Author: Cook County Legal Providers, Coordinated Advice and Referral Program for Legal Services
Last updated: February 2008
Supervised visitation requires that a third party be there during a parent's time with his or her children. The idea is to provide for safe contact. In some situations, the presence of a third party is required only at the time the child is transferred from one parent to another. This is called supervised transfer or supervised drop-off and pick-up.
A judge may order supervised visitation when unsupervised contact would seriously endanger the mental or physical well-being of the child. The judge may also require supervision if the visiting parent has had little to no contact with the child or the child is very young. Parents may agree that supervision would be wise for the sake of their children. Such an agreement would be signed by the judge in the form of an agreed court order. Parents then make arrangements with the supervisor according to the court order. Some professional supervisors also have their own guidelines.
A supervisor must be an adult. He or she can be a relative, family friend, professional from a public or private agency, a trained supervisor, or member of the religious community.
The supervisor should have the following characteristics:
The supervisor watches how the children and parents get along. He or she makes sure that the interactions are safe and appropriate, and tries to foster a natural relationship between parents and children. The supervisor makes sure that the guidelines set by the Court and parents are followed.
Many benefits are possible. Supervised visitation provides a safe setting that allows children to develop or renew a healthy relationship with the visiting parent. It can reduce conflict, and make sure that no one will be hurt or unfairly blamed for trying to do harm. It can offer an opportunity to reinforce good parenting skills. It provides time for trust to develop between parents and between parents and children. During long court processes, it can allow for continued contact between parents and children.
There are no set guidelines for how long supervision should continue. It should last until a healthy and safe child-parent bond is formed or restored; or, both parents agree to end supervision; or the Court ends supervision. Safe, comfortable, and loving time spent together by parents and their children is vital to a child's well-being... even when it is supervised time. All children need continued contact with both parents when possible. Parents do best, too, when they can share loving time with their children. Where there is a question of child safety or discomfort, or of parent's safety or well being, supervised visitation offers an opportunity for a healthy and loving bond between parent and children.
Printed from: www.illinoisprobono.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.dsp_Content&contentID=1609
We welcome your comments and suggestions