New York Chapter

About the Chapter

Chapter Goals

The New York State Chapter was started in 1995 at a meeting at the New York Society for Ethical Culture in New York City. Our Chapter was formed to give supervised visitation providers an opportunity to meet together in order to learn from each other and share ideas, with the goal of improving the services we offer to children and families. Presently, our chapter is made up of 49 members in 28 agencies.


Our chapter meetings are held bi-monthly. Each Fall we host an annual, all-day conference on topics relevant to service providers in the field of child access.

Membership is available to those institutions and individuals who have a SVN membership in good standing and who are providing services or are interested in the issues surrounding supervised visitation services.

...please contact us at: NYS.SVN@gmail.com

Objectives

Over the last 18 years, we have worked to:

  • Provide professional conferences and forums for networking and sharing of information among New York State supervised child access providers
  • Provide information and training to supervised child access providers and other professionals involved in providing support to children and parents who are not living together
  • Facilitate and expand opportunities for children to have safe and conflict free access to both parents
  • Promote public awareness about the importance and need for supervised visitation services, and the role of child access programs in the continuum of services for divorced and separated families with children
  • Advocate for adequate funding of supervised visitation services
  • Provide other services and information as may be appropriate.

What's Going On

Recently, The Center for Court Innovation (CCI) invited The NY York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC) to discuss their approach to supervised visitation. One of the speakers is Ms. Katheryn Lotsos, The NYSPCC's Director of Clinical Services, and SVN's current Vice President. Follow this link to listen to the podcast on CCI's website:

http://www.courtinnovation.org/research/supervised-visitation-new-york-society-prevention-cruelty-childrens-unique-approach-0

Next meeting

Downstate Meeting
Friday, November 20, 2015
11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Safe Horizon
50 Court Street
8th floor, Room C
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Mr. Stephen Forrester, Esq. (Director of Government Relations and Administration at The NYSPCC) will be our guest speaker on the topic of providing testimony as a Visit Supervisor:

Visit supervisors are regularly called upon to testify in cases where visits are ordered. The family court in particular relies upon the expertise of visit supervisors to assist it in making critical decisions regarding the safety and best interests of children. In order to give effective testimony, they need to have a basic understand of court processes and procedures, legal terminology, and the nature of roles played by the various participants in the proceeding. More importantly, visit supervisors need to know how to communicate to the court the vital information and expertise they possess within the confines of the rules of evidence, and the ethical constraints applicable to the role of the visit supervisor.

This session will provide participants with a working knowledge of the court process and the rules governing witness testimony, involving the safety and best interests of children. It will also address the dilemma of giving an expert opinion in the context of court hearings involving supervised visitation.

Some more news

Chapter Minutes:

NYS SVN
May 21, 2015
New York Society for Ethical Culture
2 West 64th Street
New York, NY 10023

PRESENT: Louise Voccoli, Safe Horizon; Naomi Chu, Safe Horizon; Kim Kavern, Safe Horizon; Melinda Kaiser, YWCA White Plains; Alicia Sanabria, Safe Horizon, Anita Parker, Treat Me Right, Inc./St. Luke’s AME Church; Carlos Malave, Supervision Services; and Xuan Tran-Walsh, The NYSPCC.

NY SOCIETY FOR ETHICAL CULTURE’S SUPPORTIVE TELEVISITING SERVICES PROGRAM
Dr. Frank Corigliano presented the Supportive Televisiting Services Program. The program is child centered with the core program value that children have a right to see their parent. The program started locally at Riker’s Island (3 years ago) in the women’s prison, and has since expanded to all Department of Corrections systems within New York City. The next big leap for the program is to be available in all the state prisons in New York. In developing the program, Dr. Corigliano explained that they looked at child development and the parent’s role during incarceration. The Mommy and Me program at the NY Public Library partnered first with Supportive Televisiting Services Program. The Mommy and Me program support early literacy and bonding between mother and child.

Dr. Corigliano explained that much work was done through outreached to the correctional facilities and foster care agencies of the benefits of this program. Televisiting is typically court ordered and take place 45 minutes on a bi-weekly basis. In foster care cases, the case planner is asked to come every 3rd or 4th visit to observe the parent-child interaction. There is a “check-in” period built in the contact with the family before and after each video visit.

Another project that has partnered with Supportive Televisiting Services is the Carnegie Hall –Lullaby Project. This program addresses the impact of stress on mothers during incarceration. Musicians help mothers to write a lullaby for their child(ren) and it is then played and recorded on sound cloud for the child to be able to listen to when they wish.

In touring the space, there is a room that is set up with a love seat, books and board games. The decorations are child friendly, with pictures of children who are participants in the program. Dr. Corigliano explained that it often helps child feel less anxious about participating in televisiting when they can see that there are other children who also visit their parents in this way. The same books that are available in the space in the prison is available in the televisiting room, so that parents and children can read and play the same games during the televisit. Dr. Corigliano talked about the cost of the initial set-up and that much of the challenge is in finding appropriate and private space in the prisons on the parent’s end. Buy in is needed from the prison to participate and offer support of such programs.

TREASURER’S REPORT
The chapter balance stands at $5,311.05

PROGRAM UPDATES
St. Luke’s AME Church announced that they are looking to expand their supervised visitation program and applied for discretionary funding with the City Counsel. The program needs more space for more visits to take place.

The group discussed how to manage the challenges of waitlists in each program. Many programs open or close the program’s waitlist periodically. There was discussion about how to assess the appropriateness of referrals for the level of supervision needed. We also discussed the pros and cons of assessing each referral and how to communicate to the referral source that the family may benefit from a lesser or more restrictive level of supervision.

UPCOMING SVN CONFERENCE
The Supervised Visitation Network’s 2015 Annual Conference is scheduled to take place in Clearwater Beach, Florida on May 27-30, 2015. The NYSPCC will present two workshops: Holding a Trauma Lens: Caregiver Attunement as a Building Block for Strengthening Parent Child Bonds and Strategies to Support Non-Verbal Children’s Social-Emotional Development Through Play. Other members indicated that they have been approved with funds to attend this year’s annual conference.

CHAPTER CONFERENCE/NYS REGIONAL TRAINING
We discussed the options of hosting an annual chapter conference or a NYS regional training. Chapter chairs will reach out to SVN’s Executive Director, Joe Nullet, about the possibility of hosting a regional training.