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Share Homes Family Services

Meeting the needs of today's families.

Meeting the Needs of Today's Families

Supervised Visitation

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The public policy of the State of California is to protect the best interests of children whose parents have a custody or visitation matter within the family courts. Sometimes, based on issues of protection and safety, a judge will decide that in order for a child to have contact with a parent, a neutral third person must be present during any visitation.

This type of third-person visitation arrangement is often called “supervised visitation”.

A judge may order supervised visitation for many reasons, like:

The court order will specify the time and duration of the visits. Sometimes, the court order will also specify who the provider is to be and where the visits are to take place.


1) Who is a Supervised Visitation Provider?

There are three types of supervised visitation providers: the nonprofessional provider, the professional provider, and the therapeutic provider.

The professional and therapeutic providers usually charge a fee for services and are experienced in and trained to provide supervised visitation services. The non-professional provider is usually a family member or friend who does not provide supervised visitation services.

Your court order will usually say which type of provider you have to use to supervise these visits.

2) Are there Training Requirements for a Supervised Visitation Provider?

Yes. Professional and therapeutic providers should receive training on the topics outlined in Standard 5.20 of the California Standards of Judicial Administration.

Also, supervised visitation providers are strongly encouraged to follow the training and education requirements of the Supervised Visitation Network.

3) What is the Job of the Supervised Visitation Provider?

The provider is there to make every effort to keep your child safe and support your child to enjoy the visit with the supervised parent. Whether a paid professional, family member or friend, the provider's job is to make sure that the children involved in the visits are safe and free from any unnecessary stress. The provider must be present at all times during the visit, listen to what is being said, and pay close attention to the child's behavior. If necessary, the provider may interrupt or end a visit. All providers are to report suspected child abuse to the Child Abuse Hotline at 1 (800) 540-4000. 

4) How Do I Choose a Non-Professional Provider?

Parents will usually ask a family member or friend that cares and is concerned for the children and family to act as a nonprofessional provider. This person must speak the same language as the visiting parent and child. The parents should ask someone they feel will be impartial and comfortable in following the court order. A copy of this  guide is available at the local court clerk's office.

This guide is available in several languages. Look through this guide. It will help you choose the right person and determine if they are qualified. All providers are responsible for making every reasonable effort to assure the safety and welfare of the child and adults during the visitation, avoid any conflict of interest, maintain neutrality, and follow the terms and conditions in Standard 5.20. Prior to a family member or friend agreeing to act as a supervised visitation provider, you should give the nonprofessional guide to the person you wish to supervise the visits so they can make an informed decision.

Tips for Parents

For the Visiting Parent

Being with your child in the presence of someone else may be uncomfortable for you, at least in the beginning. You probably have many questions and concerns, and that is perfectly understandable. During tough times you may want to talk to a mental health professional or find a support group to help you with your feelings.

Do your best to focus on your relationship with your child. Your patience and commitment will pay off. Here are some suggestions that might be helpful to you:

  • Read the court order
  •  Arrive and depart on time
  • Avoid discussing the court case or terms of the visit with your child
  • Avoid quizzing your child about the other parent's activities and relationships
  • Avoid making your child a messenger to the other party
  • Say brief and positive good-byes to your child when the visit is over

For the Custodial Parent

Supervised visitation can also be a challenge for you. Typically you have been taking care of your child's everyday needs and have a routine for yourself and your family. Supervised visitation can sometimes feel like one more responsibility. Of course you also have concerns and questions about the visits and how they will affect your child. This is understandable. In difficult times you may also want to talk to a mental health professional or find a support group where you can talk about your feelings. Here are a few suggestions that might help you in the process:

  • Read the court order
  • Explain to your child where and when the visits will take place
  • Have your child ready on time and be prompt
  • Reassure your child that you support him or her in having a pleasant visit
  • Avoid quizzing your child about the visit
  • Avoid making your child a messenger to the other party

For Both Parents

If you need to change the visitation schedule, the provider cannot do that for you. To assist you in filing the proper paperwork, contact your attorney or the Family Law Facilitator.

If you cannot agree on how to modify the court's order and you are both willing to meet with a Court Mediator to assist you in reaching an agreement that can then be filed in court and become an order, call your Family Court Services office to schedule an appointment.

Supervised visitation can be difficult and uncomfortable at times. Often there are hurt and angry feelings toward the other parent, and it seems impossible to have a positive attitude about supervised visitation. Remember that both of you care about your children, and that, if possible, children benefit from having two parents in their lives.