What is the Supervised Access Program?
The Supervised Access Program makes it possible for separated families to deal with some of the problems related to custody and access, particularly when there are safety concerns for either the primary parent or the children.
The Ministry of the Attorney General has supervised access centres across Ontario that provide fully supervised on-site visits in a group setting and supervised exchanges for off-site unsupervised access.
When supervised access or supervised exchanges are appropriate?
If you do not think your children will be safe with their other parent or you are worried that he might not return them after an access visit or you have concerns about your own safety during the exchanges of your children, you might want to consider using the supervised access program in your community.
Supervised access might also be appropriate if there has been a long period of time since your children have seen their other parent or if their other parent has a drug or alcohol problem that could endanger the children.
Supervised exchanges allow you and your former partner to exchange the children in a safe, neutral place with other people present. As well, the exchange supervisor can determine whether or not your ex-partner is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
How do you apply for supervised access or exchanges?
You can refer your own family to the supervised access program. Your lawyer, a mediator, a community agency or the court can also make a referral.
If you do not have a court order, you and your former partner must have a signed written agreement about using the program.
Before your family is accepted into the program, you and your former partner must each complete an intake interview and agree to follow the policies and procedures of the program.
How do the access or exchanges work?
Once you are accepted into the program, the centre staff will determine the dates and times of access visits or exchanges. They will take your needs as well as the custody and access order into account. The trained supervisors can prepare reports for you to use in your court case.
Is there a fee?
There are fees for using this service, which are usually shared between the parents, unless your court order sets out a different arrangement. There is a fee for access and/or exchange supervision and an additional fee if you request a report.
The fee is set on a sliding scale and can be waived if someone is unable to pay.
For more information, visit the Ministry of the Attorney General’s website.