Visitation Center

If you have been referred to the Visitation Center, please contact the Center at 443-844-8931 as soon as possible. If no one answers, leave a message and someone will return your call.

Domestic violence (DV), often referred to as intimate partner violence (IPV), is a pattern of behavior used by one person in a relationship to gain power and control over another. The pattern can include physical violence, verbal threats, sexual, emotional, and/or economic abuse. Domestic violence effects 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men. Children are often direct and indirect victims of domestic violence.

  • Domestic violence is not confined to any one socioeconomic, ethnic, religious, racial, gender or age group.
  • Domestic violence is not limited to heterosexual relationships.
  • The frequency and severity of domestic violence can vary dramatically across relationships.

As one component of a larger community response to domestic violence and its associated crimes; i.e. sexual assault, stalking, dating violence, and child sexual abuse, Baltimore City’s Visitation Center (BCVC) provides a safe location at which parents may exchange or visiting parents may visit with children in an abuse-free environment that promotes healthy interaction. Staff at the Center are committed to acknowledging and respecting the unique experiences of each individual served.

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Center for Urban Families

Health Care Access Maryland

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House of Ruth Victim Services 

Maryland Center for School Safety

Maryland Children’s Alliance

Maryland Department of Education

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Baltimore City Visitation Center (BCVC)

We are an abuse-free environment that promotes healthy interaction and serves as an access point for referring families to additional supportive services. Families with histories of domestic violence (intimate partner violence) can engage in visitation between children and their visiting parents in a monitored setting or can participate in monitored exchanges of children for weekend visits with their non-custodial parents.

What services does the Visitation Center provide?

The primary purpose of the Center is to ensure the SAFETY of all parties. The Center does not provide custody recommendations or therapeutic services. Parents do not come into contact with one another while at the Center due to several safety precautions, including but not limited to, staggered arrivals and departures, separate entrances and onsite security.

The Center also serves as a direct access point for survivors to legal services in divorce, custody and visitation matters. These services are provided in partnership with the House of Ruth of Maryland Marjorie Cook Foundation Legal Clinic. The Center can also assist with access to additional community resources as needed.

Are there any fees for services?

At this time, there are no fees for services provided. 

How are services accessed at the Visitation Center?

BCVC may accept client referrals from a variety of sources including court order, domestic violence agencies and hospital-based programs, mental health professionals, attorneys and self-referrals. A Two steps Referral Process is followed*.

  1. Protective order should include a referral to the Visitation Center
    • Example: “referred to Visitation Center for supervised visitation” OR “referred to Visitation Center for monitored exchange".
       
  2. Referral form filled out and sent to the clerk’s office - Include a copy in court file and distribute a copy to each party. 

* Non- court ordered referrals would submit a referral form directly to Center staff after ensuring agreement by both parties to voluntarily participate.

If referred to the Center through a court order, it is requested that both parents contact the Center within 10 business days to begin the intake process (intakes are conducted separately).  The intake process can take as long as a week to complete and is required before scheduling can occur.

What types of cases are considered for services at the Visitation Center?

The Center will review referrals for cases involving domestic violence. Domestic violence, also referred to as battering, refers to physical abuse, psychological abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse, stalking, or sexual abuse that takes place in the context of an intimate (or previously intimate) relationship and can involve a pattern of purposeful and assaultive behaviors that can be used to maintain control and compliance of the victim and threatens the safety of the victim and/or child.

Center staff will need to know the reasoning for the referral and safety-related information behind the decision. This should be reflected in the notes section on the referral form.

Supervised Visitation

  • Visits take place on a bi-weekly basis (every other week) and last for one hour
  • Visits generally occur in a stocked playroom with many toys, games, books, and more.
  • Visits are observed by a trained monitor who watches and listens for safety concerns and will intervene, redirect or terminate as deemed appropriate to maintain physical and emotional safety for the child.

Monitored Exchanges

  • Monitored exchanges are provided on a bi-weekly (every other weekend) basis for overnight weekend visits
  • The actual visit is off-site and unsupervised by Center staff.
  • Children are transferred between parents at the Center on Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons for weekend visits. Day exchanges may also be accommodated with approval from the Program Director.
     

What is the status of the Visitation Center due to COVID-19?

BCVC has resumed in-person supervised visitation and monitored exchange services and will accept referrals for cases involving intimate partner violence, stalking, dating violence and/or child sexual abuse.

Service Modifications:

  • Use of Center’s playroom activities has been modified
  • Service intakes conducted virtually and by phone

For more information on the status of other city services click here
 

Contacting the Center

For those interested in using our services, please call 443-844-8931.

Hours of operation
Supervised visitation and exchange services are scheduled on a bi-weekly basis on the following days and times*:

Tuesday: 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.**

Friday: 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Saturday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Sunday: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

*Tentative operating hours may be subject to change based upon families’ needs and operational capacity.
**Not currently staffed based on low demand

 


 

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