Standards For Supervised Visitation Practice

8.0 Safety & Security

8.1 Purpose

This section sets forth general safety and security requirements for providers of supervised visitation.

8.2 General Policy for Safety

  1. A provider must have written policies and procedures that seek to provide safety for all participants. The central criterion of safety is that there is a match between the capacity of the provider, the service being provided, and the needs of and the risk presented by the family.
  2. A provider cannot guarantee safety; adult clients remain responsible and accountable for their own actions.
  3. Care should be taken by providers that their safety policies are applied with equality to participants of all racial or ethnic identities, social classes, and gender orientation.

8.3 Declining Unsafe Cases

A provider must refuse to accept any case when the safety needs and risks presented by the family are considered by the provider to have a substantial likelihood of being greater than the provider can manage.

8.4 Client Relationship

The physical safety measures described in this section are not a substitute for maintaining a relationship with each client that will help reduce potential risks of harm. This means treating each client with respect and fairness.

8.5 General Policy for Security

A provider must make reasonable efforts to ensure that security measures are provided. Providers must have written policies and procedures that include, but are not limited to:

    1. Intake and case review;
    2. Collaborating with local law enforcement to facilitate a rapid response;
    3. Reviewing security measures on a regular basis;
    4. Ensuring that the location for services meets all state and local fire, building, and health codes; and
    5. Establishing written protocols for emergency situations.

8.6 Additional Security Measures in High-Risk Situations

When there is any risk of violent behavior or highly conflicted interaction by one parent against the other or between parents, providers must have:

        1. Written policies and procedures that describes the layout of premises or other arrangements that keep parents physically and visually separate;
        2. Written procedures so that contact or interaction between the parents does not occur;
        3. Copies of relevant court documents readily available;
        4. A safety response plan for the program and/or practice; and
        5. A plan for safe arrival and departure and safe use of the service for the client at risk.

8.7 Case Screening

Providers must maintain policies and procedures to screen for risk in each case. A provider's safety policies and security measures are not a substitute for screening for potential risks of harm

8.8 Staff to Client Ratio

The ratio of supervisor to child must be tailored to each case. In cases requiring supervision of more than one child, a provider must consider having more than one visit supervisor present during visitation (also see section 9.4(1)). Visit supervisor to client ratio will depend on:

        1. Level of the supervision necessary for needed safety in each case;
        2. Number of children and/or families being supervised;
        3. Duration and location of the visit; and
        4. Expertise and experience of the supervisor.

8.9 Critical Incidents

A provider must have written policies and procedures regarding critical incidents, including recording, reporting, and actions taken to resolve the incident. See also section 17.2.2 in this document.