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May 2003Vol. 4, No. 4Family Visitation Program Receives National Recognition

Research indicates children in foster care (even long-term) benefit from contact with family members. One effort to strengthen court-separated families, Families Together, was recently selected as a finalist for the 16th annual Innovations in American Government Award by the Institute for Government Innovation at the Kennedy School of Government.

A unique public-private partnership between the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families (CYF) and the Providence Children's Museum, Families Together facilitates biweekly visits to the museum for shared learning and play. In this nontraditional setting, families experience a stimulating environment and caseworkers are able to gain a more complete understanding of each family. Families Together staff are placed in each CYF regional office to help caseworkers prepare for visits, helping them move from being passive observers to actively helping parents gain a better understanding of their role and take responsibility for meeting their children's needs.

For more information about this program, contact:
Joanne Lehrer, Chief of Staff
Department of Children, Youth and Families
Phone: (401) 528-3575

For more information about the Innovations in American Government awards program, visit the Institute for Government Innovation website at

Additional resources about family visiting:

  • An article in the March/April 2002 issue of Families in Society outlines the benefits of family home visiting, provides suggestions for productive visiting, and discusses potential obstacles and solutions. Download a PDF version of the article at 83-2%20PDFs/FIS83-2_Mapp.pdf.
  • In another effort to enhance the quality of time parents and children in out-of-home placement spend together, New York City has developed detailed guidelines to support family visitation. These guidelines emphasize family strengths, with supervision at the lowest possible level that guarantees the child's safety. A PDF copy of these guidelines can be obtained at

Related Item

For more about the Families Together program, see "State Agency, Children's Museum Forge Partnership to Strengthen Family Visitation" in the June 2000 issue of Children's Bureau Express.