Safe Exchange enrollment begins
BRECKENRIDGE – Ever notice how quickly the Golden Rule can go out the window when it comes to divorced or separated parents and how they behave around their children? Unfortunately, nobody knows this better than the kids, who get to hear about child support, the minutiae of an impending divorce or the new girlfriend or boyfriend when transferring from one parent to another.The House with the Red Door, a safe haven for young adults based in Breckenridge, will begin enrolling families on Monday for the new Safe Exchange program, which provides a child-centered, neutral space for transferring kids from one parent to the other. The whole idea is to make it easier – and in some cases, safer – to be the child of parents who no longer live together. Sometimes it’s a matter of mom and dad just not getting along; other times there’s too much pain for one or both partners to see each other. The free program will serve parents who have “no-contact” orders from the courts, as well as parents who acknowledge on their own that they need some outside support. Program director Cindi Harris-Krane emphasizes this is not a supervised visitation program, but instead a calm place where kids don’t have to absorb grown-ups’ problems.”This is for the kids,” Harris-Krane said. “They see and hear everything that goes on between their parents, and Safe Exchange helps keep them out of the middle.”The operation is fairly simple: One parent drops off the child at The House with the Red Door and leaves. The other parent arrives 15 minutes later, avoiding the confrontations that can plague separated or divorced partners, and more importantly, sparing the child from their negative energy. The House with the Red Door is located in the Summit Ridge Center on Highway 9 on the north end of Breckenridge, across the highway from the rec center.Safe Exchange comes with a well-defined set of rules that participants must agree to, and they must enroll in the program (through an appointment) and establish drop-off and pick-up times before using the service. One of the main rules is that the parent who drops off the child cannot be on the premises when the other parent arrives. The program is staffed by Harris-Krane and trained volunteers, with hours to reflect the times when most exchanges take place. For more information on Safe Exchange, to make an appointment to enroll or to learn about volunteer opportunities, call Harris-Krane at (970) 470-3377.
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