North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center (the Guidance Center) is pleased to announce the reopening of the Children’s Center at Nassau County Family Court, which provides care and early learning to children while their parents or guardians are conducting court business such as divorce and custody cases.
The Children’s Center had closed during the pandemic, when all Family Court activities were moved to a virtual platform.
“The Children’s Center is a safe haven that allows children the opportunity to develop early learning skills through age-appropriate play and activities that are fun and exciting for toddlers and children up to age 12,” said Dr. Nellie Taylor-Walthrust, director of the Guidance Center’s Leeds Place, under which the Children’s Center operates. “Now that the court is on a hybrid schedule with families coming back in, it’s essential that children can return to the Children’s Center so they don’t have to witness potentially contentious interactions among their family members.”
“A lot of important things happen in this building, and at the Children’s Center, children will be well cared for,” said Ellen Greenberg, supervising hudge at Nassau County Family Court.
While participating in the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Greenberg told those gathered, “Don’t ever let anyone tell you this is just babysitting; it’s a true learning center, and families know they can leave their children here safely while they work on court matters.”
“The reopening is great news for the kids who come to Family Court with their parents or guardians,” said family law attorney John M. Zenir, one of the Children’s Center’s most dedicated supporters. “It means they can be safe, away from the stress and strain that’s going on between their parents. They can have a snack, read a book or play a game. In other words, just be a kid—what could be better!”
For Laurie Joseph-Yehuda, the Children’s Center is especially close to her heart, since it was founded by her father, the late Honorable Burton Joseph.
Joseph-Yehuda is a member of the Children’s Center advisory council, and her mother Rene painted the beautiful murals on the walls of the Children’s Center many years ago.
“The reopening of the Children’s Center is so important because it gives children a place to come to be enriched, to learn and to be cared for,” said Joseph-Yehuda.
Another advisory council member, Katherine Cho, a professor in the Criminal Justice department at Nassau Community College, brings her students to the Children’s Center.
“They love to get involved with the Center,” said Cho. “It’s a great way for them to learn about the workings of the Family Court.”
“It’s a privilege to be able to serve children and families to reduce caregiver stress and have opportunities to connect them with resources they may need outside of Family Court,” said Kathy Rivera, Guidance Center executive director/CEO. “We are committed to bringing our families comfort and guidance wherever needed.”
Photo: (Left to right): Dr. Nellie Taylor-Walthrust, John Aiken, Kathy Rivera, Ellen Greenberg and Rosemarie Klipper. Credit: Jenna Kern-Rugile