The Child Protection Center, Inc. (CPC) was selected as the recipient of a $7,500 grant for virtual programming from the COVID-19 Response Initiative of Gulf Coast Community Foundation and Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation. The grant will support CPC’s Children and Families Supervised Visitation Program (CFSVP), which has transitioned to providing virtual visits during the pandemic. CPC has seen a sharp increase in the number of visits being performed despite a reduction of funds; 100 virtual visits were conducted in the month of April and 109 in the month of May, while 746 total visits took place in fiscal year 2019.
Established in 1995, CFSVP provides a safe place for children to interact with parents without the stress of being in the middle of a family argument, observing a parent who is impaired by substance abuse and without uncomfortable conversations that include adult topics. About 70 Sarasota County citizens serve as CFSVP volunteers, who supervise visitation between children and families who have been identified as being at heightened risk of physical or emotional harm due to parenting behaviors. By accessing the CFSVP, the risk of violence to children will decrease. Ongoing parent and child contact, through supervised visitation, has been shown to be crucial to a child’s mental health and ability to build a healthy relationship with the non-custodial parent.