Fairbanks Children's Museum is a small nonprofit organization that serves 40,000+ people per year. It is our mission to inspire and connect families through discovery and the power of play. That sets us apart from other children's museums that have mission statements that are child-driven. We are family-driven. We strive to extend our reach to everyone in Fairbanks. Recently we began working with the Fairbanks Corrections Center, improving their contact visitation space, because every family deserves to have meaningful connection. We offer significantly reduced admission to anyone with an EBT card or foster parent card, and regularly offer reduced or free admission for special events to extend our reach to special sub-groups like military families, and often to the entire community at large. In December, we started a new program called Visit and Play where the museum is open extended hours twice a month, exclusively for children in the foster care system to have visits with the biological parents, at all levels of supervision. We have some parents who have just earned unsupervised visits but need a place outside of their home, we have supervisors from state and nonprofit organizations, and we have foster parents that serve as supervisors. We offer the parents a safe, non-judgmental place where they can connect with their children in a way that traditional supervised visitation scenarios do not allow, where, maybe, for an hour, they can forget about all of the other factors impacting their contact with their child. Parents struggling to get custody of their children face plenty of uphill battles, and one of them simply does not need to be facing the judgment of those who have not a clue what has brought them to this point.
Funded by Alaska (February 2019)