Part of what makes the YWCA such a great place to work is the support and commitment our staff have to ongoing learning experiences. Our staff continues to ensure they are always on top of best practices in their various programs, to cultivate an environment that is innovative and engaged. Attitudes like this ensure we remain a leader in the non-profit sector and our practices remain cutting edge.

This week’s blog feature comes from a member of our Visitation Services and Child Support Programs and their experiences at “Beyond the Hour” the Supervised Visitation Network’s 25th Anniversary Conference.

In mid-May, Stacey, our Visitation Services and Child Support Programs Supervisor, was fortunate enough to attend the Supervised Visitation Network’s 25th Anniversary Conference in San Diego. The conference featured speakers including Judge Patricia Martin, who is the presiding judge of the Child Protection Division in Cook Country Illinois, and Casey Gwinn, president of the National Family Justice Center Alliance.

Attending these types of conferences is critical to ensuring our programs remain a leader in innovative and relevant service provision while connecting with other professionals in our field. “I was especially excited by the plenary speakers this year and thought they were so inspiring and impactful,” says Stacey Ashton, Supervisor Visitation and Child Support Programs. “I left with a renewed sense of motivation and a deeper understanding of the importance of a trauma informed and violence-sensitive approach to our work. “

Judge Patricia Martin spoke passionately about the importance of high quality supervised vitiation and the role it plays in letting families grow together. The other speaker, Casey Gwinn highlighted his support for a multi-disciplinary approach to domestic violence and was very vocal about the role that supervised visitation plays in that approach. Martin and Gwinn reinforced what we already know: safe and healthy families mean safe and healthy communities and a large part of that is the critical role supervised visitation plays in approach domestic violence.

In addition to these speakers, Stacey attended workshops on different approaches to supervised visitation; staffing visitation services; reviews of supervision methods that programs can employ; how to train staff and clients for better experiences; and the importance of creating safe spaces within supervised visitation. Walking away from this conference, Stacey left with a renewed sense of passion for her work and its impact on her community.

We here at the YWCA, know that supporting a woman includes her family and creating spaces where women and their children can engage and feel safe is critical to the work we do.