The Greene County Foster Parents Association has opened its Visit Center.

“It’s a place where the biological parents of foster children can visit with their children,” said Lindsay Roberts of the Association on Friday.

Roberts said the center has rooms in which the parents can visit with their children according to a schedule worked out in advance between them and the Division of Children and Family Services.

“There are board games, crafts and other activities the kids can do with their parents,” she said. “To schedule a visit, parents just need to sign up with their case worker.”

The Center, the location of which Roberts declined to make public due to security and privacy concerns, also features snacks, toys and other items to facilitate a pleasant visit between parents and their children. “There is also a sensory room,” she said, “for children with sensory challenges.” Among the features of the Sensory Room are weighted blankets, displays on the ceiling of the room, a fish tank display and other items aimed at special-needs children.

Roberts said the need for a Visit Center came about due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

“We couldn’t go to places like the play centers at McDonald’s anymore,” she said, “so it was kind of hard to find family places.”

Roberts thanked sponsors that had set up the various rooms, provided the items and facilitated the opening and operation of the Center. “None of this would be possible without Kevin and Marcia Gillmore and the entire Gillmore family,” she said.

Kevin Gillmore said he and his family had donated the facility.

Roberts said visits between parents and their children could last from two to four hours, as desired and scheduled. “We just provide the facility,” Roberts said. “They can use it at their discretion.”

According to information from the state Division of Children and Family Services website, there were 4,714 children in foster care statewide as of February, a two-year high.

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