Orlando Science Center helps foster kids relax during supervised visits

May 18, 2018— Supervised visits are often a part of foster care and the reuniting of families, but there can be a flaw with a part of that process.

The flaw is location, especially because visitation rooms often have a more business-like feel. This fact prompted Community Based Care of Central Florida to connect with the Orlando Science Center.

“The first time we came here he was more scared of everything, to just be able to get out and try new things, and be more independent,” said Kimberly, a foster parent.

Kimberly has fostered nine kids over the last four years. Some kids for just a day, and others for a few years. She brings the toddler she currently is caring for to OSC frequently.

“This is definitely a prime environment,” said Kimberly, when comparing OSC to visitation rooms.

“[Visitation rooms] can almost feel like you are in a fish bowl, when you see other people walking past it,” said Danielle Abbey with Community Based Case of Central Florida. “And it makes it very hard to sometimes feel that connection with your child when there is so much going on.”

Supervised visits can be part of a variety of situations — from foster kids getting to see their biological parents to counselors monitoring how foster parents interact with kids.

Abbey said kid-friendly environments go a long way in reuniting families.

“So you might have an 8-year-old, but they have had the experiences of a 30-year-old, and they are not positive experiences, there are ones that really affect their development negatively. So for a kid to be a kid, and for a child to experience childhood, that is so important,” said Abbey.

It’s a concept the OSC completely understands.

“Being in the foster situation can be challenging for all sides, and if you can take away some of that stress, and just let people connect, and let them be, then everyone can do what comes natural,” said Jeff Stanford, Orlando Science Center.

For Kimberly and her foster child, it’s a place she has seen her little one grow and develop.

“You learn to celebrate what may seem like a very mild milestone to someone else, can be a huge milestone for a child with a traumatic background,” said Kimberly.

The partnership was created two and half years ago, and Community Based Care said they are always looking for education based locations for families to use.

Credit for this article goes to Erin Murray with News 13