Kids Bridge is a supervised family visitation center that offers on-site supervised visits, parent exchange services, and several programs and courses to help strengthen families. The purpose of Kids Bridge is to advocate for children who have been separated from family members and provide a safe place for meaningful visits for those families.
In 1997 the Seventh Judicial Circuit Judges, namely, Judge Mathis, asked the Junior Service League of St. Augustine if they would be interested in working with the county to find a way to create a visitation center in St. Johns County because no such center existed. The reasons for a family’s need for supervised visitation are many and varied. Supervised visitation is ordered because an Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence has been issued against one parent, because substance abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse or threat of parental kidnapping. All of St. Johns County families who had been ordered to have supervised visits were made to accommodate these visitations by going to a visitation center in either Duval or Volusia County, both of which were a hardship for the families in need of these services. As a result many families resorted to using local fast food establishments, parking lots or the public library for their visit or exchange which created the opportunity for further abuse. The judiciary and the county clearly decried the gap in service and the need was met. The Junior Service League committed to the project in 1997 and begin years of research. They visited the few visitation centers that were already established and from those visits determined that a home-like would be the most beneficial setting for the clients we would serve. In 2000, the Junior Service League purchased the property on San Marco Avenue and spent the next two years fundraising and renovating both the large house and the club house. In March of 2002, Kids Bridge, a neutral home-like family visitation center opened. From the onset, Kids Bridge had a waiting list and to date over 2,000 families have used our services.
Our mission is to provide a community-based setting where children and families can meet, spend time, share common experiences, and work together to strengthen their sense of self and family unity. Advocating on the behalf of children, we work to engage community resources in support of children at risk of abuse, neglect and abandonment.
Our goal is to provide an atmosphere of safety, stability and permanency for at-risk children. In this supportive setting, children in crisis can begin to heal their hearts, nurture their strengths, and reach their full potential as healthy members of our community.