Rendering of a new outdoor visitation center that is being built by Aviva Children's Services. The outdoor center will be a place with children in state custody and their parents can hold their supervised visits. The outdoor play center will provide a relaxed atmosphere for these families as they try to be reunited. It will open in the fall and cost Aviva about $425,000. 

Aviva Children's Services

Aviva Children’s Services broke ground Wednesday on a $425,000 center where children in protective custody can meet with their parents in supervised visits.

The nonprofit agency, contracted by the state’s Department of Child Safety, formerly Child Protective Services, to provide court-ordered services for these families expects the outdoor center to be completed in the fall.

Angel Charity is providing a $250,000 grant for construction, and the rest of the funding is coming from Aviva, said Bob Heslinga, Aviva’s executive director.

The agency, 153 S. Plumer Ave., has provided support services and resources for abused or neglected children since 1978.

The center will be built on an 11,000-square-foot lot. “It will be a huge playground with shade canopies and misters,” said Heslinga.

The agency also has an indoor center that accommodates families in private rooms. There are four common areas, a game room, a toddler play area and a kitchen for family meals.

“Families in the process of healing and reconciling can have a healthy place to meet and have a positive experience,” Heslinga said.

The agency supervises up to about 180 visits a week, and with the new outdoor center it expects to go from about 60 up to 90 visits at the facility each week.