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Visitation rooms at DCF offices being transformed

Two foster moms are on a mission to build family bonds.

NORWICH, Conn. — Non-profit organization Fostering Family Hope has been transforming visitation rooms for the state Department of Children and Families (DCF) offices across Connecticut.

Megan Pearson and Erin Johnston are the co-executive directors of Fostering Family Hope and both foster mothers who have been busy remaking and remodeling the visitation rooms at DCF offices. The latest offices to get a makeover were five different rooms at Norwich DCF headquarters, which are now bright and cheery thanks to months of work.

Johnston has been a foster mom for six years.

“What we know about foster care is that when kids can have a visit with their families in a homelike environment, their success rate for re-unifications is so much greater and so that’s what we want to do here,” Johnston said.

RELATED: New mural with positive paternal message crafted at Hartford DCF office

Splashed with color and decked out with furniture, toys, and gear, the new rooms each have a different theme but the same objective: to bring families back together.

“It makes visits less stressful for kids and for parents when they have things for the kids to do," Pearson said. "They can get on the floor and color or have a meal at the table.”

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DCF Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes said the new rooms offer something bright.

“We are just so appreciative of the effort that goes on here and the art has just come alive,” Dorantes said.

She added that she hopes Fostering Family Hope and DCF can collaborate on transforming all 14 DCF visitation rooms across the state. Four offices have been renovated so far.

RELATED: 2 new murals brought to heart of Norwich

“When visits go well, everyone does well,” Pearson said.

The groups "CT Murals" and "The Norwich Collective" lent their artistic talents to make the new visitation rooms become a reality. To learn more about Fostering Family Hope, click here.

Jimmy Altman is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at jaltman@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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