Supervised Contact
Supervised Contact
What is Supervised Contact?

Supervised Contact refers to time shared between a child and a visiting parent, in the presence of an independent person, referred to as the Contact Supervisor.

For How Long does Contact need to be Supervised?

When the court orders contact to be supervised, it is often intended as a temporary measure. Usually, there is an expectation that the parent-child relationship will be nurtured and re-built and that within time, supervision will no longer be necessary.

We acknowledge, while rare, sometimes there are situations where self-management is not a realistic goal but where the parent/child relationship is still viewed as beneficial for the child. In these situations, we will continue to work with the family in accordance with advice and recommendations of any external professionals.

When might Contact be Supervised?
  • In the case of an agreement, formal or informal, between the relevant parties; this includes agreements reached through family dispute resolution processes
  • In the case of a court order, made with all parties’ consent
  • In the case of an order made following a determination by a Judge or Magistrate
  • In the case of a need to assess interactions between child and family, to assist with court processes
  • In the case of significant safety concerns for the child, such as possible harm or abduction, requiring a high level of control and oversight of the parents or others participating in the contact
  • In the case of concerns relating to family (domestic) violence
  • In the case of a breakdown in the parent-child relationship, which needs to be gradually rebuilt



  • What is the role of the Supervisor?


    • To supervise the contact visit within the expectations of the referral, including any special conditions requested by the caseworker, and to report observations to the referring agency
    • To supervise the contact visit within the expectations of the referral, including any special conditions requested by the caseworker, and to report observations to the referring agency
    • To support the child-parent relationship and facilitate meaningful interactions between parents and children
    • To take responsibility for the best interests of the child, and ensure that he or she is protected from any harm or distress
    • To maintain the safety and welfare of both child and parent
    • To provide valuable guidance and support for the parent in rebuilding their relationship with the child
    • To listen to the child’s needs and concerns, and address them wherever possible
    • To advocate on behalf of the child, and to make contact experiences safe, calm and positive
    • To make appropriate referrals to external services, when needed
    • To assist families progress toward self-management of contact arrangements, in terms of both changeover and unsupervised contact

    Locations
    Supervised Contact can be provided at our Contact Centre or off-site, at other child friendly locations such as parks, cafés or other recreation-type facilities.

    Supervised Contact usually takes place at our child-friendly Contact Centre. The Australian Children’s Contact Services Association (ACCSA) promotes the use of Contact Centres and so do we. In our experience, contact is most enjoyable for children, when it takes place at our Centre.

    The degree of risk and the level of supervision required are factors in choosing a between our centre-based facility, or in considering alternative venues. In some cases, a neutral venue may be advised – that is, one which does not hold significant emotional meaning for any of the parties involved.

    Supervised Contact should always take place in a safe, child-appropriate space, chosen for its suitability for encouraging positive, distraction-free interactions.

    Alternative Venues.

    We provide Supervised Contact Services off-site, where appropriate, in accordance with Court Orders and/or the consent of both parents.

    In considering alternatives to Centre based Contact, the needs and best interests of the child must always be kept uppermost in the decision-making process; this should include cultural considerations, the nature of the relationships between the child and family members, and physical safety issues. uitable environments can include parks, cafés or other recreation-type facilities.

    When identifying suitable alternative venues, we keep in mind;

    • the needs and best interests of the children
    • relationships between the child(ren) and family members
    • physical safety issues
    • the degree of risk
    • the level of supervision required

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    Roma Street Parklands

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    South Bank Precinct

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    New Farm Park

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    Museum & Science Centre



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    Northlakes


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    Glass House Mountains

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    Caloundra Esplanade

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    Central Lakes Caboolture

    Supervision Levels

    The following information concerns different levels of supervision, relative to degrees of risk;

    Information provided by parents during Intake helps determine:

    • the number of supervisors required
      the appropriate frequency and length of visits
      the necessary proximity of supervisor(s) for observing interactions
    • Whether more than one family can be attend the Centre at the same time
    • Suitability of offsite visits
      Whether a parent can feed an infant or change a nappy
    • Whether extra restrictions are needed
      Please note: during the initial contact visit, two Contact Supervisors will apply a high level of vigilance, regardless of referral requests.

    Because risk factors vary, each family differs in the level of supervision they need. Based on our assessments and concerns and requests of parents, we determine the appropriate degree of vigilance for Supervised Contact.

    In assessing risk, we consider:

    • Actual or alleged incidents of violence or abuse
    • History or justifiable fears concerning possible abduction
    • The child’s needs
    • The child’s relationship with the non-residential parent
    • Any concerns regarding a non-residential parent’s mental health; alcohol and/or other drug use; their understanding of their child’s needs, and; the ability to cooperate

     

    LEVEL 1

    Supervision for Low Risk; General Monitoring & Facilitation

     2 – 3 Supervisors

    A family under this category may be described by circumstances where; the initial Intake Assessment  identifies minimal degree of risk; participants have attended more than ten Supervised Contact sessions, all of which were free from issues and noted as positive experiences for the child/ren; the supervised parent has addressed concerns; made significant progress in managing addictions and/or mental health issues; has developed adequate parenting skills; the Contact Supervisor’s role is to provide general monitoring and facilitation; to remain available to support the child and parent if necessary; to promote continued development of healthy relationships, and; to assist parents to work towards managing their own contact arrangements. It may be appropriate for Supervised Contact to occur at an alternative off-site location. Where parents and children agree, the Centre may be shared with another parent and their child/ren – an arrangement which can reduce fees considerably.

    LEVEL 2

    Supervision for Medium Risk and/or Moderate Support; Progressive

     2 Supervisors

    Circumstances (alleged or confirmed) describing a family in this category may include an assessment identifying low-moderate level of risk with concerns relating to; limitations in parenting capacity and/or; a supervised parent with difficulty managing mental health issues; a supervised parent with difficulty managing emotions; a supervised parent experiencing issues with drugs or alcohol; a child identified as emotionally vulnerable; a child identified at risk of physical harm; a child subjected to past parental conflict; a child subject to existing parental conflict;

    Observations of Supervised Contact may indicate; steady progress in the development of healthy trusting relationships; a parent having addressed substance abuse or mental health issues;

    Supervised Contact would most likely occur on-site although requests for off-site may be considered, and approved following agreement between parties

    LEVEL 3

    Supervision for Complex issues and/or Higher RIsk and/or intensive support

     2 – 3 Supervisors

    This category includes families presenting with complex issues and a higher degree of risk (alleged or substantiated). Intake and Assessment typically involves consultation between the Service and relevant professionals including Independent Children’s Lawyer, if one has been appointed. Circumstances may include; concerns/ allegations suggesting a child may be at risk of sexual abuse; physical harm; emotional harm; there may be a threat of abduction; a child with special needs; a child resistant to contact with their parent; a child experiencing anxiety about contact; a child identified as emotionally vulnerable; a child exposed to excessive conflict /violence between parents; a child subjected to ongoing parental conflict; a child experiencing emotional distress as a result of being caught in the middle of parent conflict; a parent/child relationship requiring intensive support to establish or re-establish a child’s trust; a residential parent requiring guidance and support to comply with a Court Order; a child or parent who has experienced trauma; a parent with significant unmanaged mental health issues.
    Supervised Contact is always on-site, at the Contact Centre, where additional supervisors are available. Supervised Contact is facilitated by a minimum of 2 highly skilled Contact Supervisors, with a third Supervisor on hand. Scheduled appointments for the family to attend the Centre are arranged to ensure maximum safety, minimum disruption, with complete privacy and intensive support – when no other parents or children are present. It may be necessary to develop a safety plan or other practices may be necessary to manage risk effectively.

    Apply for Supervised Contact