Candidate Statement

Howard Yaffe

Cambridge, Massachusetts 

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

I have utilized my membership in SVN in several ways. They include: Learning and listening to others Coordinating and leading a Massachusetts Coalition for Supervised Visitation, first as a Chapter of SVN, then as a stand-alone group. Developed close collegial and personal friendships with other members around the county and Canada. Have presented at conferences, webinars and training both for SVN and in my local community based on the values, concepts and expertise learned throughout my membership period. Having been and "ambassador" of SVN to affiliated agencies Have served on the Board of Director for two three-year teams and have most recently served as Treasurer.

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

I have received my formal education as a clinical social worker. As a licensed clinical social worker I have worked in a number of different settings, always with a focus on supporting children and their families. Part of my work, for now about 30 years, has included work in the leadership in one of the first supervised visitations in Massachusetts. In more recent years, my clinical and administrative focus has been supporting parents and children through high conflict divorces and separations, with a strong focus on the support and interventions from a strong trauma informed focus. In addition to direct clinical work with children and families, I have also participated on a number of state wide task forces, community forums and training events related to the community responses to domestic violence.

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.

I have held and demonstrated a strong commitment to improving the lives of children and their families from all walks of life, all racial and ethnic backgrounds, socio-economic, level of citizenship, gender identity and ableism. This commitment has resulted in my participation in both agency level committees and task forces as well as community based listening and learning groups and leaderships groups in promoting awareness, acceptance and embracing issues of inequities throughout the agencies I have worked with and in the greater Boston Area. Currently, SVN has undertaken a number initiatives to critically assess what we do well and where we need to grow in this area. I plan to offer my voice and my commitment to this process.

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?

The primary function of the Board of Directors for SVN is to offer oversight, direction and support to all members of SVN and directly to our Executive Director. It is the Board's responsibility that the organizational functioning of SVN remains true to our mission, values and practice and to see that the fiscal management is sound as well. I believe that I can continue to bring a combination of important skills and talents to SVN. Foremost, I have participated in a number of oversight task forces, commissions and community forums, as well as being a past, and current, Board member. Those who I have worked with comment that I have been a strong supporter of SVN for several years and am a strong "team player", who can both "take the lead" and welcome everyone's voice. Equally important is that I have been both an administrator and a provider of supervised visitation services for many years. This experience, combined with my personal style, my connections to domestic violence services, the probate and family court system and experience as a licensed clinical social worker help to sum up how I could continue to support SVN members are our commitment to provided the highest quality visitation services for all.

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

I would continue to support the beginning efforts of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee in reaching out to members as we move ahead to assess SVN's strengths and weaknesses in this area. Supporting, coordinating and facilitating open forums for SVN Members is something else I would intend to part of. In addition, I would suggest to the Committee to consider outreach to SVN members who might be part of marginalized groups to actively engage those who might want to join this effort.

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?

Currently, in addition to being a member of SVN, I am also a member AFCC, I am member of the Massachusetts Association of Guardians ad litem. I am participating in the Massachusetts Governor's Commission on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. the City of Cambridge's Steering Committee on Domestic Violence and Gender Based Violence, The Massachusetts Coalition for Supervised Visitation and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's Children's Principle Task Force.