The Family Justice
Review Committee has received a number of complaints from children and parents
in regards to supervised access centers.
Some of the
complaints we receive include:
visitation centers will not allow parents to bring in cameras so that they
can take pictures of their children. Some parents report that they
have to sign documents agreeing not to take pictures or they will have
access to their children terminated.
have reported being warned by staff that if they try to take pictures of
their child that they will not be allowed to visit with their child in the
That staff will
not even give a couple of minutes of their time to snap a photo of the child
with a parent.
That staff have
misinterpreted a child's behaviours and/or parent's actions which has
resulted in an unfavourable report being written against the access
parent, when in fact, there was a valid explanation for what may have
occurred during the child's visit with the access parent.
family members and friends of the child have been turned away and told that
they cannot visit with the child without the permission of the custodial
parent. Many times, vindictive custodial parent used the access
centers as a weapon to control the child's access to his/her family and
have written biased reports intended to make one parent look bad and the
other parent look good.
That it takes
weeks to get reports printed up.
parents have complained that older or more mature children find supervised
access centers boring to the point where they feel embarrassed to go there.
Forcing an older child to visit with a parent at an access center when this
is not appropriate for the child and the circumstances, is in itself, a form
of child abuse.
In the matter of
supervised access centers it is the position of the Family
Justice Review Committee:
That parents be
allowed to take picture of their children at the centers. If staff are
concerned about the images of other children being captured or about other
issues relating to the taking of pictures, then provisions
should be made at the center where pictures can be taken of children and
parents. Polices relating to parents taking pictures with their children
should be clearly published and made available to all who request a copy of
at a supervised access center should be willing to take pictures of children
and parents upon request.
parents should not be charged to visit their children in a supervised access
center. Where charges are levied, costs for
supervised access should be paid for by both parties in accordance to their
ability to pay.
family members or friends who are known by the child should be allowed to visit the
child along with the visiting parent. It should be the child, not the
custodial parent who decides who the child can meet with, unless there is a
court Order specifically ordering otherwise.
should be allowed to bring in their own professional, such as a social
worker or psychologist, to observe the visits between the child and the
access parent for the purposed of providing additional third party
observations of the access visit.
workers should be made up immediately after a supervised access visit while
events are fresh in the worker's mind.
from the visitation center should be available to parents within 7 days.
should immediately after a visit, speak to the visiting parent regarding any
concern that the worker may have had about the supervised access visit so
that the worker can ensure that he/she did not misinterpret the child's
behaviours and/or parent's actions in a situation.
Older or more
mature children should not be forced to have supervised access to a parent
at a supervised access center if the child indicates that the center is too
boring or if they would prefer to have access to a parent outside of a
supervised access center.