Supervised Access & Exchange

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What is supervised access?

When parents separate, access visits with children may be a problem. Sometimes, difficulties arise at the time of the exchange of the child between the parents, or between the parent and a relative, such as a grandparent. Other times, there may be concerns about the visits themselves.

The Supervised Access Program offers separated families a way to deal with some of these problems. Supervised access centres provide a setting where visits and exchanges can take place under the supervision of trained staff.

What are the Objectives of Supervised Access?

  • To provide a safe, neutral and child-focused setting for visits between a child and non-custodial parent or other family member.

  • To ensure the safety of all participants, including staff.

  • To provide trained staff and volunteers who are sensitive to the needs of the child.

  • To provide reports of factual observations about the participants’ use of the service.

 

When might Supervised Visits Occur?

Supervised access centres address a number of different situations, which may arise in custody and access disputes. Supervised visits may be appropriate in cases where there are concerns about the safety of the child and/or the custodial parent; the non-custodial parent has a drug or alcohol problem or a mental health problem; there has been a lengthy separation between the parent and the child; or there is a risk of abduction.

When are Supervised Exchanges Appropriate?

When there is unresolved conflict between the parents, a neutral place to exchange children for visits makes access easier to arrange and reduces tension for the child. Supervised exchanges may also be appropriate when it is necessary to determine if the parent who is visiting with the child is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In other cases, there may be a concern about the safety of the custodial parent during the exchange.

How do I Apply for Supervised Access Services?

Referrals to the program can be self-made and/or are accepted from lawyers, mediators, the courts, mental health professionals and other agencies.

A court order for supervised access is preferred but not required. If there is no court order, the parents must have some other signed written agreement.

Each adult participant must complete an intake interview and agree to follow centre policies and procedures before using the service. All services are pre-arranged. Details will be worked out between both parties and the centre supervisor.

The program reserves the right to determine provision of service. Dates and times of access visits/exchanges are determined by the availability of staff and the facility. All referrals are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. If space is not available, you will be placed on a waiting list and contacted as soon as space becomes available.

How do Supervised Access Centres ensure the Safety of Families and Staff?

Safety measures include, but are not limited to the following:

  • staggered drop off and pick up hours;

  • client arrival and departure supervised by staff and/or volunteers;

  • staff or volunteers must monitor children at all times during visits;

  • staff or volunteers arrange for parents to be escorted to their cars by police if there is a safety concern;

  • there is always staff available as back up to the volunteers;

  • develop and maintain a close liaison with the local police;

  • security checks of volunteers and staff are always conducted before employment; and

  • the outdoor play area, if there is one, is enclosed and directly attached to the premises.

For more information visit Family Law Nova Scotia or call Parents Place at 902-749-1718

01.

File for Supervised Access & Exchange with your lawyer or a self referral. 

02.

Get approval from a judge during your court date.

03.

Contact Parents Place as soon as you receive your documents in the mail from the court. 

We are unable to process any information until we receive documentation that you have been approved for Supervised Access & Exchange from the court.

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