Statewide Visitation Initiative


Statewide Visitation Initiative

April 15, 2024

Memorandum of Support

Re: S8661 Hoylman-Sigal 
Relates to the establishment of a statewide supervised visitation initiative

The above-referenced legislation would direct the office of children and family services, in consultation with the office for the prevention of domestic violence, to establish a statewide supervised visitation initiative. The initiative would include culturally sensitive services and require the submission of regular assessments and reports. The New York Catholic Conference, on behalf of Catholic Charities from around the state, supports this bill.

Domestic violence and related issues disrupt family stability and lead to stress and upheaval within the lives of children and their caregivers. Often, courts mandate supervised visits as these tragic situations are litigated and child custody is managed. The overwhelming need for support in facilitating these supervised visits is often beyond what agencies can provide. Catholic Charities organizations throughout the state offer supervised visit programs, providing the compassionate care that the affected children and adults need and deserve. However, lack of funding and state support severely affects Charities’ ability to provide these critical services. In Erie County specifically, Catholic Charities currently offers the only onsite supervised visit visitation program. In some situations, wait times exceed six months or more due to demands and lack of resources. That is an unacceptable situation for children and parents.

Dedicated funding is desperately needed so that supervised visit programs can meet the needs of all families. This bill would ensure that the programs can survive and thrive. We urge you to support this initiative.