Child visitation and monitoring services: INTERVIEW with Cherishing My Moments

A Q&A with Ms. Vonda Dennis on best practices in visitation monitoring for people in early recovery. Plus, tips on the benefits of using sober coaches, escorts, and companions.

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Today, we speak with Ms. Vonda Dennis of Cherishing My Moments, a service that provides professional monitoring services for child visitation.  We discuss protocol and how to best represent yourself during such visits, as well as the challenges presented during child visitation.

Ms. Dennis, welcome to Addiction Blog.

ADDICTION BLOG:  Cherishing My Moments is a professional child visitation monitoring service. Can you tell us a little about visitation monitoring and its importance for people diagnosed with addiction?

CHERISHING MY MOMENTS: Visitation monitoring is something that was implemented by the family courts, to help insure the safety of child during visits with their Non-Custodial Parents. It is important for those dealing with addiction, as it does help to document the goings on of the visit to the courts.

ADDICTION BLOG: What inspired you to start the company and offer these kinds of services?

CHERISHING MY MOMENTS: I was inspired to start this service, due to situations I became involved with family and friends. I believe there are good people out there who need help finding their way. What most are looking for is accountability. We provide that!

ADDICTION BLOG:  Have you had any outstanding cases that have warmed your heart?  Can you tell us a little bit about the success stories of people who have used your services?

CHERISHING MY MOMENTS: I do have a case that always comes to mind when I am asked that. The case was regarding a family who had been ordered by the court to get monitored visits as well as needing sober guidance. The mom had co-occurring issues, addiction issues, mental illness, and was disabled.

We worked with her to help understand how to move and operate in a sober lifestyle/environment. She was also able to gain custody of her daughter after the courts first told me that they were going for No Reunification. After 4 months, the Judge praised her for all of her efforts and hard work, in getting her life back on track. Even the social worker gave her praise for turning her life around.

ADDICTION BLOG: What are the main challenges in supervising a visit between children and people diagnosed with addiction or those recently imprisoned as drug offenders? How can parents be better prepared for a good visit?

CHERISHING MY MOMENTS: The biggest challenge in monitoring people with addictions is always SAFETY! We never know if the parent will show up intoxicated to the visit. The best way to prepare for a good visit, is to read over the rules of the monitored visit before the visit. It is also to please follow the rules of that visit to the letter. The monitor has a right to stop any visit if they consider it unsafe!

ADDICTION BLOG:  What are some protocols and guidelines that people in early addiction recovery should follow when seeking custody of their children?

CHERISHING MY MOMENTS:  The protocol that I most emphasize is to please follow the rules of court. Also to seek treatment for their addiction, and have documentation for that treatment to show the Judge that you are serious about your recovery.

ADDICTION BLOG: You also offer support services for those who are in recovery. It’s about helping people get their lives back. Can you tell more about your Sober Coaching Program to our readers?

CHERISHING MY MOMENTS: We provide Sober Services to those living recovery. We provide Sober Escorts, Sober Coaches & Sober Companions. These individuals will help you stay on track on your road to recovery.

We can help you learn how to re-enter the real world, by helping you learn to manage everyday life and it`s challenges. We can work with you on a daily basis to teach you to shop and how to have fun without drugs or alcohol. Help you find the much needed support that you will need in the Recovery Community.

ADDICTION BLOG: What are the differences between a sober coach, companion, and escort?

CHERISHING MY MOMENTS: A Sober Coach is someone who can work with you daily for several hours or more, or who can just accompany you to certain events where you have gotten in trouble in the pass, but now want to be able to move through those environment with a sober mind set.

A Sober Companion is someone who does the same things that a Sober Coach does, except they are live-in 24/7 and help you move through every area of your life, to help you remain sober.

A Sober Escort basically gets you from point A to point B. They may help you get from rehab to home or court and back. They may also may provide transport from one state to another to get you to a rehab treatment center (this will ensure that you arrive).

ADDICTION BLOG: How do you think your services help prevent relapse in sober patients? What are the challenges you’re facing on a daily basis?

CHERISHING MY MOMENTS: First of all, it is easy to stay sober while you are in a treatment facility. They have removed all the temptations. We help you learn to apply those same lessons in real time.

When you come home, the same stressor that caused you to look for negative outlets will still be in place. We teach people in recovery how to move in their environment. The challenge we face daily is that they could relapse at anytime. However, with our guidance and support, when they hit a wall, we are there to talk and walk them of the ledge with new solutions to the old problems they will face. We create an action plan with them not for them. That will help them find and manage their way through this journey.

ADDICTION BLOG: How can one become a sober coach? What skills and trainings are required?

CHERISHING MY MOMENTS: It depends on where you start, there is no regulation on the field at this time.

However, even if you are someone who has many years of recovery, I still feel as though you should always have some form of training from someone who is out there and who understand the ends-and-outs of this field not just from a sober stand point, but also from a business stand point. Cherishing My Moments offers a Sober Coach training program that last 2 days and is 16 hours long.

ADDICTION BLOG: Who can attend your trainings and use your services? Are there any limitations?

CHERISHING MY MOMENTS: If you are interested in training as a Professional Child Visitation Monitor there are a few restrictions that have been set in place by the family courts, which are listed on our website.

If someone is interested in attending our Sober Coach training we have set in place some restrictions as well. One of the restrictions if they are coming from life experience because they were once addicted, which is fine. They would have to be sober for no less than 7 years. They would need to have a genuine desire to help those in need. CPR/FA Certified, Attend our training program. Have Hep series of shots, TB Shots, and be drug tested before being considered for our training program, just to name a few.

Anyone can use our Professional Monitor Services as long as they have a Court Order signed by the Judge mandating that they must have a Professional Monitor On with them during visitations. If they want to use our Sober Services, they have to have been in rehab for no less than 28 days, with proof. Have a face-to-face consultation with one of our “Sober Guru`s”, Drug Testing, and commit to no less than 14 days for services if you are hiring a Sober Coach or Sober Companion. This is a private pay, fee based service.

ADDICTION BLOG: Is there anything else you would like to add?

CHERISHING MY MOMENTS: Cherishing My Moments offers a myriad of services for those dealing with addiction recovery. We offer a Sober Concierge service for all who are interested and meet our requirements. Our motto is “We Bring Calm To Your Chaos”.

About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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