Emerge Family Advocates provides a safe, neutral supervised place for child visitation and custody transfer. The Honorable Lawrence MacLeod, a New Hampshire circuit court judge, says that service is beneficial for children and families.
Lawrence: Before this facility existed in our area this had to be undertaken by family members, friends, other people who, for better or for worse, always have or seem to almost always have some kind of stake in the outcome of what’s happening. Or exchanges had to take place at public areas, restaurants or, worse yet, police stations. And so this facility offers a great opportunity to provide that kind very necessary service.
They also provide some case management services, parenting education, counseling, and some other life skills training that a lot of these folks desperately need. And in the long run it will trickle down to their children. Research shows that if you can help these folks parent better chances are their children aren’t going to end up in the same situation as they are or end up in juvenile court or in criminal court as adults.
And it’s not just for court ordered people who might pose a danger to their children or a danger to the other parent. I do know that people use it voluntarily. A father for instance who has not seen a child in 5 or 10 years and wants to reestablish a relationship and the custodial parent feels more comfortable using this facility.
Being a parent is very difficult; there’s no handbook. Hopefully organizations like Emerge can help provide some of these skills and lessen the acrimony and help them parent better, and ultimately it’s going to benefit the children. That’s the real purpose, the real goal.