Candidate Statement

Christina Fisher

Canton, Georgia

 During your 2+ years of membership in SVN, describe how you have utilized your member benefits. (Networking, training, credential, etc.)

The Children’s Haven Wellstar Family Visitation program has been a member of the SVN since 2016. We have utilized the membership by attending the SVN conference each year, obtained the 24-Hour Certification, Nurturing Parenting Facilitator Training, and the Inspire Action for Social Change Training. I will also be participate in the SVN Blueprint project. On a continuous basis my staff and I participate in the monthly trainings, and offer peer support to other visitation programs when needed.

Describe your experience in the field of supervised visitation or relevant experience that intersects with the field of supervised visitation.

I have worked in child welfare for over 22 years, starting my career working with homeless women and children. When I graduated in 2005 I began a career partnering with the Department of Family and Children Services providing transportation, community visitation services, parent education, and other in home services. In 2015 I obtained my Masters in Human Services and continued my career working with adults with developmental disabilities, but have always had a heart for families in child welfare. In 2017 I moved to Georgia and found a place at The Children’s Haven and currently the Director for our Visitation Program. I have completed 2 ½ of my 10 year commitment and co-chair a committee with the Cherokee County Service League that provides an array services to families in our county. Over the years I have transitioned, working as a case manager, facilitator, program coordinator and director. In these positions, I have offered preventative and (Another word) in efforts to maintain, reunify, and provided long term care plans for families. TCH started providing visitation services in 2016, and hosted 100 visits in the first year. I started in December 2017 and we now host over 1200 visit a year, with one visitation room. We operate 7 days a week, and at 95% capacity. We served families for 10 weeks virtually during the shelter in place order with no delays in weekly services. In 2020, we were honored to win the Heidi Levenbach Provider of the Year Award. Additionally, TCH was recognized as the 20200 nonprofit of the year by the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce.

SVN’s vision statement is: “The Supervised Visitation Network champions a world in which all vulnerable families have access to safe and quality visitation services.” Discuss your commitment to better outcomes for families in consideration of racial, cultural, socio-economic, gender equity and ability/disability.

TCH has been committed to serving all families since 2000. We serve approximately 350 children every year through our three programs: CASA, WellStar Family Visitation and Prevent Child Abuse Cherokee. When we developed the visitation program, it was designed with the necessary accommodations in mind. We continued to keep this vision, as it states “We envision a community where every child impacted by abuse has the opportunities and supports they need to fully realize their potential, pursue their dreams and become productive members of our community.” Our vision is in alignment with that of SVN; which played a role in our decision to become members. We are dedicated to serving each family, developing an individualized plan of care, we take pride in meeting the entire families where they are, and providing family support. Our families are in a space where they are encouraged to be a family, cultural traditions are encouraged and respected. Most importantly our parents have a buy in, and we know this from their survey feedback. We also know this from watching the positive interactions they have while visiting. We are committed to creating a safe space for deep conversations. We facilitate peer to peer discussion where we created a safe space for the discussion around racial, cultural, socio-economic, gender equity, and ability/ disability. We also work closely with our CASA program, and other local agencies that serve our families so that we can ensure our family’s needs are being met through holistic care.

What do you envision as the primary function of the position you are seeking and what skills, talent and experiences do you have that would most benefit SVN (and ultimately the membership) if elected to the position?

As an SVN member, I envision putting measures in place so that our courts and other community partners understand the value of visitation services. I would also like to have an open dialogue of transparency so that our families know what to expect from the court room to the visitation room. I would also like to see more dialect about the importance of partnership between placements, relatives, and visiting parents. I recently participated in the Clifton StrengthsFinder 2.0 training, and two of the strengths that stood out for me based on my personality type were achiever and relator. I already thought I was resourceful and solution focused. I feel that these are strengths that has allowed us to put our family’s needs first, and contributed to the growth of our program. With my education, years of experience working with families, and these strengths would be best used in this field and position, if elected.

Regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion, what strategy(s) would you utilize to effectively engage in dialogue with the membership?

Since I began working at TCH diversity, equity, and inclusion have been a priority for all our programs. We have always been aware of unconscious biases and taken steps to educate ourselves. We participate in continuous education and development around these topics to encourage staff and Board Members to be more aware of, review, and analyze their own persona biases and assumptions. Other ways we continue to address these areas is by assessing our policy and procedure for both families and staff. Our hopes is to ensure the families individual needs can be met, we work together to provide equitable services and have an inclusive culture across the programs.

In what local, national, state, or provincial organizations (coalitions, groups, or task forces) outside of SVN or your current employer are you involved that would enhance the Networks goals?

TCH is an affiliate for Child Abuse America, Prevent Child Abuse Cherokee, National CASA, Georgia CASA, Train the Trainer Mandated Reporter for Prevent Child Abuse, and I serve on and co-chair a committee for Cherokee Service League.