Standards For Supervised Visitation Practice
The following definitions clarify terms used in these standards:
Assessment: is a component of the planned change effort in which the mental health practitioner collaborates with the client to obtain information that provides the foundation for developing a plan of intervention (2005, Berg-Weger, M.).
Authorized person: is a person approved by the court, or by agreement of the parents and/or the provider, to be present during the supervised contact.
Child: refers to a minor, between the ages of birth and majority.
Client: is a child or parent or authorized person to whom services are rendered. See also child, custodial parent, and non-custodial parent in this list of definitions.
Critical incident: is an occurrence involving a client that threatens the safety or results in the injury of a participant and/or that requires the intervention of a third party such as child protection services or the police.
Custodial parent: is a biological or adoptive parent, guardian, or state agency or its representatives that has temporary or permanent physical custody of a child. A custodial parent may also be referred to as a “residential” parent.
Domestic Violence: refers to any form of physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, or economic abuse inflicted on any person in a household by a family or household member.
Evaluation: is a component of the planned change effort in which the mental health practitioner and the client assess the progress and success of the planned change effort (2005, Berg-Weger, M.).
Group supervision: is supervision of parent/child contact in which more than one family is supervised by one or more visit supervisors. Group supervision may also be referred to as “multiple-family” supervision.
Intermittent supervision: is parent/child contact in which a parent and child are supervised for part of the time and purposely left unattended by a visit supervisor for certain periods of time.
Neutral/neutrality: as used in the context of supervised visitation means maintaining an unbiased, objective, and balanced environment, and when providing the service, not taking a position between the parents in providing the service. Providing service in a neutral manner is intended to ensure respect for all individuals in their capacity as parents and to protect children who are attempting to remain in contact with their parents. Being neutral does not mean providers disregard behaviors such as abuse or violence of any kind.
Noncustodial parent: refers to a biological parent or other adult who has supervised contact with a child. A noncustodial parent may also be referred to as a “visiting” and/or a “nonresidential” parent.
One-on-one supervision: is parent/child contact supervised by at least one visit supervisor focused on overseeing that contact.
Off-site supervision: is supervision of parent/child contact that occurs away from a facility that is under the management of the provider.
On-site supervision: refers to supervision of parent/child contact at a facility that is under the management of the provider.
Parent: refers to a biological mother, father, or other adult, including an adoptive parent, guardian, or state agency or its representatives. See also sections 2.6 and 2.12 in this document.
Parent/child contact: is interaction between a parent or other authorized person and one or more children. Contact can be face-to-face, by mail and/or e-mail, telephone, video conference, or other means of communication.
Participant: is a client, authorized person, provider, agency staff, or other on-site person.
Partner abuse: refers to a form of family violence involving abuse by one adult of another when both share an intimate relationship.
Provider: is any professional person or agency, either paid or unpaid, that is experienced in and trained to deliver supervised visitation services.
Recommendation: is the drawing of conclusions and statement of a professional opinion concerning future visitation arrangements and/or child custody determination.
Risk Assessment: is the review and analysis of historical information and observation of behavior for the purpose of deciding whether there is a match between the probability that a client will exhibit dangerous behavior and the capacity of a provider to manage that behavior. Risk assessment as used in these standards is not a mental health assessment.
Safety: is protection from danger or risk of physical, psychological or emotional injury.
Security: refers to measures put in place to effect safety.
Supervised exchange: is supervision of the transfer of a child from the custodial to the noncustodial parent at the start of the parent/child contact and back to the custodial parent at the end of the contact. The supervision is usually limited to the exchanges, with the remainder of the noncustodial parent/child contact unsupervised. Exchanges may be supervised on-or-off the site. A supervised exchange may also be referred to as “exchange monitoring,” “supervised transfer,” “monitored exchange,” “safe exchange,” and “neutral drop-off/pick-up.”
Supervised visitation: is a generic term that describes parent/child contact overseen by a third party. It is also a term for contact between a noncustodial parent and one or more children in the presence of a third person, in which the only focus is the protection and safety of the child and adult participants. Unless otherwise specified in this document, “supervised visitation” also includes supervised exchange services.
Supportive supervised visitation: is contact between a noncustodial parent and one or more children in the presence of a third person, in which the supervisor is actively involved in promoting behavioral change in parent/child relationships. Supportive supervision may also be referred to as “directed,” “educational,” or “facilitated visitation.”
Therapeutic supervision: is conjoint parent-child therapy conducted by a licensed or certified mental health professional also trained to provide supervised visitation. This includes a student or intern in training for a post-graduate degree under the direct supervision of a licensed or certified mental health professional.
Trainee: refers to a person training to become a visit supervisor and working under the direct supervision of a staff member responsible for his or her work. This definition includes interns and practicum students.
Visit supervisor: is any person who observes and oversees safe parent/child contact during visits and during transitions from one parent to another. A visit supervisor includes an independent contractor and any employee, trainee, intern, or volunteer of an agency provider. A visit supervisor may also be called a “child access monitor,” “observer,” or “visitation specialist.”