YWCA opens the Lycoming County Custody Exchange Center

YWCA opens the Lycoming County Custody Exchange Center

There has been a void in our community. For years, families who need a safe space for custody exchanges would meet in public places or go to the other parent’s house which could potentially create a stressful situation for everyone.

The YWCA Northcentral PA, alongside the Pennsylvania filling that void to ensure safety for parents and children

Our mission through this new service is to maintain a secure, comfortable and child-friendly place where children can continue a positive relationship with both of their parents through monitored custody exchanges.

The center is for anybody with a Protection from Abuse Order or court-ordered or notarized custody agreement.

One of the unique aspects about this program is that the parents never have to come in contact with one another.

Our goal here is to simply provide a safe space for families. We do that by remaining neutral, don’t judge or place blame. It is good for children to have a place to go that is safe and don’t have to witness fighting or tension.

So how does this process work?

For example, Don and Phil have two children but due to their contentious divorce, they need a neutral location to have a custody exchange. Their lawyer suggested they use the Lycoming County Custody Exchange Center.

After calling the center at 570-651-3223, each parent has their own separate orientation with a Wise Options advocate to sign paperwork and sort out a schedule during operating hours. The center is open on 5 to 7 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays; 4 to 6 p.m. Fridays; and 2 to 5 p.m. Sundays, as well as certain holidays.

Once the custody exchange schedule is set, each parent will arrive at different times on opposite sides of the Sharwell Building.

If Don is dropping off the children, he parks on one side of the building where an advocate will meet him to walk the kids through the building to meet Phil. Don must wait an additional 10 minutes to leave. The advocate transfers the children to Phil.

To learn more about the Lycoming County Custody Exchange Center, please visit www.ywcawilliamsport.org.

— Bloom is the communications and development manager at the YWCA, 815 W. Fourth St. If you are experiencing domestic abuse or sexual assault, Wise Options can help 24/7 with a confidential hotline at 800-326-8483.

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