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The Children's Center serves as a "good place for children" and their families. Originally designed as a safe haven for children whose parents are attending court, the mission of the Center, under the direction of Wendy Nilsen, Ph.D. from the University of Rochester, has grown to include three complementary functions: 1) provide a physical and emotional safe haven for children while their parents are at court, 2) provide a resource to the court, and 3) provide a setting in which children and families at-risk of poor outcomes can be connected to needed services.
The Monroe County Children's Center is located on the third floor of the Monroe County Hall of Justice. The Center is designed as a short-term, drop-off childcare facility. It is free of charge for parents who are in court, so that their children can be away from the turmoil of the courtroom. Depending on the parents' court appearance, children (birth to 18) could spend from one hour to an entire day at the Center. A wide range of issues bring the parents to court including: an order of protection (for domestic violence), custody, child support, maltreatment, substance use, and juvenile delinquency. Using a two-to-one staffing ratio, the facility allows for a maximum of seven children at a time. Because of the high turnover rate each day, the Center serves more than 3000 children per year.
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