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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Break the Cycle

While practicing family law in Evansville, Kathryn Kornblum-Zelle saw a generational cycle occurring in the court system.

“Teachers see parents and later see their children,” says Kornblum-Zelle, an Evansville native who helped found the Parenting Time Center. “It’s not good when you see it in the court system. I did not see where the system was helping.”

After researching the benefits of supervised visits and spending a couple years trying to establish the practice in Evansville, she decided to address the need herself and went on to pursue her master’s degree in social work at the University of Southern Indiana. With the help of Kay Pechin, an Evansville native and family lawyer, who now lives in Canyon, Texas, the two established the Parenting Time Center in 2009 to help meet the community’s demand.

The Parenting Time Center is a nonprofit organization providing a safe location for supervised visitation and exchanges between children and their parents positioned at 101 N.W. 10th St. in offices shared with the practice of Vanstone & Kornblum law offices, where Kornblum-Zelle serves as a partner.

Social workers supervise all visits with the non-custodial parent and child. Parents never encounter one another.

“I think we are at a critical mass right now,” says Kornblum-Zelle, who serves as executive director. “We have a lot of kids who have five fathers or six mothers and they form a family. When people aren’t bonded to people, you get the bullying, you get the domestic violence, you get the drinking and meth labs. All of those are fallouts for people self-medicating for a hole in their heart.”

The center, which also offers cooperative parenting and fatherhood classes, serves Posey, Gibson, Warrick, Spencer, Pike, Knox, Daviess, and Perry counties in Indiana, and clients in Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Missouri as needed. Because the demand is so great, Kornblum-Zelle says the center needs to expand and also add a teenager friendly room. Currently, the facility has rooms geared toward infants, toddlers, and young children.

“I’m not saying I can save every child, but if we don’t try, we aren’t going to make a difference,” says Kornblum-Zelle. “Kids are resilient, but they have to have at least one adult who can say, ‘You are worthy. You are a good person.’ When you talk to adults, who have gone through the system and someone has come along and believed in them, that’s when they’ve turned their lives around.”

For more information about the Parenting Time Center, call 812-759-1543 or visit parentingtimecenter.org.

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