Frequently Asked Questions
Every family is different.
The reasons for the referral, parental attitude and cooperation, and the age and background of your children will all influence your experience with our program. If you have questions about how your family's situation would be handled by Parenting Time, Inc., please contact us.
The following is general information that will hopefully give you a better understanding of supervised visitation and our program.
What is Supervised Visitation?
Based on what is happening in the family, or to make sure the children are safe and protected, a judge will sometimes decide a third person should be present to observe the interaction between the ordered party and their children. The observation of the interaction by a third party is called supervised visitation, and the person observing the interaction is often referred to as the Visitation Monitor or Professional Provider. Supervised visitation allows parents in high-conflict or high-risk situations access to their children in a safe and supervised environment.
During each visit at Parenting Time, Inc., a Visitation Monitor will quietly observe and take notes while the visiting party interacts with their children in a vibrant room filled with toys and games. This is the visiting parent's "parenting time." The Visitation Monitor will not involve themselves in the visit unless there is a safety concern, a break of the agency's policies or court order.
Why Use Professional Services?
Professional Providers are held to a higher standard than Nonprofessional Providers. Professional services may be recommended by a Mediator or ordered by the court. Some families elect to use a Professional Provider.
Reasons one may elect to use a Professional Provider over a friend or relative include: difficulty with both parties agreeing to a Nonprofessional Provider, the possible bias that comes with enlisting a party's loved one, lack of objective documentation, and the increased security and overall feeling of safety that comes with using a Professional Provider.
Scheduling and the visits themselves are no-contact, so you can also relax and feel comfortable, knowing that transitions will be safe and free from conflict. This helps to absolve fear of new allegations, as a neutral third-party is present to verify what happened during our services.
How Long Do the Services Last?
Parenting Time, Inc. does not make any decisions regarding your family's custody or supervised visitation orders. You will need to return to mediation and/or court to have your supervised visitation orders changed. The objective documentation we produce may be a factor in the judge or mediator's decision, but we never give recommendations or assessment at our level.
As far as actual visit time, that will depend on your supervised visitation order (and the number of hours awarded to you if you qualify for the Access to Visitation Program.) The noncustodial party will need to set aside additional time, as they are expected to arrive earlier and leave later than the scheduled visit start and end times, in order to prepare for the visit and maintain our no-contact policy.
What is this Grant Funding About?
The purpose of the Judicial Council's Access to Visitation Grant Program is to "remove barriers and increase opportunities for biological parents who are not living in the same household as their children to become actively involved in their children’s lives.”
We understand that one of the most common barriers noncustodial parties face is the cost associated with seeing their children. As a grant recipient, Parenting Time, Inc. is able to offer a set number of supervised visits at no-cost to qualifying low-income families.
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What Do I Tell My Kids?
How children feel about supervised visitation will vary depending on their age and past experiences, but the main factor will be what they hear and sense from their parents. It is very important that parents encourage their children to participate and enjoy visits, and are assured the adults are working together to make things better.
For most families, there are adult issues that should not be discussed with children. What your children need to know will depend on their age and development, their concerns and history. Assure your children that the visits are not because of anything they did wrong, and do not bring up court matters, accusations or scary things from the past. We ask that the custodial party bring children over the age of 3 in for orientation before visits begin, so long as they are of sufficient capacity.
What Documentation Can I Get for Court?
Parenting Time, Inc. creates one visit report for each visit. All visit reports are objective. Standard 5.20 mandates that only facts, observations and direct statements be included. Parenting Time, Inc. never makes judgments or recommendations.
It is up to the involved parties whether they would like to order any visit reports. Reports do not need to be ordered at the time of service, and we keep all reports for up to 3 years after the visit has occurred. Once ordered, a copy will be sent to all applicable parties. This includes the custodial and noncustodial parties, the ordering court and the party's attorneys, if any.
We document all communication with each client, and can provide letters regarding completion of enrollment, refusals to enroll, program suspensions and terminations.