Bucks County Children & Youth Social Services Agency today celebrated the opening of its first “visit house” in Middletown Township.
Located on Middletown Boulevard near the Oxford Valley Mall, the facility provides a long-needed space in Lower Bucks where children in foster care can visit with their parents, and where families the agency serves can meet with social workers in a convenient location.
“We always want to support and assist our families in their homes, but unfortunately that’s just not always possible,” said Bucks C&Y Director Marjorie McKeone. “Making the trip to our offices in Doylestown can be a stumbling block for our families in Lower Bucks, so we’ve talked about the idea of this ‘visit house’ for quite some time.”
“It took years of planning, but we’re thrilled to finally make this option available,” she said.
Though county commissioner and officials cut the ribbon on the $330,000 facility Thursday, the visit house has been in use for a few months, serving already as a space for meetings with families with a rotating cast of C&Y employees staffing the building during the week.
PHOTO: Bucks County Children & Youth Social Services Director Marjorie McKeone cuts a ribbon Thursday during a grand opening ceremony at the new C&Y family visit house in Middletown Township. Looking on, from left, are county Human Services Director Rachael Neff, Commissioner Bob Harvie, Commissioner Gene DiGirolamo, C&Y Advisory Board President Jim Beerer and Commissioner Diane Ellis-Marseglia.
Federal funds allocated through the Family First Act of 2018 covered the purchasing cost of the visit house.
The county also plans to staff the facility with a representative from the Human Services Hub. With its main office in Doylestown, the Hub serves as a centralized resource for connecting residents with any of a long list of social services providers, including Children & Youth.
“Whether we’re talking about the Hub, our police co-responders program or our Children & Youth visit house, the Bucks County Human Services Division has been making huge strides in getting help and support to the most vulnerable people in our community,” said Commissioners Chair Diane Ellis-Marseglia. “The commissioners are incredibly proud to support the critical work our Human Services staff is doing every day.”
Children & Youth serves thousands of children and family in Bucks County. In November alone, C&Y worked with some 3,800 children, representing 2,190 families.
In addition to its work with foster children and families, C&Y has, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, helped to distribute $30,000 in grocery store gift cards from the United Way to residents in need. The agency also assists in funding community organizations such as the YWCA, Family Services and the Network of Victim Assistance.
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