FAQ Page

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Frequently Asked Questions about Family House, Inc.

Parents and Families

How can Family House, Inc. help me?

At Family House, we will nurture your child or children through healthy family interactions in a safe, home-like environment. Our supervised visits and transfers (exchanges) allow children to have safe and appropriate contact with their non-custodial parents without putting the children in the middle of conflicts or problems. At Family House we make the experience of visits and transfers (exchanges) as positive possible for everyone involved.
We also offer support groups through out the year for both custodial parent groups and non-custodial parent groups.
We also have various Counseling services available. We provide Therapeutic Supervised Visitation (TSV). Sometimes we have reduced fees or no fees for these TSV visits, if you qualify and/are selected.
It is our priority to protect your child or children while promoting appropriate interaction in a safe and neutral setting during each visit.
We want to help your child or children maintain a positive relationship with both parents, which is important as your child adjusts to change and disruption.

Am I a fit for Family House, Inc. services?

Family House requires a court order that specifies the need for supervised visits or supervised transfers (exchanges). Initial appointments began with orientations for each parent. Remember, our services are about your children and their needs. At Family House, we understand that parenting is not always convenient and may require sacrifices and we are here to help you.

We want to use Family House, Inc. services. How do we get started?

Give us a call at (219) 464-4160 and we would be happy to speak with you. We can give you additional details about Family House and set up an appointment with you for an orientation.
We require a court order to provide services. You may fax us at 219-477-5469 or email to brandib@family-houseinc.org

Sometimes we need to arrange our schedules even when inconvenient to fit the needs available. If you are the non-custodial or the custodial, your willingness to work with the schedule is important. Your unwillingness to arrange a schedule may be viewed as lack of interest, which may lead to termination of parent contact. If you are the custodial, non-willingness to work with the schedule may be viewed as a ploy to keep the child from the parent and may even result in reversal of custody.

What are your hours of operation?

Family House is open 7 days a week from 9 am to 8 pm. Depending on the visit schedule and inclement weather, this may vary sometimes. We are closed for New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. We follow the school closings for inclement weather.

What are your fees?

Supervised visitation is a professional service and fees are charged. Supervised visit fees are $45/hour and $70 for 2 hours. We can provide longer visits accordingly. Sometimes, out of town visits take place only on weekends and we can make arrangements for longer visits, as appropriate, or ordered, Transfer (exchange) fees are $10 each time you exchange at the Family House. All fees are due at the time of service or visits may be suspended until the payment has been made.

How long can we use Family House, Inc. services?

This varies as every situation is different and often depends on the court. Some families only visit here a few times. Some families visit here for many years.

Are my child and I safe?

Family House is a safe and neutral environment. It is our priority to protect your child/ren while promoting appropriate parent/child interaction. IT is our policy that you will not have any communication or contact with the child’s other parent while at Family House. We encourage you to realize that a visitation schedule can be very positive. But what is best for one child may not be for the siblings. For the best interest of your children you may need to disrupt your own schedule and more or less visitation may occur than you otherwise would choose. You must address your own feelings – of loss, sadness, jealousy, anger, disappointment, etc.

For Custodial parents:
When you are at Family House, you will not have any communication or contact with the non-custodial parent; this is our policy. Our office manager or staff will make all of the arrangements, and he or she will be present before, during, and after each visit. We work to provide the utmost professional service in a safe and supervised neutral setting.
As you child or children visit, we want you to feel comfortable and get some time to yourself. You may not stay on site at the Family House.

For Non-custodial parents:
Our policy does not allow you to have any communication or contact with the custodial parent when you are at Family House. You can, however, be sure that you will have appropriate contact with your child or children. You can have this time with your child or children, regardless of any personal issues you may have. At Family House , you can visit without fear of any new allegations against you because our staff will always be present to verify what happened and how the visits went. You are using a professional service.
This may be your last chance to repair a relationship with your child and/or build a healthy relationship with your child. Let us help you so that your visitation privileges are not suspended.

What are your rules and policies?

Parenting Time Policy
Transfer Policy

Family Support/Mediation/Legal Professionals

Does my client need Family House, Inc. supervised visitation and transfer services?

High conflict divorce, custody and visitation disputes, absentee parents returning into their child’s life, and parent-child separation due to domestic violence, incarceration, child abuse and neglect, and substance abuse have made the need for supervised visitation services at an all-time high across the United States (Family Court Review, Vol. 49, No 2., April 2011).

Courts often order families to use Family House for supervised visits or transfers (exchanges). Supervised visitation provides an opportunity for contact between a child and an adult, typically the non-custodial parent, under the supervision of professional staff in a protected setting. For many parents, supervised visits are their only way to interact or visit with their child. For some children, supervised visits are a last chance to build or maintain a positive and healthy relationship with both of their parents.

How does my client start services?

Family House requires a court order that specifies the need for supervised visits or supervised transfers (exchanges). Initial appointments begin with required orientations for each parent. These are individual meetings with Family House staff to gather information and to go over our Policies and Procedures.

Referral Process
In order for positive and productive visitation to occur, it is best for the Attorney to provide some guidelines as a part of the referral. Information may include:

– Desired facility (Family House), length of visits, number or visits requested per week. (For example: 2-3 times per week for up to 3 hours each visit.) It can also be very specific: ( 2x per week for 1 hour).
– Contact information for both custodial and non-custodial party.
– Who may participate in the visits with contact information and relationship to the child.
– Who is restricted from visits.
– Who is responsible for payment for the visits. This can be set up in a variety of ways ( non-custodial pays entire visit, visit costs are split 50/50, etc.)
– Any criminal or safety information on all children and visiting parties.
– Other information you may think pertinent to the visits.

You can call us at (219) 464-4160 if you have specific questions about the needs of your client.

What are your hours of operation?

Family House is open 7 days a week from 9 am to 8 pm. Depending on the visit schedule and inclement weather, this may vary sometimes. We are closed for New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. We follow the school closings for inclement weather.

What are your fees?

Supervised visitation is a professional service and fees are charged. Supervised visit fees are $45/hour and $70 for 2 hours. We can provide longer visits accordingly. Sometimes, out of town visits take place only on weekends and we can make arrangements for longer visits as appropriate. Transfer (exchange) fees are $10 each time you exchange at the Family House. All fees are due at the time of service or visits may be suspended until the payment has been made.
It is helpful to have the party responsible for payment outlined in the court order so there is no confusion.

What are your rules and policies?

Parenting Time Policy (click on)
Transfer Policy (click on)

As a professional representing my client, what can I expect from Family House, Inc.?

The professional staff at Family House follows standard and protocol to ensure safety for children and their parents. We will work closely with the referral sources, communicate well and provide you with requested documentation as appropriate. It is our goal to ensure that all children who come to Family House can safely and appropriately have a meaningful relationship with their non-custodial parents.

How can I obtain records/reports?

We provide reports to attorneys and the courts via a subpoena. We provide records to the Department of Child Services upon request. We prefer 5 business days to provide you the information. There is a processing fee for this information.

Where can I learn more about Supervised Visitation Network Standards/Guidelines?

We are a member of the Supervised Visitation Network. Feel free to visit their website at: www.svnetwork.net

Community Partners

What kinds of services does Family House, Inc. provide?

Family House provides supervised visitation and transfer (exchange) services, Therapeutic Supervised Visitation and Counseling (Individual, Family and Groups). The purpose of our services is to enable children to maintain connections with parents with whom they are not living by protecting the physical and emotional safety of the child and parent. This includes providing safety for victims of domestic violence and abuse.

What is Supervised Visitation?

Family House staff personnel provide supervised visitation by observing parent-child visits and protect children and parents from physical and emotional harm by enforcing certain ground rules and safety measures. In some cases supervised visits may be arranged with other non-residential or custodial family members, such as grandparents. Supervised services at Family House are provided on-site.

What May Occur During Supervised Visitation?

Oftentimes Supervised Visitation incorporates feedback, discussion and education specifically designed to support the parent-child relationship by helping parents improve their parenting skills and abilities. The interventions delivered go beyond those in a supervised visit, which in typically focused on preventing harm, but do not extend to the level of therapeutic supervised visitation, which should be only provided by licensed mental health professionals.

What is Supportive Supervised Visitation?

This type of supervised visitation incorporates feedback, discussion and education specifically designed to support the parent-child relationship by helping parents improve their parenting skills and abilities. The interventions delivered go beyond those in a supervised visit, which in typically focused on preventing harm, but do not extend to the level of therapeutic supervised visitation, which should be only provided by licensed mental health professionals.

What is Therapeutic Supervised Visitation?

This type of supervised visitation includes conjoint parent-child therapy that is provided by a licensed mental health professional within the context of a supervised visit.

What are transfer services (exchange services)?

Supervised Exchange or transfer involves the supervised transfer of a child or children from one parent to the other immediately before and after an unsupervised visit.

I’ve never heard of these situations. How many estranged families are really in Porter County? Is there a demand for these services?

According the studies provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2002, there are nearly 1.5 million divorces and annulments in the United States annually. The (CDC) further estimates that approximately 50% of adults will eventually be divorced. The number of custody and visitation disputes seems to be consistently rising. High conflict divorce, custody and visitation disputes, absentee parents returning into their child’s life, and parent/child separation due to domestic violence, incarceration, child abuse and neglect, and substance abuse have made the need for supervised visitation services at an all-time high across the United States (Family Court Review, Vol. 49, NO 2., April 2011). Last year the Family House served almost 3,000 hours of supervised visits and exchanges.

I know a family that needs help. How can I make a referral?

Please feel free to refer anytime or call us at (219) 464-4160 for additional information. You can also ask the family to contact us with questions. We will need a copy of the court order to help us determine the service structure. You may need to ask your attorney to fax us at 219-477-5469 or email the court order to us at brandib@family-houseinc.org.

These seem like very specialized services. How does this benefit the community as a whole?

Keeping families safe by supervising them within our agency is our goal. Sometimes families don’t know where to turn for such a service and go to gas stations, or playgrounds, or fast food restaurants to do such visits without professional assistance. Emotions can trigger causing anger and violence. We hope to keep such events out of the community and to keep others not involved out of such environments.

How does Family House, Inc. receive funding to provide these services?

Family House receives its funding in several ways. Typically our families pay for our services as per their court order, although we try to offer a sliding scale scholarship program for those families based on income and resources. Family House also receives funding from various grants, individual donations, and from businesses that support our mission and work. We host events and fundraisers to raise money as well. We are a partner agency with United Way of Porter County, and the Porter County Community Foundation. We work very hard to continuously gather financial support to do the important work that we do in our community. We are very grateful to various individuals and groups that have supported our efforts over many years.

How are your services regulated?

We are contracted by the State of Indiana to provide such a service to the Department of Child Services. We follow guidelines for providing our services. We also uphold the standards to the best of our ability as suggested by the professional organization, Supervised Visitation Network. The Council on Accreditation (COA) has also released service standards for Supervised Visitations and Exchanges.

Where can I learn more about your organization?
guidestar.org
Family House on Facebook
Family House on Twitter
We can provide references upon request.
Call for an appointment to discuss your needs.

How can I help?

Donate
Donations from people like you are invaluable to the Family House. We are a small non-profit agency that relies on the support of individuals and groups in order to provide our services.

Volunteer
There are a few ways to get involved in Family House. We have internship positions available on a limited basis and also have volunteer projects available periodically, such as yard work, painting, toy cleaning, etc. We also have community service hours available on a limited basis. We would love for you to call us and ask for additional information about volunteering.

Give an item from our wish list
We welcome in kind donations for our events and supplies for the Family House. At certain times, we find that we need times such as paper products (paper towels, toilet paper, paper plates), garbage bags, Clorox wipes, hand soap, and dish soap. If you are interested in donating an in-kind gift, please call 464-4160 for more information.

Participate in our events.