YWCA visitation center's closing brings uncertainty
“It wouldn’t necessarily cover us if we had to expand the level of service,” Paradiso said. The YWCA has told him it services about 25 families, he said.
• Legislation regarding visitation centers has passed both the New Hampshire House and Senate and awaits Gov. Maggie Hassan’s signature. It adds language that allows judges to specify that visitation centers must use metal detectors and trained security. It also calls for studying whether centers should be licensed.
Without them, judges may allow unsupervised visitations in unsafe situations, said Maureen McDonald, a spokesman for the Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. But her organization questions whether resources on visitation centers could be better spent on prevention and victim services.
Karen McCall said she previously worked at the YWCA and now works at a local safe place for abuse victims. She said batterers will use a visitation center for six months, earn a good report and ask a judge for unsupervised visitation.
“Obviously, in situations where there’s a divorce, we need to allow a child to have connection with both parents,” said Deputy New Hampshire Attorney General Ann Rice. Her agency acts as a pass through for the grants that fund the visitation centers.
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