Thursday, August 24, 2006
"Many times when a marriage dissolves into shouting matches between parents, the children are caught in the crossfire. For the past three years warring parents have been ordered by judges to exchange their children at three safe sites around Pinellas County: St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park and Clearwater. The parents never see each other to avoid confrontations. But now the nonprofit agency that operates these "visitation centers" says it may have to close the St. Petersburg and Clearwater locations because it did not receive a two-year, $350,000 federal grant. The Justice Department received 95 proposals for $36-million but doled out only $13-million. Community Action Stops Abuse, or CASA, was notified last month it would not receive the grant, which it first won three years ago.
Unless the 29-year-old domestic violence agency can get additional funding, the two sites may have to close at the end of September, said Kris Nowland, CASA's director of youth education and support services. The result: Dozens of children will have to wait longer between parent visits. "We are sending out a plea to all of our supporters," Nowland said. "Parents were waiting up to six months prior to this grant. We're very fearful we'll have to go back to that."" By Melanie Ave, St. Petersburg Times Staff Writer Link to Article (last visted 8-23-06 NVS)