By Tami Walls, FAS Client Services Coordinator
When a court determines a parent may be a danger to a child physically or emotionally, the court may order that all parenting time by that parent be supervised. Evidence of such danger may include domestic violence (whether or not there have been convictions), alcohol or drug use, mental health issues, psychological abuse or fear of abduction. HELP of Door County Inc. has offered a supervised visitation program, Family Access Solutions (FAS), for the past 15 years.
Supervised visitation is not babysitting. A well-trained monitor must balance understanding the nuanced emotional and physical safety risks to all participants while providing a non-judgmental, empathic environment.
In 2015 FAS was a very busy program. The Door County program provided 195 supervised visits and 340 exchanges. The Brown County program provided 305 supervised visits and 211 exchanges.
This month, May, is special to FAS and all supervised visitation programs; May is Supervised Visitation Month, represented by an orange ribbon.
Supervised visitation centers exist to provide a safe haven for children during parental visitation. What color signifies safety better than orange? Orange is a bright color used to warn people to watch out and take notice. We want the world to see the orange ribbon and take notice of the thousands of children and families in need of this service.
FAS is a member of the international Supervised Visitation Network (SVN). SVN is an organization consisting of more than 500 visitation providers worldwide; they started the Orange Ribbon Campaign in May of 2001. The purpose of the campaign is to use the symbol of the orange ribbon throughout the month of May (and each day of the year) to raise awareness about the need and impact of supervised visitation.
One of the ways HELP of Door County raises funds for programs and services is the Door’s Dirty 5K (DD5K), coming up on June 4. DD5K is a mud run and will take place at the Door County Adventure Center in Sevastopol.
The first four kilometers will be run cross country and on the road. The last kilometer will present a series of obstacles – some to go over, some to go under and many incorporate mud. Gooey mud. Lumpy mud. Mud. Mud. Mud.
Fitness monsters who run half and full marathons will be challenged by the obstacles and mere mortals will find the course a test of brain and brawn.
Runners may negotiate the course on their own, but it’ll be much more fun with a partner or a team. Teams are capped at 4. The cost is $70 per runner. The first heat will hit the course at 10 am. Register at doorcountysdirty5k.com.
This article is brought to you in part by the Door County Coordinated Community Response (CCR) to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Teams and the Door County Elder and Adult-at-Risk Interdisciplinary Team.