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City Council Member Adopts CPS Visiting Room

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Dallas City Council Member Cara Mendelsohn decorates a visitation room for Child Protective Services | Image by NBC DFW

Dallas City Council Member Cara Mendelsohn recently took responsibility for improving a visitation room for Child Protective Services.

Child Protective Services (CPS) developed visitation rooms to facilitate reconnection between parents and relocated children, allowing them to maintain or restore relationships.

Community Partners of Tarrant County said these visitation rooms need to be renovated periodically. Consequently, the agency developed an adoption program for these rooms, allowing individuals and groups to volunteer to paint, clean, re-stock, and refurnish the room.

Mendelsohn participated in the room adoption program on January 2. A visit and tour of the Department of Family and Protective Services visitation rooms informed the council member for District 12 of the need for improvements.

The Department of Family and Protective Services only requires that rooms be furnished with a table and chairs for monthly visits.

“They were very stark,” said Mendelsohn. “And when you know that families are in trauma and they’re trying to reconnect and build a relationship, it wasn’t really the right setting.”

Upon discovering the adoption program, Mendelsohn provided toys, educational items, and furnishings from her own office.

“Of course, they miss their parents,” Angela Rivers, a budget analyst for Child Protective Services (CPS), told NBC 5 DFW about the children who visit the room.

“So, when they come in, and they see an inviting space that’s colorful and full of books and toys, their eyes just light up,” she continued.

Mendelsohn tweeted her support for the program on January 3, noting that more groups are needed to adopt visitation rooms.

The Texas Institute for Child and Family Wellbeing (TXICFW) also adopted a CPS visitation room. The organization explained that the adoption fits its mission, for “visitation rooms are one of the key places where children and families can connect.”

TXICFW said it tended to the room by furnishing it, decorating walls, and supplying toys and books for infants to teens.

Rivers said her vision was for all the rooms to be adopted. With plenty of volunteers who have a heart for children in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, this goal is certainly achievable.

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