and child exchanges
Safe Haven is a supervised visitation and safe exchange program for families affected by domestic violence or high conflict. It is the only program of its kind in northern Michigan.
Safe Haven's goal is to provide a safe, supervised, age-appropriate, and friendly environment for children to visit with their non-custodial parent or exchange between parents for visits.
When relationship problems between parents escalate into confrontations and violence that the children may witness the effect can be devastating, with long-term effects on the child. Safe Haven provides a safe, secure setting for children to visit with their parents.
ABOUT SAFE HAVEN
Why use Safe Haven?
Dissolution of relationships is tough for everyone. When children are involved, it can create added stress and concern for parents and children. For many families, being able to use a supervised visitation & exchange center is extremely helpful.
Child & Family Services of Northwestern Michigan operates supervised visitation & exchange programs in for families in northern Michigan. Safe Haven is open days, evenings, weekends, and holidays to accommodate the schedules of families.
The goal of a program like Safe Haven is to remove stress from parents so that they can focus their energy on building and maintaining positive relationships with their children. Safe Haven focuses on protecting and promoting the physical and emotional well-being of children and their parent(s) while providing a child-friendly environment where children can build safe, positive relationships with both of their parents.
All visits and exchanges take place at Child & Family Services' Safe Haven site. Parents are given different arrival and departure times and use different building entrances to optimize the safety of all parties. Observations by trained Safe Haven staff are conducted during all visits and exchanges, are documented accordingly, and are reported to referral sources monthly.
Parent orientations are conducted individually. Separate, age-appropriate orientations are recommended for children to increase their comfort when coming to Safe Haven. Safe Haven will try to provide services that comply with court-ordered parenting time schedules. However, Safe Haven staff and facility availability will, ultimately, determine services offered.
Safe Haven staff will work with both parents separately to determine a schedule for supervised visitations or safe exchanges that fits with the parents' schedules. Parents have staggered arrival and departure times and use separate entrances to the buildings to ensure that they do not have any visual or auditory contact with each other while at Safe Haven. All visits and exchanges are supervised by specially trained Safe Haven staff.
Safe Haven makes every effort to accommodate the schedules of parents, children and court orders when scheduling visits and exchanges. At times, schedules and court orders may have to be adjusted to fit with Safe Haven hours, staff availability, and other previously scheduled visits and exchanges. Parents should expect to wait approximately one week after both orientations are completed before the initial visit or exchange occurs.
How does it work?
Who can use Safe Haven?
Families use Safe Haven for a variety of reasons ranging from general conflict between parents, to reunification after long periods of absence, to past occurrences of domestic abuse, stalking, or sexual abuse.
At Safe Haven, parents never see or interact with each other. All scheduling of visits and exchanges, and communication about children's needs, is done through Safe Haven staff, easing the stress on parents and on kids who often get caught in the middle of conflict between their parents.
Referrals to Safe Haven are made by Friend of the Court, attorneys, family courts, counselors, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and by self-referral. Most families qualify for grant funding, and services will be free of charge for them. Fees, if any, are based upon grant eligibility, family income, family size, and court-ordered child support obligations. Fees for services, if any, will be determined after orientation.