Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Fletcher Announces $50,000 in Funding for Louisville's Family Place

Press Release Date:  Thursday, January 18, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

Vikki Franklin

Agency to enhance role as neutral visitation site for families

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher today announced $50,000 in state funding to help a nonprofit Louisville center expand its services for families and children.

Governor Fletcher, joined by officials from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS),  awarded $50,000 to Family Place to enhance its visitation center, where families dealing with divorce, domestic violence or custody issues can meet. The dedicated room for supervised visitation for Department for Community Based Services children in out-of-home care is an in-kind contribution from Family Place. The additional funding will be available to hire staff to supervise visitations.

Governor Fletcher praised the work of the Family Place staff.

“Families torn apart by divorce, domestic violence or child custody disputes can get help to come back together at Family Place,” he said. “This grant will help continue this noble work.”

For 30 years, Family Place has assisted Louisville families in moving beyond issues of abuse through education and treatment programs. Its visitation center opened in 1999, and cabinet staff will use it as a safe, supervised meeting place for children in state foster care and their birth parents.

CHFS Secretary Mark D. Birdwhistell said Family Place is a model agency.

“You offer exactly what providers and families need for appropriate visitation – a neutral site where a third party can supervise,” he said. “It’s these meetings that become a lifeline for parents and their children.”

Governor Fletcher said neutral-site visitation is also important because of safety concerns for cabinet staff who accompany foster children to visits with their birth parents. Social services aide Boni Frederick, of Morganfield, was killed while accompanying a child on a visit with his mother in October.

In an internal survey, cabinet employees who work with families listed visitation centers as one of their most immediate needs.

“These centers provide staff and clients with an alternative option when in-home visitation creates a safety concern,” Governor Fletcher said.

Fletcher thanked the staff and volunteers of Family Place.

“Our social workers greatly depend on agencies like Family Place to partner with us to assist recovering Kentucky families,” he said. “Working together, we are providing solutions.”