Supervised Access Program
What is Supervised Access?
When parents separate, visits or exchanges can be difficult for the whole family. Sometimes problems arise when the parent exchange is taking place, sometimes the visits themselves may be a problem. The Supervised Access Program can help families cope by providing a safe, child-focused, neutral setting where visits or exchanges take place under the supervision of trained staff. The Supervised Access Program does not enforce court orders. The program facilitates the conditions of court orders.
How Can I Use the Supervised Access Program?
You may receive a court-ordered referral to the Supervised Access Program. These referrals occur for various reasons and concerns:
- The safety of a child or parent.
- Unresolved conflict between parents has interfered with access visits.
- A non-custodial parent has been absent from a child’s life for an extended time.
- When physical, sexual or emotional abuse of a child is a possibility.
- When parenting ability is in doubt.
- A history of drug or alcohol abuse is known.
- The risk of possible abduction.
Although many supervised visits are court-ordered, any person can self-refer, or lawyers of any party involved may make a request for service – including the Office of the Children’s Lawyer. However, voluntary referrals are only accepted when both parties consent to the service being provided.
Where and When is the Supervised Access Program Available?
The Supervised Access Program is available for as long as a family needs the service. In the Rainy River District, there are currently sites in Fort Frances and Atikokan. Please contact the Supervised Access Coordinator for more information at 807-274-0381 or toll free 1-800-465-7764. In the Kenora District, all Supervised Access arrangements are facilitated through Dryden Volunteer Recruitment and Referral Centre at 807-223-5995.
Supervised visits provide an opportunity for non-custodial parents to spend time with their children by:
- Making sure that parents do not come into contact with each other by staggering arrival and departure times.
- Having staff present to fully supervise visits so children are safe and comfortable.
- Encouraging positive parent/child interaction with staff intervention only if required.
Exchanges provide non-confrontational transfer of children between parents for an off-site visit or outing.
- Staff will supervise during the pick-up and return of the child but not during the visit our outing.
- Parents arrive at staggered times and do not come into contact with each other.
- Staff communicate access-related information between parents such as medication instructions, health concerns, or behavioural concerns.
How Do I Start Supervised Access?
Custodial and non-custodial parents are required to complete an intake procedure prior to starting supervised visits or exchanges. Both parties requesting service will be given separate appointments for intake interviews. Services and details will be worked out between the parties and the Coordinator. All parties will have Centre guidelines explained to them.
- Any legal documents pertaining to access including a copy of the court order which specifies conditions of access; or a written agreement signed by both parties.
- Current address and phone information for yourself and for an emergency contact.
- Your child’s medical information and health card number.
Fees and Reports
Anyone can access the service at no cost.
Each exchange or visit is documented with a factual record. Lawyers or clients may request copies of these summary reports for which a fee will be charge. Please allow two weeks to prepare.