In an extension of their longstanding partnership The Village for Families & Children and the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) have launched an innovative new Quality Parenting Center (QPC) to help parents strengthen their skills as caregivers and reunify families.
The Village held a grand opening event for the new QPC, including a ribbon-cutting and tours, at its Alison Gill Family Center—formerly Alison Gill Lodge—in Manchester on November 4. Honored guests including Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz, DCF Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes, Connecticut State Senator Steve Cassano, Town of Manchester Mayor Jay Moran and local elected officials attended to celebrate the new program.
“I applaud the Lamont administration and DCF for their new and innovative approach to helping children who are facing real challenges,” said Village President & CEO Galo Rodriguez. “Residential and foster care is still needed for some children but when possible, it’s important to reunite children with their families—and that’s what the QPC is about. The program will also help address the mental health challenges which are so acute in our community right now. Parents and children will get the support they need to heal and grow.”
“Research and experience both show that quality visitation is an essential part of safely returning children to their parents,” said Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz. “This new Quality Parenting Center promises to accelerate reunification for children and increase positive outcomes. I want to thank the Village for Children and Families and Commissioner Dorantes for all of their hard work to bring this center to fruition, and, most important, for supporting the families who care for and love our children.”
The program is the first of its kind in the state and will provide a comfortable, home-like environment where parents and caregivers referred by DCF can have supervised visits with their children while they are not currently living together.
The QPC will help ease external stress of visiting within a DCF office while also focusing on children’s needs. The property’s unique location and grounds—located on a public bus route—allows for families to visit both outside and inside so they can be comfortable, especially during COVID-19. If needed, the QPC can also provide transportation for children to and from the visits and manage transportation for the adults.
“Quality visits between parent and child are vitally important for the emotional well-being of the child and also for the prospects of re-unifying the family,” said Commissioner Dorantes. “Tremendous strides have been made in reducing the number of children in care by 19%, and the quality visitation centers will only help us accelerate the progress already underway.”
Through the program’s innovate new approach, parents will have access to trained coaches before, during and after visitation to help them strengthen their skills as they work toward reunification. They’ll also be able to learn more about and access other Village services to support their overall wellness, including mental health support, substance use/recovery support, financial and career coaching, and access to basic needs.
Watch the story on NBC CT by Jane Caffrey, Quality Parenting Center Offers Safe Meeting Place For Parents And Children.