Mayor Scott, MONSE Celebrates Baltimore City Visitation Center 10 Year Anniversary
Wednesday May 10th, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BALTIMORE, MD. (Wednesday, May 10, 2023) - Today, Mayor Brandon M. Scott and Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (MONSE) Executive Director Shantay Jackson were joined by Baltimore City Visitation Center (BCVC) staff, MONSE's Victim Services team, and community partners to celebrate the Center's 10th Anniversary.
"For ten years, the Baltimore City Visitation Center has provided a safe location that promotes healthy interactions during the exchange of children between parents or during on-site visitation between parents with their children," said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. "This work is a vital part of our efforts through the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement's Intimate Partner Violence Prevention team to address the web of trauma caused by domestic violence, prevent revictimization, and build a better, safer Baltimore for all of our residents."
As one component of a larger community response to domestic violence and its associated crimes including sexual assault, stalking, dating violence and child sexual abuse, the BCVC has served as an access point for referring families to receive additional supportive services that help cofacilitate a path to healing since it was first opened in early 2013.
"For families impacted by intimate partner violence, the transition post separation is often filled with uncertainty, anxiety and fear," said Wendy Lee, Deputy Director of Intimate Partner Violence Prevention at MONSE. "For children, it can sometimes become even more challenging as they grapple with a sense of loss when they are no longer able to maintain an ongoing relationship with one parent. Being able to offer these services, while also connecting families to community supports to meet their needs, is designed to be a positive step towards healing."
The Center also serves as a direct access point for survivors to legal services in divorce, custody, and visitation matters. These services are provided in partnership with the House of Ruth Maryland Marjorie Cook Foundation Legal Clinic.
In 2022, the BCVC served 73 families and assisted 100 children with on-site services and monitored exchanges. Given the impact of this work, MONSE has allocated almost $140,000 in funding from its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocation toward doubling BCVC's hours of operation as part of a $1 million commitment to support intimate partner violence prevention efforts across the city, allowing the Center to be able to offer visitation and support services on a weekly basis.
The Center is housed at The Family Tree under the supervision of staff assigned to the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement's Intimate Partner Violence Prevention team.
"The Family Tree is a founding partner and proud host of the Baltimore Visitation Center. I have witnessed firsthand how visitation has benefitted children's relationship with their non-custodial parent, reducing a child's sense of loss while preserving a sense of belonging. The Baltimore Visitation Center is a true gem at the Mayor's Office," said Patricia K. Cronin, LCSW-C, Executive Director, the Family Tree.
More information on the Baltimore City Visitation Center can be found on MONSE's website: Visitation Center | Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (baltimorecity.gov).