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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498
Email: jill.fredel@delaware.gov

Date: May 31, 2016


NEW CASTLE (May 31, 2016) - As part of recognizing May as the month designated to raise awareness of supervised visitation programs in local communities, the Department of Health and Social Services' Office of Community Services has been conducting a toy drive to provide new toys, books and games for use at Delaware's five Family Visitation Centers. Through June 10, drop-off bins will be located at each of the State Service Centers, as well as the Charles Debnam Building and DHSS' Main Administration Building, both located on the Herman Holloway Campus in New Castle.

For more than 20 years, Delaware's Family Visitation Centers have been providing supervised visitation and monitored exchanges for families that may not otherwise have access to their children. The staff at CHILD, Inc., and Turning Point with People's Place II, Inc., provide a safe, structured, and nurturing environment where children can maintain or re-establish a relationship with a non-custodial parent and/or other visiting parties. Staff members at the visitation centers help to keep children and adult victims safe during exchanges and visitation.

Family Visitation Centers are used if Family Court or the Division of Family Services has determined that use of the centers are appropriate; a family may be experiencing or has a history of intimate partner violence; or the parents have had a history of hostile or violent arguments during the pickup and return of their children.

"During what can be difficult and challenging times, Family Visitation Centers provide a way for families to remain physically and emotionally safe during child visitations and exchanges," DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf said. "To help promote visitation centers as a warm and welcoming place, the centers use toys, books and games to help engage children of all ages. Please join our statewide Toy Drive and help us replenish the supply of new toys, books and games at our five Family Visitation Centers."

Today, there are five Family Visitation Centers - two in New Castle, two in Kent County and one in Sussex - which are overseen by the Office of Community Services in DHSS' Division of State Service Centers. All sites are accessible to public transportation and are open evenings, weekends, and holidays. Fees for services are determined by income and are as low as $4.

To create a welcoming environment as a safe haven for the children served by the Family Visitation program, the five centers need toys. You can support the Family Visitation Centers by donating new toys, books, and games for infants through age 17. For specific items, please see each agency's website.

For donation drop-off locations: http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dssc/ofclocations.html

Proceeds from New Castle locations will benefit CHILD, Inc.
New Castle County:
CHILD Inc. (302) 283-7518

Proceeds from Kent and Sussex locations will benefit People's Place II, Inc.
Kent & Sussex Counties:
Turning Point with People's Place II, Inc.
(302) 424-2420

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.