The alert thirteen month old arrived for her first visit with the father she had not seen in, “Well,” said the father, “I can’t remember when I last saw her.”
The supervisor took the baby to the visitation room, laid a blanket on the floor and played blocks with her until her father arrived. Dad saw the baby happily playing on the blanket, but the child just looked at him. The dad nervously circled the blanket until he asked the supervisor if he could sit on the blanket too. Soon he said, “Gosh she’s gotten big.” The supervisor replied, “Babies change a lot in six months.”
Dad had no experience with children. He was uneasy as he put her in the high chair, tied a bib on her and tried to feed her. Diapering appeared overwhelming for him.
The next visit, the father arrived early, assembled the blanket, laid out the blocks and placed the high chair in the same spot as the previous week. With each visit the young dad became more comfortable. He loved to hold her, to laugh at her silliness.
Dad, with a history of violence and mental illness was learning how to love, to be patient, to enjoy his child. During that year with supervised visitations, the parents became better friends, restraining orders were lifted and the family worked on repairing their relationship.
On one special visit, dad arranged the blanket, the blocks and the high chair as always, but something was different. This would be his last day of supervised visitation. The family reunited.
*No person shall, on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, or disability be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to unlawful discrimination under any program or activity receiving or benefiting from federal financial assistance and administered by the Department.
If you request any special accommodations or auxiliary aids for programs or services of the Supervised Visitation Program, please contact the Program Director at 941-492-6491.
Our Auxiliary Aids and Accessibility Plan (pdf).
Child Protection Center, Inc.
720 South Orange Ave.
Sarasota, Florida 34236
2210 S. Tamiami Tr.
Venice, Florida 34293
North Port Location:
6919 Outreach Way
North Port, Florida 34297
222 N. Roberts Avenue
Arcadia, Florida 34266