Supervised Visitation

Providing opportunities for families to have a safe and conflict-free interaction. FSI prides itself on integrity, ethical behavior, respect, and excellent service.

What is supervised visitation?

Supervised visitation requires that a third party be present during a parent’s time with his or her children. The idea is to serve as a safe contact and as an independent third party witness to facilitate appropriate interaction during the visitation and/or exchanges of the visiting parent and the child. The monitor observes how the children and parents interact, and insures that the interactions are safe, appropriate, and tries to foster a natural relationship between the parents and their children. In some situations, the presence of a third party is required only at the time the child is transferred from one parent to another. This is referred to as Supervised Transfer or Supervised Drop Off and Pick Up. In other situations, telephone monitoring may be requested. At that time, a monitor will supervise the telephonic visitation (conversation) between the visiting parent and the child. It is our hope that no one will look upon supervised visitation or exchanges as a negative or denouncing service. It is a tool that can assist families through difficult and or transitional times.

How is supervision set up?

A judge may order supervised visitation when unsupervised contact may endanger the mental or physical well-being of the child/children. The judge may also require supervision if the visiting parent has had little or no contact with the child/children. Parents may agree that supervision would be appropriate for the sake of the child/children. Parents make arrangements with FSI in strict accordance with the court order. FSI also provides guidelines in conjunction with any and all court orders. The length of the visitation shall be determined by the courts, and/or the parents, prior to the scheduled visitation. If any allegation of abuse or neglect to the children by the visiting parent has been established, a formal evaluation by a mental health professional should be conducted prior to the visitation. The evaluation should be conducted by a mental health professional with specific domestic violence training in conducting such evaluations. FSI provides an informational worksheet and the guidelines that we expect to be strictly followed by all participants. These documents must be completed prior to any visitation. All court documents that are relevant to the visitation or exchange must be tendered to FSI prior to any services. Any pertinent information in regards to any participant involved in the services provided by FSI must be forthcoming. Misrepresentation or dishonesty will not be tolerated by FSI. If any suggestions or genuine concerns about the child’s emotional or physical safety exist with a parent or family member, the visitation will cease. We believe that unless special circumstances exist, children generally fair best when they have the emotional support and ongoing involvement of both parents. Ongoing parental involvement fosters positive parent-child relationships and healthy emotional and social development. It benefits parents in that it is more likely that the parents will have positive relationships with their children when the children become adults.

Resident Parents

You do not have to communicate or have contact with a person with whom you are in conflict with or be possibly frightened by. The arrangements can be made by a neutral party (FSI) and there does not have to be contact before, during or after the visits. You can relax and feel comfortable allowing your child/children to have contact with the other parent and can get some valuable time to yourself.

Visiting Parents

You can be sure that your contact with your child/children will not be interrupted regardless of any personal or interpersonal problems that you may be having. If allegations have been made against you, (which often is the case when supervision is ordered), you can visit without fear of any new accusations because there is someone present who can verify what happens during your time together. When using FSI, you can also be assured that the monitor is objective and neutral to your situation.

Most likely there is nothing to prohibit you from using a “non-professional” relative, friend, or acquaintance. Many court orders may allow that as an option provided that both parents can agree on whom to use. That often may not work for the following reasons:

First and foremost is the difficulty in finding someone with whom you both agree to use. If you are having sufficient conflict that supervision was deemed necessary, chances are slight you will be able to find an individual that both parents will trust and feel comfortable with.

Secondly, it puts a strain on friendships. Many well-meaning friends and relatives will agree to provide the service but may quickly tire of the regular commitment and /or being in the middle of your conflicts. It is difficult for friends and relatives to restrain from taking sides. Once impartiality has been compromised, the credibility of the monitor will come into question, and much of the feeling of security and safety will be lost. And finally, it may actually detract from the quality that the parent and child/children have together.

Assumptions

The assumptions of Family Solutions Inc. are as follows:

  • The child/children will benefit from ongoing and active contact with both parents.
  • One parent has sole or primary physical custody of the child/children.
  • One parent has primary responsibility for the day-to-day care of the child/children.
  • Both parents are fit to parent the child/children.
  • Both parents are willing and able to parent the child/children.
  • Child abuse, domestic violence, and chemical dependency issues do not exist. Parents who have valid concerns for the safety of their child/children should seek help from: an attorney, mediator, court services, child psychologist, Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), local police authorities, and/or the local county social service agency.

Parents must not place children in the middle of adult issues. Parents should never use children as messengers. Parents must not put down the other parent. Parents must refrain from venting their anger in front of their children. Other parents may not say things to try to make themselves look good and the other parent look bad. Children identify with both parents. If one parent puts down the other parent, often times, in the eyes of the child, it is as if the parent is also putting down the child. Any time children are asked to divide their loyalty, the children often feel guilty or as if they are being asked to stop loving one parent.

The child’s developmental needs is only one factor that parents should consider when deciding which visitation arrangement is best for their children. Other factors parents need to consider when establishing a visitation schedule include:

  • Any special needs that the child or parent may have.
  • The routines and schedules of the child and parents.
  • Any mental health issues of the child or parents.
  • The parents past history of the care giving for the child.
  • The relationship between the child and the parent.
  • The relationship of the child with any step-family members.
  • The distance between the parents’ home.
  • The participation of siblings in the visitation.
  • The length of time that has passed since the separation/divorce.
  • The ability of the parents to cooperate with each other.
  • The cultural and religious differences between the child and parents.

Children often fare best when they have the emotional support, financial support and ongoing involvement of both parents. The child’s needs are the most important factors for parents to consider when establishing a visitation schedule. These needs change as the child grows older and moves from one development stage to the next. It is important for parents to remember that formation of a positive parent- child relationship is a life-long process and that the key to a successful relationship is the quality of time, rather than quantity of time spent together.

Visitation Procedures

  1. Family Solutions Inc. is providing an observational service and does not provide therapeutic counseling during the visitation. The monitor will be present at all times during visitation. The monitor will generate a written timeline report of all relevant observations made for each visit.
  2. All contact between the child/children and the visiting parent shall take place at all times within the monitor’s plain view.
  3. Visitation will be cancelled if a parent is suspected of being under the influence of alcohol, drugs or exhibiting irrational behavior.
  4. Parents and the child/children must speak English during the visitation, unless otherwise specified, and must speak loud enough for the monitor to hear at all times, when practical.
  5. Visits are only for the party or parties named in the court order. Family members or friends authorized by the court to participate in visitations must comply with the guidelines set forth.
  6. The resident parent and visiting parent will adhere to the monitor’s guidance at the exchange and during the scheduled visitation. Non-compliance with guidelines or challenging the authority of the monitor may lead to the termination of services. This is at the discretion of the monitor.
  7. The resident parent shall bring the child/children to the visit five minutes before the scheduled visit. The visiting parent shall arrive promptly at the scheduled time.
  8. The resident parent shall arrive promptly at the end of each scheduled visit to pick up the child/children. The visiting parent shall wait with the monitor during pick up and departure.
  9. Cancellation of visitation requires a 24 hour advanced notification. If the visitation is cancelled with less than a 24 hour notice, the monitor will be paid as if visitation had occurred.
  10. Failure of either parent to arrive within 15 minutes of the designated time and location without notification by phone will result in the cancellation of the visit. The monitor shall be paid as if the visit had occurred.
  11. A $50.00 initial consultation / registration fee for services will be required.
  12. A $50.00 fee will be charged for NSF checks that are returned to Family Solutions Inc.
  13. Fees for services shall be paid in full prior to the start of each visit.
  14. Hourly charges for monitored visitations are $75.00 for a single monitor / $120.00 for two monitors. No special fees will apply for weekends or holidays. If two or more children are involved in the visit, we may require that two monitors be assigned for the first visit. The visit will be assessed at which time FSI will determine if two monitors are appropriate for future visits. This is assessed case by case. It is up to the discretion of the agents of Family Solutions Inc. to increase or decrease the number of monitor(s) at any time.
  15. If any director, monitor, agent, or employee is subpoenaed to court to testify a $500.00 retainer must be paid 72 hours in advance of the court time and a fee of $60.00 per hour, per monitor, will be billed against that retainer. All hourly rates and expenses will be deducted from the retainer. The retainer will cover all travel time, court time, depositions, waiting time, case preparation and parking fees. The retainer will be the responsibility of the party issuing the subpoena.
  16. Any and all communications (including telephonic visitations) to parents, representatives, attorneys, courts, and therapists (other than one phone call to confirm visitation) will be billed at the rate of $60.00 per hour. The charges will reflect the quarter hour.
  17. Reports will only be made available to any attorneys currently representing the parties involved in the case, including GAL’s, upon written request. The first four reports are free of charge. Each subsequent report will be billed at an administrative process and handling rate of $60.00 per hour. The charges will reflect the quarter hour. Please allow 5 business days to execute any report request.
  18. Family Solutions Inc. reserves the right to have the final authority in determining the activities during the visits. If the parent has a specific activity planned during the visit, the parent must notify Family Solutions Inc. 24 hours in advance. Family Solutions Inc. reserves the right to add staff depending on the requested planned activities.

Rules of Conduct

The following is prohibited during visitation:

  1. Inappropriate demands for physical contact, indecent language, shouting, threats of violence or abuse and attempting to move the child/children out of sight or hearing range of the monitor.
  2. Passing of correspondence or messages to the other parent (i.e. regarding legal matters) through the child/children or monitor.
  3. Using the visitation for the service of court documents.
  4. Sharing of court information or court documents with the child/children. Visit discussions should focus on the present (not past history) to avoid pressure and/or disappointment.
  5. Speaking negative or disparaging comments about the other parent, his or her family, or designee, in front of the child/children and/or questions about the other parent’s whereabouts or activities.
  6. Taking photographs/videos of the child/children without prior consent from the resident parent.
  7. Permanent alterations of the child/children during visitation without prior consent of the resident parent.
  8. Smoking/drinking alcohol in the presence of the child/children or monitor.
  9. Weapons or any articles that could be used as a weapon at the visitation site.
  10. Contact or confrontation between parents during exchange or visitation.

Please Note

  1. The monitor will only convey information between parents regarding the child/children’s medical needs, unique observations or any negative conduct during the visit.
  2. Children will not be forced to make or complete a supervised visitation.
  3. The resident and visiting parent are required to meet the needs of the child/children during visitation times (i.e., diaper bag, food, changes of clothes, toys, etc.).
  4. Except for late cancellations and emergencies, calls to Family Solutions Inc. should be made Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm.
  5. Final scheduling decisions are dictated by the availability of Family Solutions Inc.
  6. The objectives of Family Solutions Inc. are to provide an independent third party witness and facilitate appropriate interaction during the supervised visitation.
  7. This agreement and the informational work sheet must be completed and signed by both parties involved prior to FSI scheduling supervised visitation. All relevant court orders must be tendered to FSI prior to the first visit. All information provided to FSI must remain current and must be up-dated as needed.
  8. Family Solutions Inc. does not serve as security guards. If any situation arises that may create an imminent threat or involve any criminal behavior, the monitor(s) will contact local law enforcement authorities for intervention.The following is prohibited during visitation: