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Posted on: October 14, 2021

City Supports Safe Exchanges with Planned Family Visit Center

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The Sioux Center City Council took action to support safe family interactions through the Family Crisis Centers’ planned Family Visitation Center.

The new center will provide a location for safe, supervised visits and exchanges for children and their families going through complicated family situations including domestic violence, divorce, and substance abuse. Plans are to create this new center by renovating a portion of the building where the Family Crisis Centers have offices.

The council approved the City serving as the conduit for a $600,000 Community Development Block Grant application to help pay for this $1 million project. The City has previously served as a conduit for CDBG grant applications for the Family Crisis Centers. The council also unanimously approved a $100,000 contribution to help move the project forward.

There is currently not another facility in the state of Iowa that has this type of location, according to Family Crisis Centers executive director Shari Kastein. She said exchanges currently take place at public locations such as gas stations, restaurants, and even public libraries. The Family Visitation Center would offer a location with security in place and the ability to allow different members of the family to visit with a child without interacting with each other, avoiding potential conflict. Kastein said this center would focus on serving Sioux Center and Sioux County families.

“We see this facility as a huge benefit to the community of Sioux Center,” City Manager Scott Wynja said. “It provides a safe and supervised exchange location for children and families, and it helps eliminate complicated situation for our local law enforcement.” 

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