Supervised access is a type of visitation between a parent and their child or children, where the visit takes place under the supervision of another adult.
Supervised exchange occurs when a neutral third party is responsible for collecting the child or children from one parent, and escorting the children to the access parent for their visit, so that the parents do not come into contact with each other.
If a child’s or parent’s safety is at risk, then it may be in a child’s best interests to have contact with the access parent that is monitored by another adult. It may not always be appropriate or safe for the other parent, a friend or a family member to provide this service. In those cases, access may take place as part of a court-ordered program where a neutral court-appointed agency acts to supervise the access or exchange. The level of monitoring will depend on the needs of the child and the level of risk involved.
In some cases, the agency may act to ensure that the access exchange takes place safely and will watch over the child going to and from the access visit only. This is what is meant by ‘supervised exchange.’
In other cases, supervised access may be needed. An agency may be asked to check in at various times during the access session or to monitor the entire visit. In some cases, observation-based reports about the visits or exchanges may be prepared by the agency and filed with the court and the parties. Orders for supervised access and exchange are meant to be short-term and are based on a contract between the Department of Justice and the agency.
The court-based supervised access and exchange programs may not be available at all court sites. Contact the court nearest you to find out if one is available in your area.
To view the general Supervised Access & Exchange Program brochure, click here.