Building Positive Father-Child Relationships
Children should not be caught in the middle of parental disputes and certainly should not be a witness to domestic violence. This is the reason CASA of the Pikes Peak Region began administering the Supervised Exchange and Parenting Time (SEPT) program in Colorado Springs.
The SEPT Program is a court-ordered service that protects children from witnessing parental
disputes. Our SEPT program volunteers oversee the transfer of children from one parent to another in conflictive custody or domestic violence cases. Parents ordered into supervised parenting time are able to spend time with their children in a setting managed by CASA staff and volunteers. The program is a family-focused service that provides aplace for parents and children to build positive relationships.
Recently our SEPT staff was chosen to receive specialized training through a grant from the Office Of Violence Against Women. This is a huge honor as over 100 supervised visitation programs applied from across the nation and only ten sites were selected. Our key staff and representatives from local partner agencies TESSA, The Center on Fathering, and the 4th Judicial District, were flown to Boston in September to be fully trained in the area of creating intentional
relationships with fathers on domestic violence cases.
Men have notably been the primary offenders of domestic violence and confrontation and containment have been the norm in treatment, creating adversarial relationships between the court system or professionals and the offenders. However, this training introduced a new approach based on “connection and accountability.” The two go hand in hand and have an effectual impact on change. The idea is to engage abusive fathers by helping them develop empathy for their children and using this empathy as a motivator to change their behavior. The program provides a reparative framework to those fathers who are in the position to start healing their relationships with the children in a safe and constructive way. Giving fathers more opportunities for change and healing is an essential component to end violence against women and children.