Eligibility for the Safe Havens: Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange Grant Program (Supervised Visitation Program) is governed by statute (42 U.S.C. § 10420). It mandates that a state, Indian tribal government or, unit of local government apply for and maintain the grant and that grantee communities establish community working groups. All applicants are required to enter into a formal collaborative working relationship with state, tribal, or local courts and a non profit, nongovernmental domestic violence or sexual assault victim services organization to expand the scope of existing services for supervised visitation and safe exchange of children in situations involving domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, and child abuse.
Scope of Program
The scope of the Supervised Visitation Program is governed by statute (42.U.S.C. § 10420(a)). Funds under the Supervised Visitation Program must be used to enter into or expand the scope of existing contracts and cooperative agreements with public or private nonprofit entities, including faith-based and community organizations, that:
- Provide supervised visitation and safe exchange of children by and between parents in situations involving domestic violence, dating violence, child abuse, sexual assault, or stalking;
- Protect children from the trauma of witnessing domestic or dating violence or experiencing abduction, injury, or death during parent and child visitation exchanges;
- Protect parents or caretakers who are victims of domestic and dating violence from experiencing further violence, abuse, and threats during child visitation exchanges; and
- Protect children from the trauma of experiencing sexual assault or other forms of physical assault or abuse during parent and child visitation and visitation exchanges.
All applicants for the Supervised Visitation Program are required, by 42 U.S.C. § 10420(c), to:
- Demonstrate expertise in the area of family violence, including the areas of domestic violence or sexual assault, as appropriate;
- Ensure that any fees charged to individuals for use of programs and services are based on the income of those individuals, unless otherwise provided by court order;
- Demonstrate that adequate security measures, including adequate facilities, procedures, and personnel capable of preventing violence, are in place for the operation of supervised visitation programs and services or safe visitation exchange; and
- Prescribe standards by which the supervised visitation or safe visitation exchange will occur.
Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 10420(b), when awarding Supervised Visitation Program Grants, the Attorney General must consider:
- The number of families to be served by the proposed visitation program and services;
- The extent to which the proposed supervised visitation programs and services serve underserved populations;
- With respect to an applicant for a contract or cooperative agreement, the extent to which the applicant demonstrates cooperation and collaboration with nonprofit, nongovernmental entities in the local community served, including the state or tribal domestic violence coalitions, state or tribal sexual assault coalitions, faith and/or community-based shelters, and programs for domestic violence and sexual assault victims; and
- The extent to which the applicant demonstrates coordination and collaboration with State and local court systems, including mechanisms for communication and referral.