WILLIAMSPORT -- Families now have a safe location to have custody exchanges at the Lycoming County Custody Exchange Center. The YWCA Northcentral PA has partnered with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to provide this needed service to the community at the Sharwell Building, 200 East St., near Starbucks.
“The Lycoming County Custody Exchange Center adds a level of protection that hasn’t been there before,” said Amber Morningstar, YWCA Program Director.
The center is committed to providing a secure, comfortable and child-friendly place where children can continue a positive relationship with both of their parents through monitored custody exchanges. There are always multiple advocates present who are trained to ensure that each exchange happens smoothly.
Any individuals who have a court-ordered or notarized custody agreement may utilize this new service where they will receive the security and privacy that they need during an exchange, free of charge.
An essential and unique element about the center is that the parents never have contact. The parent dropping their children off will be on one side of the building, where an advocate will take the children through the building to the other parent.
Keeping the parents separate eliminates the possibility of there being arguments or physical altercations in front of the children
“Custody exchanges can be very stressful on the parents as well as the children,” Morningstar said. “Assuring that there is no contact between the parties diminishes tension, anxiety, and safety risk for all involved.”
In 2013, a woman’s life was taken when she went to her ex-boyfriend’s house to pick up their two children. He set fire to her car where they both perished.
One incident like that is too many.
The Lycoming County Custody Exchange Center is now available as a way to prevent horrible tragedies like that from happening again. Special thanks to Lycoming County Judges, first responders and the Lycoming County Joinder for their assistance in making this project happen.
To set up an orientation or ask questions about our service, please call 570-651-3223.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call our 24/7 confidential hotline at 1-800-326-8483.
The YWCA Northcentral PA, 815 W. Fourth St., is on a mission to eliminate racism and empower women in Lycoming County. Our Wise Options program focuses on helping survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and other violent crimes. Our Liberty House program creates a positive environment for women and women with children who are experiencing homelessness.