Hannah's House regularly receives inquiries from parents who have questions about the rules, guidelines, laws, expectations, and appropriate behavior of professional providers of supervised visitation:
- How close should the supervisor be on outside visits, like a park?
- Do supervisors have to have special insurance to transport a child in their personal vehicle?
- Is the supervisor responsible to stop inappropriate video games, or movies, or other screen content?
- What kind of cellphone use is appropriate for a Supervisor during a supervised visitation?
- Are supervisors allowed to make recommendations to custody evaluators or to judges?
Here are some of the basic guidelines we offer to our Hannah’s House staff on addressing these common issues that occur during supervised visitation:
- Stay close enough to the child/ren throughout the visit to hear and see everything - the standard is 100% eye-shot and earshot.
- Scan frequently visually for all parties to your visit to ensure safety and security - if a parent is not close enough to a young child walking along a street or across a street to ensure the safety of the child, the supervisor must intervene with the parent.
- NO parent/child interaction is allowed to be out of 100% eye-shot and earshot of the Supervisor - it is the supervisor's responsibility to ensure that nothing is missed. If the Supervisor does miss something, he or she is required to document the error.
- Cell phone use only for photographs of the child is allowed, with photos taken by the Supervisor. Any other cell phone use is allowed only in the case of an emergency. If a critical phone call is expected during a visit, it can only be taken if that call is pre-approved with the Supervisor. Cell phone use during visits is restricted for both parents and for the child/ren.
- If your provider allows screen use during visits, then ANY use of a screen of any kind that is going to be shown to a child must be within full site of the Supervisor at all times - pictures/videos from the past can only be shown with pre-approval by the supervisor and the other parent
- If the provider is too far away to hear an adult on the visit speak in a low voice (or a whisper) then the provider is too far away.
It is important to know that many supervisors use their cell phones or small tablets for documentation purposes while providing services, especially when offsite. Some Clients tend to think sometimes that Supervisors are playing on their phones or texting when in reality they are documenting or communicating with other staff regarding breaks, or questions on how to handle a situation at that particular time. However, if a client sees a provider using social media during a visit then it is likely that the provider is not attuned to the visit.
As a consumer, you should inform yourself about the laws (Family Code 3200.5) and rules (Administrative Rules of Court 5.20) that your supervisor is required to follow. If you believe that your supervisor has behaved unprofessionally; unethically; or conducted him or herself in a biased manner or engaged in a conflict of interest on your case you may file a formal complaint with Michael Roddy, the San Diego Superior Court Administrator. [email protected]