There are number of options when it comes to who can supervise your time with your child. Who will supervise the time between parent and child will often depend on the individual circumstances of each matter. A supervisor may be chosen by the Court or alternatively the parents can agree on a supervisor.
The most appropriate supervisor will depend on a number of factors including the ages of the children, the financial means of the parents, how much time the Court has ordered between the parent and child, location of the parents, level of conflict between the parents, the availability of potential supervisors and waitlists for services.
A family member or friend of the parents may be appointed as supervisor either by the Court or by agreement between the parents. It is important that a supervisor is a person that both parents’ trust and typically should be a person the child feels comfortable around. A family member or a friend offers greater flexibility around the frequency and location of the supervised time. However, being a supervisor is a big commitment therefore a potential supervisor must be willing and able to facilitate all and any time between the child and parent that is agreed to or ordered by the Court.
Another option is Contact Centres which are a safe and neutral venue where children can spend time with their parent, supervised by trained staff. Contact centres are either a free or subsided service and typically offer supervised time once every fortnight for a period of 2 hours. Unfortunately, there are long delays in accessing contact centres and it can take up to 8 months before a spot becomes available, depending on the service. There is also less flexibility with contact centres as the visit takes place within the centre or in the centre’s outdoor facilities.
The final option is a private supervision organisation who work similar to contact centres however they operate on a fee for service basis. There are typically no or minimal wait times to start accessing the service. There tends to be more flexibility with private providers and the visits can occur in other locations such as a park or a café for example. Depending on the individual provider, they may also be able to offer more regular times.
What obligations do supervisors have?
Supervisors are there to observe the interactions between the supervised parent and the child and to help facilitate a safe environment for the child to spend time with their parent. Contact centres and private supervision organisations will usually take detailed notes of their observations and produce a report of these observations if requested. Supervisors have an obligation to report any inappropriate behaviour or concerns they observe with the supervised parent. The supervisor may also terminate the visits if there is any inappropriate behaviour.
To find out more information about local supervising services or to arrange an appointment, please contact Savanna Bull on 02 4322 0251 or email us at [email protected]