March Logotech-4-Good Recipient
Group gives families a safe location for custody exchanges, visitation
Supporting Area Families Everyday (SAFE) was picked as the Logotech-4-Good March 2021 recipient.
Based on Towanda, Pennsylvania, SAFE provides a location for custody exchanges and supervised visitation. The non-profit organization works with families in its county and the surrounding area. SAFE will receive up to $500 in branded promotional products to help advance its work.
The organization began in 2017 as Safe Transitions. They offered families a safe place for custody exchanges, said Heather McNett, SAFE's founder. She quickly saw the need for a location that offered supervised visitation.
Working with the county's victim's services and crisis center, SAFE expanded its services for those families as well.
Also known as supervised parenting time, these visitations are often court-ordered when there are past allegations of abuse or neglect. These structured visits can include play time, arts and crafts, lunch or dinner, and other activities that include both the children and the parent.
"We structure the visits around the kids. We keep it interactive so there is interaction with the parent – interactive play," and not just staring at the walls during their time together, she said.
These visitations can run between an hour or up to five hours. Due to their partnership with CHOP (Child Hunger Outreach Partners) drinks and food are provided, as are foods families can take home.
They do not require income verification to get meals, McNett said.
Like many in-person social services, SAFE has had to reinvent how it does things in the past year.
When the coronavirus pandemic began, SAFE had to shut down for a few months while they determined the safest way to reopen, McNett said. Another grant provided the group with laptop computers, allowing parents and children to have virtual meetings instead of in-person.
With masks, face shield and other PPE donations, they have resumed in-person exchanges and visits, McNett added.
Virtual meetings will continue after the pandemic is over, McNett said. The computer access for meetings means family visits can continue during Pennsylvania's notorious snow storms, or when the noncustodial parent is hospitalized or otherwise unable to attend in person.
To learn more about Supporting Area Families Everyday (SAFE), go to its website, https://safebradco.com.
To apply for the Logotech-4-Good grant, go to www.logotech.com/logotech-4-good