, and impact of intimate partner abuse; and treating participants with fairness and respect.