West Hartford non-profit opens new parenting center


WEST HARTFORD — With the renovation of a former law firm, the Bridge Family Center has expanded the way it works with families.

Maiya Pierre, director of girls’ services for the nonprofit, oversees their new Mosaic Parent Center at 664 Farmington Ave. in Hartford.

The center, she said, is an addition that changes the way the West Hartford-based nonprofit works with families after a child is removed from their home.

Their goal, says Pierre, is reunification.

So instead of parents visiting their children in an office of the Ministry of Children and Families, they instead come to the environment created by the Bridge Family Center. Their goal, Pierre said, was to create a warm atmosphere in which families could come together.

“Families and kids love it, Pierre said. “They say it’s very warm and welcoming. We try to make it a family center.

The center has eight visitation rooms, which Pierre said were all designed to feel comfortable and not sterile. They are all filled with a variety of toys for children to choose from. There are also more informal hangout areas, including a lounge and an upstairs area that includes video game consoles that might appeal more to older kids.

Families at the center are referred to them by the Department of Children and Families and are usually enrolled in a six-month program, although some situations require longer stays.

When the center opened its doors in January, the association immediately welcomed 32 families into its program. At the beginning of June, the association had already recorded 560 family visits. With the center open 365 days a year, they expect 6,600 visits per year.

And these visits, Pierre said, are aimed at helping parents reacclimate with their children with the help of their social workers.

“We train during the visit, said Pierre. “We are not taking over. We train from the sides.

And because of that, she says, parents find out exactly how they are doing.

“Every note that we give to the Ministry of Children and Families, we also give to the families,” Pierre said. “It’s very transparent. They can see the difference with their children.

Pierre said she credits the team working around her for the early successes they saw.

“If I didn’t have my team, we wouldn’t see the success of families,” Pierre said.


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