Standards For Supervised Visitation Practice

2.0 Definitions

The following definitions clarify terms used in these standards:

is a component of the planned change effort in which the mental health practitioner collaborates with the client to obtain information that provides the foundation for developing a plan of intervention (2005, Berg-Weger, M.).
Authorized person:
is a person approved by the court, or by agreement of the parents and/or the provider, to be present during the supervised contact.
refers to a minor, between the ages of birth and majority.
is a child or parent or authorized person to whom services are rendered. See also child, custodial parent, and non-custodial parent in this list of definitions.
Critical incident:
is an occurrence involving a client that threatens the safety or results in the injury of a participant and/or that requires the intervention of a third party such as child protection services or the police.
Custodial parent:
is a biological or adoptive parent, guardian, or state agency or its representatives that has temporary or permanent physical custody of a child. A custodial parent may also be referred to as a "residential" parent.
Domestic Violence:
refers to any form of physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, or economic abuse inflicted on any person in a household by a family or household member.
is a component of the planned change effort in which the mental health practitioner and the client assess the progress and success of the planned change effort (2005, Berg-Weger, M.).
Group supervision:
is supervision of parent/child contact in which more than one family is supervised by one or more visit supervisors. Group supervision may also be referred to as "multiple-family" supervision.
Intermittent supervision:
is parent/child contact in which a parent and child are supervised for part of the time and purposely left unattended by a visit supervisor for certain periods of time.
as used in the context of supervised visitation means maintaining an unbiased, objective, and balanced environment, and when providing the service, not taking a position between the parents in providing the service. Providing service in a neutral manner is intended to ensure respect for all individuals in their capacity as parents and to protect children who are attempting to remain in contact with their parents. Being neutral does not mean providers disregard behaviors such as abuse or violence of any kind.
Noncustodial parent:
refers to a biological parent or other adult who has supervised contact with a child. A noncustodial parent may also be referred to as a "visiting" and/or a "nonresidential" parent.
One-on-one supervision:
is parent/child contact supervised by at least one visit supervisor focused on overseeing that contact.
Off-site supervision:
is supervision of parent/child contact that occurs away from a facility that is under the management of the provider.
On-site supervision:
refers to supervision of parent/child contact at a facility that is under the management of the provider.
refers to a biological mother, father, or other adult, including an adoptive parent, guardian, or state agency or its representatives. See also sections 2.6 and 2.12 in this document.
Parent/child contact:
is interaction between a parent or other authorized person and one or more children. Contact can be face-to-face, by mail and/or e-mail, telephone, video conference, or other means of communication.
is a client, authorized person, provider, agency staff, or other on-site person.
Partner abuse:
refers to a form of family violence involving abuse by one adult of another when both share an intimate relationship.
is any professional person or agency, either paid or unpaid, that is experienced in and trained to deliver supervised visitation services.
is the drawing of conclusions and statement of a professional opinion concerning future visitation arrangements and/or child custody determination.
Risk Assessment:
is the review and analysis of historical information and observation of behavior for the purpose of deciding whether there is a match between the probability that a client will exhibit dangerous behavior and the capacity of a provider to manage that behavior. Risk assessment as used in these standards is not a mental health assessment.
is protection from danger or risk of physical, psychological or emotional injury.
refers to measures put in place to effect safety.
Supervised exchange:
is supervision of the transfer of a child from the custodial to the noncustodial parent at the start of the parent/child contact and back to the custodial parent at the end of the contact. The supervision is usually limited to the exchanges, with the remainder of the noncustodial parent/child contact unsupervised. Exchanges may be supervised on-or-off the site. A supervised exchange may also be referred to as "exchange monitoring," "supervised transfer," "monitored exchange," "safe exchange," and "neutral drop-off/pick-up."
Supervised visitation:

is a generic term that describes parent/child contact overseen by a third party.  The primary focus is the protection and safety of the children and adult participants and providing a safe space/place and the opportunity for the parent/child relationship to grow.

Supportive supervised visitation is a term that describes parent child/contact that is overseen by third party.  The primary focus of supportive visitation includes the protection and safety of the participants and includes active interventions that encourage consistent parent/child contacts that may lead to improving the parent/child relationship.  Supportive supervision may also be referred to as “facilitated visitation” or “directed visitation”
Educational Supervised Visitation or Coaching Supervised Visitation are terms that describe parent/child contact that is overseen by a third party.

The focus is the protection and safety of the participants with a primary focus on interventions that provide information and support to improve a parent’s parenting skills. This level of supervision includes using an evidence informed parent education curriculum as well as skill building activities (curriculum) prior to and after the actual visit and may lead to an improved parent/child relationship. Educational Services may be court ordered or agreed to voluntarily and in writing by participants.  

Therapeutic Supervision is parent/child contact overseen by a licensed (Registered, State Certified) clinical practitioner who is trained both in supervised visitation practices and clinical work with families. A master’s level clinician who is pursuing their licensure, or a master’s level clinical intern, can also provide these services if they are being directly supervised by an appropriate licensed mental health professional.    The primary focus is on establishing, maintaining, improving, or healing the parent/child relationship.  Interventions are trauma informed and designed to address specific clinical needs. This level of supervised visitation, Therapeutic Supervision, may be court ordered or agreed to voluntarily, and in writing, by participants. 

Visit supervisor:
is any person who observes and oversees safe parent/child contact during visits and during transitions from one parent to another. A visit supervisor includes an independent contractor and any employee, trainee, intern, or volunteer of an agency provider. A visit supervisor may also be called a "child access monitor," "observer," or "visitation specialist."