Why our Supervised Visitation Center is different
Most parents are unhappy or embarrassed that they must use supervised visitation services; supervised visitation is not how most parents envision spending time with their children. The quality of the supervised visitation facility helps to create a positive experience for your children. Premier visitation facilities such as Whittaker Family Services can offer unbeatable quality with private visitation solutions. Whittaker Family Services supervised visitation facility is in a comfortable setting, with individualized services to specific circumstances of families while matching their demographics and lifestyles.
According to My Family Wizard, non-profit centers and Community based supervised visitation services show 70% – 90% of families served are in the low and very low-income brackets – those with the least resources within their reach to secure alternative solutions. Because these facilities subsidize the cost with state money, grants and possibly donations, the facility is generalized and is so over utilized that at times cannot offer more than one hour per week of visitation. These facilities do serve the community and fill a very important community need but they cannot serve all members of the community. The majority of families need more than one hour per week of visitation and would like to visit their children in a location that is comfortable and does not feel like a community supervised visitation center. It is well known that the need for supervised visitation is not based on low income or high income, which means that there should be a facility to match every family profile.
Many families want better quality alternatives to the community non-profit family supervised visitation facilities. Families who have used our facility have stated that they don’t feel publicly embarrassed and they now understand why there is a cost to utilize our supervised visitation. Our facility is in a newly renovated office building with a variety of professionals ranging from therapists to attorneys. Families who cannot participate in out of office visitation have discussed the embarrassment of possibly running into someone they may know while at other facilities. Because of the range of professionals within our building and the professional manner the families were treated they don’t feel targeted as “the family who needs supervised visitation”. Whittaker Family Services is aware that our consumers do not want everyone in the building to be aware of why they are in the building. The walk to your supervised room is so discrete that onlookers will not be aware of your purpose for being in the building. Our staff is trained to treat every consumer with the utmost respect they deserve.
With Whittaker Family Services you can ensure safety standards and employ the highest quality of trained professionals who keep your business private and offers a quality supervised visitation service that does not feel like “jail”.
How do I know if the Monitor is properly trained?
Our Monitors are properly trained in and hold certificates by Florida State University Institute for Family Violence Studies in all of the following:
Family-Centered Practice for Supervised Visitation
Strengthening the Parent-Child Bond
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Supervised Visitation
Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment
Child Sexual Abuse
Supervised Visitation when allegations of sexual abuse
Adverse Childhood Experiences
Protective factors for families
To do everything possible to provide an atmosphere for parent-child bonding while making sure that the child has a safe visit.
To remain neutral with no opinions; your supervisor will avoid taking sides with either parent, and will keep your opinions about any aspect of the case to yourself.
To read your court order and Intake form to ensure a proper supervised visit is conducted for your family regarding the times, places, restrictions and conditions of the visits. The judge has considered how to best protect the child. Even if you do not agree with the order, do all that you can to make sure the visits occur as they are written in the court order.
To see and hear all contact and conversations between the child and non-custodial parent.
To not allow no derogatory comments about the other parent, his or her family, caretaker, child, or child’s brothers and sisters. If you use a non-professional monitor it is difficult to set boundaries and rules for a friend or family member because they are emotionally involved and can be biased or opinionated. Especially when those involved may be hurt or upset by the divorce or separation or about a particular parent.
To provide an environment for the child that is free from anger and unkind remarks, to help facilitate a positive relationship and create a pleasant experience with the child involved.
Allow no emotional, physical or sexual abuse, no spanking or hitting is allowed, Physical abuse could also include such things as pinching, pulling the child, tickling too hard, and playing too rough.
Emotional and verbal abuse includes such behavior as yelling and screaming; calling the child names such as “sissy”, “stupid”, or “dumb”; blaming and accusing the child; making fun of the child; threatening the child with physical abuse, harm to his or her loved ones and animals; or threatening, frightening situations for the child like abandonment or loss of a home and friends.
Sexual abuse includes inappropriate touching of the child’s body and inappropriate or suggestive language.
To pay close attention to the child’s responses during the visit. Something in the child’s experience may cause him or her to be particularly scared or sensitive to a person, place, animal, TV show, etc. If the child begins to seem afraid or upset, even.
For off site visits your monitor will set rules and boundaries for example, if the visits occur in your home, you may require the parent and child to stay within a certain area of the house or yard. If riding in the car, or playing in the park. The visit will be terminated if rules or boundaries are not kept.
To not allow no discussions of the court case or possible outcomes. The visits are about the relationship between the non-custodial parent and the child. It can be very stressful for children to hear about the court case.
To not allow any information gathering about the other parent or transmit information, personal possessions or papers.
To terminate or not allow supervised visits when the parent appears to be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.
The following rules apply to our Supervised Visitation Program in cases where there are allegations of sexual abuse, unless the court has made other orders. These cases are very painful to everyone involved. In cases of sexual allegation, enforcement of the following rules may be even more difficult among non-professional providers. Unless there are specific court ordered restrictions, the following restrictions are to apply:
- Allow no exchanges of gifts, money or cards;
- Allow no photographing, audio-taping, or videotaping of the child;
- Allow no physical contact with the child such as lap-sitting, hair combing, stroking, hand holding, prolonged wrestling, tickling, horse playing, changing diapers, or accompanying the child to the bathroom;
- Allow no whispering, passing notes, hand signals or body signals;
- Allow no supervised visitation in the location where the alleged sexual abuse occurred.
Yes, if the rules of the visit have been broken, the child has become very distressed, or if the safety of the monitor or the safety of the child is at risk, the visit will abruptly end. Depending on the situation, the visit may be temporarily interrupted to talk to the parent about the problem, The visit will be allowed to continue if the parent is cooperative, if the parent is not cooperative than the visit will abruptly end for that day.
If a visit is interrupted or ended than your visitation monitor will:
- Tell both parents why the visit was interrupted or ended.
- Take notes about the visit, including time, date, location and reasons for the interruption or termination.
The monitor is there to make every effort to keep your child safe and support your child in enjoying the visit with the supervised parent. Whether a paid professional, or a non-professional, family member or friend, the provider’s job is to make sure that the children involved in the visits are safe and free from any unnecessary stress. The provider must be present at all times during the visit, listen to what is being said, and pay close attention to the child’s behavior. If necessary, the provider may interrupt and end a visit. All providers are to report suspect child abuse to the Florida Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE.
When you use a Professional Providers, who are certified and trained, you are assured they are able to keep your children safe!