Wellstone Family Safety Program (WFSP)
What is the Wellstone Family Safety Program?
The Wellstone Family Safety Program is a safe and friendly place that provides a positive and nurturing environment to promote safe parent/child relationships. The WFSP works to reduce children’s exposure to domestic violence.
What Services are Offered by the Wellstone Family Safety Program?
The Wellstone Family Safety Program provides four types of services:
Supervised exchanges are provided for families to decrease children’s exposure to domestic violence and verbal abuse during visitation exchanges. For example, a custodial parent drops off the child ten minutes prior to the hour of the exchange and the non-custodial picks up the child ten minutes after the hour to be exchanged. Staff of the program meet with the child during the 20 minute waiting period. Supervised exchanges allow each parent to have contact with the child without the parents having contact with each other.
Supervised visits are provided to families when children have been exposed to or experience domestic violence. The non-custodial parent can see the child(ren) only when supervised at the WFSP. The custodial parent drops off the child(ren) ten minutes prior to the visit. The non-custodial parent arrives and visits with the child(ren) while WFSP supervise by sitting on the perimeter of the room where the visit takes place. Staff intervene if the parent or child becomes disruptive, talks about inappropriate subjects, whispers, or exchanges items or notes. If the non-custodial parent who is having the supervised visit violates program policy the visit is cancelled immediately to ensure the safety of the child(ren).
Therapeutic supervised visitations are conducted when a family has a history of sexual abuse of a child, there has been a long period of separation between the parent/child(ren), or the last time the child(ren) has seen the parent was during a violent incident. A therapeutic visit operates similar to a supervised visit, except that a licensed therapist is the person supervising the visit and interacts with the family prior to, during, and after the visit.
Correspondence services are provided to families who have unsupervised visitation within their homes, but need to make changes in the visitation schedule without having contact with each other. For example, if the non-custodial parent’s visitation schedule is every other weekend, but needs to change a visitation time, he/she will call the WFSP, relay the message to the staff person, the staff will call the other parent and propose the change in the schedule, and then call back the non-custodial parent back with the response. Many of the parents receiving this type of service have an order for protection in place that restricts one parent having contact with the other.
How do I Receive Services?
The WFSP requires both parents complete an orientation to familiarize themselves with the staff, visitation space, to ask questions, and to review policies before services begin. To set up an orientation, please contact the WFSP at 1-800-909-8336 or (218)-326-0388. On evenings and weekends you can try to reach the WFSP staff on the agency cellphone at (218)-256-4052. After and orientation is completed, a day and time for visitation or exchanges will be made.
It is important that all visits and exchanges must be scheduled through the Wellstone Family Safety Program. Dates and times set up by referral agencies might not fit into our schedule.
Is there a Fee for Services?
The WFSP services are free to both the visiting and non-visiting parties.