Supervised Visitation

Supervision and Monitoring Services are an opportunity for a non-custodial parent or family member to spend quality time with children when it has been determined that visits must be supervised.

 

Supervision is often court ordered when there is a significant safety concern involving alleged child abuse/neglect, domestic violence, parental substance abuse, unsafe parenting practices, threat of abduction, or exposure to derogatory or alienating behaviors. Supervision helps maintain the parent/child relationship while these concerns are addressed. The type and severity of the concern determines the level of supervision required: sight and sound, sight or sound, therapeutic, or intermittent.

Our Supervised Visitation and Monitoring Service benefits all parties: it is a great way to ease the custodial party’s concerns by ensuring the child’s safety; children do not have to worry about being in the middle of their parents’ conflict; and the non-custodial party has a professional supervisor there who can help safeguard against false allegations.

We do not make recommendations about custody or placement of children. Reports are based on facts, observations and direct statements which occur during the period of supervised visitation. For information on our supervision policies, (click here).

There are several types of Supervision Services available including:

Supervised Visitation:

Family Ties provides a trained professional to monitor the contact between a non-custodial parent or family member and a child. This is usually a non-directive role unless the parent violates the pre-determined boundaries. Communication between children and parents during visits may be facilitated if needed.

Monitored Skype / Webcam:

Long distance calls/visits can be monitored to ensure both children and parents are relaxed and enjoy their time together.

Monitored Exchange:

Family Ties provides a third party professional to monitor the transfer of a child from one parent to another immediately before and after an unsupervised visit. The purpose of a monitored exchange is to protect children from potential parental conflict. Monitored exchanges are also used if there is a no-contact order in place between parents. Children can be dropped off with a professional supervisor with staggered parental arrival times to ensure there is no contact between the parents.

Therapeutic Supervision:

Family Ties has a licensed mental health professional available to provide Therapeutic Supervised Visitation. This professional is trained to provide  parent/child therapy as well as supervised visitation. A written report can be prepared that demonstrates a parent’s commitment or readiness for treatment and may include a professional opinion about parent/child readiness to enter the next phase of treatment. This report will not include an opinion or recommendation about child custody/access determinations.

 Transitional Support Services:

Supervision is generally meant to be a temporary service. Often there is no transition plan in place for when supervision is lifted. In many cases, custodial parents are unsure how things will be without the supervisor as a buffer. The non-custodial parent may also have concerns about doing or saying something that may cause the supervision to be reinstated. Neither knows how to communicate with each other. Transitional Support Services address both parents concerns. A Parent Support Specialist meets with each parent separately to understand their worries and needs. Then a joint meeting is scheduled to set up and implement a structured communication system specifically for the family. Issues that are potential points of conflict will be discussed and addressed as well. Different levels of support and assistance will be offered and available to the family going forward.

Transitional Support Services are also helpful if exchanges are difficult because children are resistant to visiting a parent. Sometimes the emotions are so elevated that children refuse to get out of the car or are crying and exchanges are out of control. This may lead to parents arguing which leads to more emotional outbursts, and so on. There are some techniques that can be implemented to ease the transitions. Parent Support Specialists will meet with the parties to understand the concerns and see if a new strategy would be beneficial. Or if necessary, a referral will be made for counseling.

 

Supervision policy and procedures

Family Ties offers Supervision Services that are accessible, scrupulous, and promote the welfare of the family. This includes supervised visitation, monitored exchanges, monitored Skype and transition assistance. It often includes facilitating and supporting the parent/child interaction during contact if needed. Additionally, we believe that all parties should be treated with dignity and respect and without judgment.

We operate under the guiding principles that:

  • Every child deserves to have a healthy, on-going relationship with both parents if that can be done safely;
  • Supervision services should reasonably ensure that alleged improprieties do not occur during visits;
  • All concerns raised by custodial parent should be acknowledged, investigated, and resolved for reassurance about child’s safety; and
  • Visit facts, statements, and observations should be documented and provided to the professionals who have decision-making authority.

At Family Ties, our goal is to provide reputable, professional supervised visitation services to families in our community that are consistent and time sensitive, held in relaxed and comfortable settings, with the least amount of interference. We do our best to make this unnatural situation feel more natural for all involved. In an effor t to ensure the best outcome of supervised visits and the well-being of children, there are certain basic guidelines that must be agreed upon. Our guidelines are based on the national standards for best practice. They are as follows:

Initiation of Services:

The Program Director will meet with and/or discuss the supervision process with both the custodial and visiting party. Relevant information is gathered by Family Ties and questions by parents are answered during this intake process.

Relevant Information includes:

  • Family histories
  • Each parent’s needs as it pertains to supervision services;
  • Parental concerns that need to be understood and/or addressed;
  • Information on the children and their anticipated reaction to visitation;
  • Nap and feeding schedules for small children; children’s diet restrictions, physical limitations, or psychological issues;
  • Children’s medical conditions such as allergies, or special needs, learning disabilities, etc.;
  • Emergency contact numbers;
  • Copies of court orders;
  • Copies of orders of protection or restraining orders;
  • Copy of Visiting Party’s Driver’s License;
  • Scheduling information such as preferred days and times for visits and how much notice is required to schedule a visit.

General Standards of Practice for Supervision:

  • Court orders will be followed; as well as, guidelines set by Family Ties.
  • ​With “sight and sound” supervision, there will be no whispering. All conversations must be audible to Supervisor.
  • Profanity, abusive language, physical aggression, acts of intimidation, or corporal punishment is not allowed.
  • Conversation must be appropriate: no discussion about the court case or legal process; no promises about the future; no blaming others for timeshare restrictions; no disparaging remarks about the other parent; no discussion of personal problems
  • Visiting parent will give notice regarding preferred visit locations.
  • Parents should refrain from crying in front of the children.
  • There should be no physical contact if the child does not want it.
  • Prior notice of any other parties who will be attending visit is required.
  • Children should not be used as messengers between parents.
  • Parents agree not to have the other parent served legal papers during visit with child.

Visit Procedures:

  • Visits should be scheduled a week in advance if possible.
  • 24-hour cancellation notice.
  • ​If no cancellation notice is submitted or reasonable explanation given, a $50.00 cancellation fee will be charged to the party who cancelled. Party canceling visit may be responsible for reimbursing the Supervisor’s fees for the scheduled visit time as well.
  • Visits in private homes will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Unless specifically ordered by the court.
  • Visits can be held in parks, playgrounds, restaurants, malls, ballgames, events, etc.
  • Locations must allow Supervisor to be able to hear and see interactions between children and visiting party.
  • Staggered drop-off and pick-up times will be arranged to prevent contact between parents when possible.
  • Visiting party should give Supervisor his/her car keys when they arrive at a location if they are driving. ​
  • Fees are payable at the beginning of the visit and should not be done in front of the children if possible. Supervisor is not responsible for fees to enter parks or events; meals; or activity fees. This is the responsibility of the visiting party.
  • Visiting party is also responsible for Supervisor’s mileage.
  • Custodial Party should supply clothing, bottles, formula, or whatever else if required for good care of the child during the visit.
  • If medication is sent by custodial party, written consent must be sent as well. This must be prearranged. ​Visits may be refused, canceled, or terminated when the terms of supervision guidelines are violated or if Supervisor determines that it is not in the best interest of the child and/or others involved with visitation services.

Visit Supervisor Qualifications

Visit Supervisors that work with Family Ties are compassionate and respectful, thorough and conscientious, and devoutly child-focused. These professionals are dedicated to ensuring the supervision process is a positive experience and strive to make this as normal a process as possible. At the same time, Visit Supervisors have the background and training to effectively monitor questionable situations, keeping the child’s safety the paramount concern. All of our Visit Supervisors are unbiased professionals whose goal is to help your family through a very difficult time. All Visit Supervisors are Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and must meet the following qualifications.

Supervisor Qualifications:

  • Be 21 years old or older;
  • Have no conviction for driving under the influence (DUI/DWI) within the last 5 years;
  • Have no conviction for child molestation, child abuse, or other crimes against a person;
  • ​Have not been on probation or parole for the last 10 years;
  • Have proof of automobile insurance if transporting a child;
  • Have no civil, criminal, or juvenile restraining orders within the last 10 years;
  • Have no current or past court order in which the provider is the person being supervised;
  • Must not be financially dependent on person being supervised;
  • Agree to adhere and enforce the court order regarding supervised visitation;
  • Have no conflict of interest (as defined below);
  • Commit to stay within the constraints of Supervisor’s Role;
  • Demonstrated proficiency in competency based training;
  • Be able to speak the language of the person being supervised and of the child.

Visit Supervisor Qualifications Preferred but Not Required:

  • Experience in the field of family court and/or child abuse;
  • College degree in social work or related field or equal work experience in relate field;
  • The level of additional training needed depends on education and experience.

Conflict of Interest:

  • All Visit Supervisors should maintain neutrality by refusing to discuss the merits of the case or agree with or support one party over another. Any discussion between Supervisor and the parties should be for the purposes of arranging visitation and providing for the safety of the children. In order to avoid a conflict of interest, the Supervisor should not:
    • Be financially dependent on the person being supervised;
    • Be an employee of the person being supervised; or
    • Be in an intimate relationship with the person being supervised.

Visit Supervisor Experience/Training Requirements:

  • The role of the professional supervisor; incliuding legal responsibilities and obligations;
  • Child abuse reporting laws;
  • Visit Documentation Protocols;
  • Monitoring and terminations of visitation procedures;
  • Developmental needs of children;
  • Issues related to substance abuse; child neglect; child physical and sexual abuse; domestic violence; mental illness;
  • Predator behavior;
  • Conflicts of interest; Confidentiality and Neutrality;
  • Cultural sensitivity;
  • Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse Laws.