Most of the time, when parents have visitation, they have the child during their scheduled time, and they can watch movies, eat, work on homework, and whatever else they feel like doing, unsupervised. But some visitation arrangements aren’t like that. Sometimes, a court order requires another adult to supervise the parenting time. This is sometimes initiated by the non-custodial parent and other times by the court.
The purpose is to protect the safety of the child or children
- This may be part of an Order for Protection case. It could also be part of a family court or juvenile court cases such as CHIPS (Child in Need of Protection or Services) or a Termination of Parental Rights case.
- Usually, allegations or evidence has been brought before the court regarding
- Sexual abuse of the child or the other parent
- Physical abuse of the child or the other parent
- Parental instability
- Chemical dependency
- Mental illness
- Any other reason to believe that the non-custodial parent is a risk to the child’s safety
Supervised Safety Centers
Sometimes courts allow a family member or social worker to be the parenting time supervisor. Other times, visitation or parenting time must take place at a supervised safety center. These centers may be part of a multi-service agency or independently owned and operated. One benefit to a supervised safety center is its trained and experienced staff. If the court wants feedback from the parenting time supervisor, the documentation will be accurate and unbiased. They are also able to provide intervention and redirection of any inappropriate behaviors.
What are Safe Exchanges?
This is when supervision of parenting time isn’t required, but supervised exchanges are, to protect one (or both) of the parents’ safety while safeguarding the parenting time. Supervised safety centers can also facilitate these, as can social workers. The parents each arrive at different times. One leaves the child with the supervisor, and the other comes later to pick the child up. This process is repeated for returning the child at the end of the visit. This method keeps the child safe, and the parents never come into contact. Courts often order safe exchanges when there is an OFP between the parents but the visitation time still stands.
How are these Services Financed?
Some providers are paid by the county or government agencies or through grants. Others require that parents pay part or all of the costs. Many use a combination of these. The courts often have a say in who will be responsible for the fees.
If parents don’t cooperate with the court order, miss parenting time, or don’t comply with the rules, it is documented and reported to the court. The non-custodial parent could lose their spot with the supervised safety center and their parenting time until the court steps in to reassess the situation.
Both parents must arrive consistently and on time. This supervised visitation is temporary. It is an opportunity for parents to show how much their child means to them in a neutral setting. If you have a custody or visitation conflict, it is crucial to have competent, compassionate legal counsel. Contact White and Associates today to find out how we can help.