As part of their participation as a demonstration site for the Safe Havens Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Program, three Chicago visitation centers and their collaborative partner, the Mayor’s Office on Domestic Violence, explored how the current design, processes, and procedures of visitation and exchange centers account for aspects of culture. The centers are programs of Apna Ghar, The Branch Family Institute (Branch), and Mujeres Latinas en Acción (Mujeres). Representatives from each center, the city office, and Praxis documented each center’s efforts to account for their clients’ cultural and economic backgrounds.
The Safe Havens: Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Grant Program, established by the Violence Against Women Act of 2000, provides an opportunity for communities to support supervised visitation and safe exchange of children, by and between parents, in situations involving domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault, or stalking.
The four Demonstration Sites – in Chicago, Michigan (Pontiac, Jackson, Traverse City, and Muskegon), California (San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz Counties), and Washington (City of Kent) – have paid close attention to visitation and exchange in the context of domestic violence, and to collaboration between visitation centers, domestic violence advocacy organizations, and the courts.