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Safe Haven
Trish Giaccone, Executive Director, Family Life Center.Flagler County is working on establishing a Safe Havens Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Program. This effort is in follow up to, Judge Raul Zambrano during a Public Safety Coordinating Council meeting stating that exchanges for families now take place at the flag pole in the parking lot of the County Courthouse. Currently, there is no location for visitations to occur.

The Flagler County Board of County Commissioners approved the acceptance of a $400,000 grant from the Office on Violence Against Women Safe Havens Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Program. The grant has three phases:

Year 1 Planning and Development of the program
Year 2 and 3 Implementation.
We are in year 1.

Because domestic abuse involves the exercise of power and control over an intimate partner, its intensity often increases upon separation or divorce as the abuser seeks to regain lost control over the abused partner. Domestic violence perpetrators often use parenting time as an opportunity to threaten, harass or assault a former partner; they may even direct threats or assaults against their own children as a means of asserting control over their former partners. In some cases, the risks from such behavior are so high as to preclude the perpetrator from parenting time. In cases where the level of risk does not preclude parenting time, however, supervised visitation and exchange services can provide a helpful intervention.

The supervised exchange and visitation center will promote the safety and welfare of the children, adults, and center staff during exchanges and visits, and will promote the safety of clients at exchanges in cases of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault, and stalking while allowing the non-custodial parent or guardian parenting time with the child(ren). Supervised visitation offers the opportunity for children to spend time with their non-custodial parent or guardian that promotes their relationship while remaining safe and free from abuse, neglect, and domestic violence. It is not only the victim of abuse who suffers the effects of domestic violence. Research shows a thirty to sixty percent rate of co-occurrence of child abuse/neglect and domestic violence.

Why Are Visits Important?
  • The child is able to maintain a relationship with the non-custodial parent.
  • The child sees that the non-custodial parent still loves him/her and wants to visit with the child. 
  • The visits allow a connection to remain between the non-custodial parent and the child so that the child does not feel abandoned. 
  • The visits allow the child to see the visiting parent is alright, so that the child does not worry about the non-custodial parent’s well being. 
  • The visits allow the child to slowly come to terms with the separation or divorce of his/her parents, which can help in the healing process. 
  • The visits are monitored and in a safe environment so that the custodial parent/guardian knows that the child is safe and not alone in this experience.

This project was supported by Grant No. 2011-CWAX-K014, awarded by the Office of Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice.  The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication / program / exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

Mission Statement

To give families a chance for a safe future, Safe Haven Visitation Center provides families in crisis with a nurturing, safe, secure and neutral setting to foster healthy relationships.

Vision Statement
At the Safe Haven Visitation Center, we envision a multicultural community free of violence offering a respectful and nurturing environment for families impacted by domestic violence where every individual has an equal opportunity for safety, justice and respect.

Guiding Principles
Principle I Equal Regard for the Safety of Child(ren) and Adult Victims
Principle II Valuing Multiculturalism and Diversity
Principle III Incorporating an Understanding of Domestic Violence into Center Services
Principle IV Respectful and Fair Interaction
Principle V Community Collaboration
Principle VI Advocacy for Child(ren) and Adult Victims

Core Committee:
Judge Raul Zambrano, 7th Judicial Circuit - Chair
Barbara Revels, Chairperson, Flagler County Board of County Commissioners
Judge Sharon B. Atack, Flagler County Judge
Christine Davenport, Executive Director, Children's Home Society
Abigail Romaine, Community Volunteer
Bob Sterner, Family Court Services Manager, 7th Judicial Circuit
Darlene Wolfson, Chief Administrative Assistant, Domestic Abuse Council, Inc.
Trish Giaccone, Executive Director, Family Life Center.

Consulting Committee:
Arnold Anderson, Community Development Administration, Florida Department of Children and Families
Kim Banister, Supervising Attorney, Community Legal Services of Mif-Florida
Chet Bell, CEO, Stuart-Marchman Center
Carla Harris, Program Operations Administrator, Community Partnership for Children
Susan Hiltz, Mentor Program Manager / Public Relations, Community Partnership for Children
Mark Jones, Executive Director, Community Partnership for Children
Chief Deputy David O'Brien and or Sergeant Christopher Sepe, Flagler County Sheriff's Office
Charles Puckett, Child Protective Investigator, Florida Department of Children and Families 
Sara Riley, Mental Health Counselor, Palm Coast
Kent Ryan, Dean, Daytona State College - Palm Coast Campus
Ray Salazar, President, United Way of Volusia - Flagler
Katrina Townsend, Director of Student Services, Flagler County School District
Karen Wells-Headley, Forensic Interviewer, Children's Advocacy Center

Flagler County Staff Support:
Dee Krogh, Safe Havens Grant Program Coordinator

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