Business: Chance for a Real Change

Location: 1040 Neumark Ave., Pleasantville

Owner: Patricia Miles-Jackson, of Ocean City

Employees: 5

Phone: 609-241-1581

Chance for a Real Change offers creative visitation services for sibling groups and their parents, absentee parents, and parents involved in high-conflict divorces.

We offer a new direction in maintaining family connections. We provide contact for sibling groups separated due to divorce, child custody and adoption, and provide services to improve communications skills and reduce conflict between parents.

Many sibling groups are in foster care placements and it’s not always court-ordered for them to see each other. We know from research and from working for children protection agencies the benefit of maintaining connections.

We provide at least two activities a month for families or in group settings, promoting opportunities for exciting new memories, activities that are educational, cultural, family events. To do this, we work closely with foster care and placement workers.

We’re hopeful that by providing this contact, it will decrease negative behavior in the foster home and in school, and reduce worries about whether the sibling is OK.

If reunification is going to take place within three months, we help parents ensure they have the skills they’ll need with classes, and they can demonstrate their skills in our supervised visits.

The agencies are short on staff and seldom can provide such opportunities. We’re able to bring everyone together, even siblings placed in different cities.

Our psychologist provides a needs assessment of what issues to address, such as emotional concerns, if a reunification is even possible.

Clients include the courts, local child protective agencies, parents themselves, or schools referring a family.

Entry: I have a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in human services. I’ve worked in substance abuse, mental health and as director of social services at a nursing home. I’ve worked 14 years in child protective services.

The future: We’re hopeful that we’ll get a contract or grant with an agency in the near future. We’re an LLC now but changing to a nonprofit is probably the way to go.

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