Safe Families, Safe Community
Mancelona Safe Haven program one year later
What happens when a mom fears for her safety at the hands of her children’s father, but the courts require that that non-custodial father be able to visit his children?
Increasingly in Antrim County, Safe Haven happens.
Safe Haven is a program that protects children and families from the threat of domestic violence or child abuse when a family court orders parenting time for a non-custodial parent. Supervised visitation and safe exchange, coupled with counseling and other support services, help children and non-offending parents minimize stress over their safety, including the possibility of child abduction. Safe Haven uses staggered arrival times, separate entrances, cameras and other security precautions.
Since it opened in 2004 Safe Haven has provided about 22,838 visits and exchanges, serving 565 families.
“Safe Haven helps keep all family members safe, and children remain outside of their parents’ conflicts or abusive situations. It allows them the freedom to love both their parents without guilt or fear,” said Mancelona Safe Haven Coordinator Monica Webb. “We are glad to be offering this service in a community where it is most needed. With a little more than a year under our belts providing Safe Haven at the Mancelona Family Resource Center, and with access to many more youth and families through our merger this year with Third Level Crisis Intervention Center, we realize how important the service is to families.”
A new visit room is being planned, with completion expected in late October. The community can help with donations of gently used living room chairs, preferably leather, a dining table and chairs, toys, board games, and games such as an indoor bowling set or balls and gloves, as well as framed art for the walls. Volunteers are also needed to help paint the new visit room. Families use these rooms for their visits with their birth children who are in foster care, and sometimes the office accommodates children who are receiving counseling for sexual abuse or other trauma.
“We hear all the time from clients that Safe Haven saved their life,” said Webb. “It’s a powerful program.”
The Mancelona office is open on a part-time, evenings/weekends/holidays schedule to better serve local families, since the only other site is the one CFS operates in Traverse City. Families may be referred by local courts or others, or refer themselves.
Safe Haven’s hours are Wednesday, 4-8 pm; Friday, 4-8 pm, Saturday, 9 am – 6pm; Sunday, 11 am – 6 pm, with additional hours by appointment. Their phone number is 231.587.4361.
Safe Haven is supported by a grant from the US Department of Justice, Office of Violence Against Women. For more information about Safe Haven or any of Child and Family Services’ programs, visit www.cfsnwmi.org.
Child and Family Services’ largest program is foster care. In today’s paper is a small brown bag with a big message.
The Brown Bag Campaign is Child and Family Services’ effort to call attention to children in the foster care system, and to remind the community that foster and adoptive parents are needed to help care for them.
Cherryland Cares and Oleson’s Food Stores are sponsors of the Campaign this year.
The bag doubles as a mailer. Please contribute to the work to provide youth in foster care and other programs at Child and Family Services with opportunities to heal and thrive.
To learn more about becoming a foster or adoptive parent, or about helping in other ways, please call Child and Family Services at 800.538.9984.