The Visitation Center is made available for Peoria County families who are involved in family, divorce or Order of Protection court proceedings. All families must have a court order from Peoria County Circuit Court to participate in the program.
Using the Visitation Center
In order to use the visitation center an appointment must be made with the visitation liaison. The liaison can be reached by calling 309-672-6930 at which time available days and times for families to use the center can be secured. Supervised visitation will last no more than 2 hours per visit.
There must be a review court date set 8-12 weeks out, or less at the judge's discretion, upon which time the clinical coordinator will provide the judge with a summary of the non-custodial parents' visits along with recommendations. This will be treated by the judges in the same manner as an en camera interview would be treated.
Purpose of Program
The purpose of the Visitation Center is to facilitate positive parental contact with children and to reduce children's exposure to inter-parental conflict around parenting and visitation issues. The program recognizes that children's developmental needs are best met by positive relationships with both mother and father. To that end, the Visitation Center provides two programs:
Visitation Exchange Program
This service is provided for families when the non-custodial parent receives weekend visitation privileges with children. The exchange of children between the custodial and non-custodial parent for weekend visitation may become an opportunity for the display of significant acrimony and conflict between the parents. In some situations where there has been past domestic violence, one parent may have an order of protection against the other parent, which prohibits contact. This makes the exchange of children for parental visitation difficult without being in violation of the court order prohibiting contact. Exposure to parental conflict or violence is detrimental to positive child development.
This service facilitates the exchange of children between the custodial and non-custodial parent with the adult parents never having contact with each other. This allows children to continue a positive relationship with both parents and for parents to learn better methods of handling conflict with the ex-partner.
Supervised Visitation Program
The second service provides for supervised visitation when it is thought to be in the child's best interest by the court. This service is also used in circumstances where a parent is renewing or initiating a parental relationship with children after a period of absence in their lives. Children are best served if they can have a positive relationship with both parents. This program allows gradual bonding of the child/children with a parent to develop in a supervised setting. While the parent and child are in the center, visitation staff supervises and intervenes with positive instruction when necessary. Eventually the Judge can expand the parent's visitation rights beyond the center in a less restricted environment with the goal being full-unsupervised visitation privileges.
The Center also provides an educational component in both programs. Tips on co-parenting, communication with your child, and age appropriate discipline techniques are reviewed with both parents during the intake process, and other issues are addressed by the staff throughout the client's use of the Center.