What is a supervised contact visit?
Supervised contact is the situation where the non-resident parent (the parent with whom the child does not live) has contact with the child /children under the supervision of another person. It is the responsibility of the supervisor to ensure the child’s best interests are protected whilst on a contact visitation with the parent or other person. This may be court ordered or by parent agreement. Bridging Families is an independent third party whose supervisors are highly experienced and skilled professionals.
What is a supervised changeover?
This is where the provision of a supervisor is arranged for a positive hand over and hand back of the child /children between parents or another person due to a high conflict situation.
Do you have a waiting list?
Bridging Families does not have a waiting list. It is solely dependent upon the completion of the straightforward consult process and the availability of an experienced contact supervisor.
Where does the contact visitation occur?
The location is determined in accordance with court orders (if applicable), the child’s needs, safety and Occupational Health and Safety issues & parent agreement. Bridging Families highly recommends that the venue is child friendly & developmentally appropriate.
Will my child / children be safe?
Bridging Families during the consult process will require a concise background history to identify any specific issues which may affect the child. If you are concerned about your child’s safety during the contact visits please inform us at the consult stage before any contact visit occurs.
The trained supervisor is aware of all the safety measures that may be needed and will enforce when necessary. The supervisor is in sight and hearing range of the child /children and parent at all times. The child’s toileting needs are the responsibility of the supervisor. In the case of 2 children present at a contact visit both children must go to the toilet area irrespective if they need to go or not. No child is ever left with the parent.
Bridging Families’ child / adult ratio is an additional safeguard measure.
The ratio is 2 children: 1 adult
3 or more children: 2 supervisors are required
If a child is 12 months or younger they require their own supervisor
Please note, if Bridging Families determines the case to be of high risk another supervisor will be mandatory.
What will happen at a contact visit?
The Bridging Families supervisor’s aim is to facilitate a safe and happy supervised contact visit comprising of positive interactions between the parent and child /children in order to build upon their relationship. The contact visit location should be a child friendly and age appropriate venue to encourage play and meeting of the child’s interests. The supervisor is an impartial third party. All observations / conversations on the contact visit will be documented in a comprehensive contact visit report that can be purchased by either parent and used as evidence in court proceedings.
If the supervisor identifies any inappropriate behaviour or action he/she may caution or terminate the contact visit after first gaining instruction from the Bridging Families office. If a visit terminated no refund applies.
What should I tell my child about the supervised contact visit?
This is an important component to this process. Appear positive at all times. Talk to your child in plain simple words. Inform the child that they will be spending time with their parent / family member at the agreed location that is a safe and friendly place. It is highly recommended if appropriate to take the child there prior to the contact visit for familiarisation. Tell the child the Bridging Families supervisor will be present at all times to keep them safe and supported. A pre visit meeting with the supervisor can be arranged at a nominal cost or alternately the child can say hello to the supervisor on the phone when they call to confirm the supervised contact visit.
It is imperative your child knows who they are going to see, for how long, what they might do and who will be collecting them from the contact visit to take them home.
How long will I need to be supervised?
Supervised contact is often short term as the parent / child relationship improves with this service. On some occasions supervision continues for an extended period. If supervised contact visits / changeovers have been court ordered these will continue until the court decides otherwise at the hearing.
Any questions or concerns regarding this matter must be addressed to your lawyer / solicitor for legal advice.
Are my personal details kept confidential?
Bridging Families respects and maintains the personal information such as addresses, phone numbers, school… of the child and families. However, the contact visit reports can be purchased by both party and all case information may be subpoenaed for court purposes.
Bridging Families ensures that records are kept safe and secure.
Will the contact supervision be neutral?
The Bridging Families supervisor is impartial. Their focus is on the child not the dispute of the parents or other family members.
What will it cost?
The service fee(s) may be the responsibility of one or shared between both parents. This is dependent upon the court order or parent agreement. An administration cost will be payable for any subpoenaed files.
Please contact Bridging Families for the current fee schedule.