What Is Supervised Visitation?
Supervised Visitation is provided to non-custodial parents who have a prior history of domestic or sexual violence. Supervised Visitation is often required because of the non-custodial parent’s past history of violence, an existing restraining order, or other issues which could affect the safety and well-being of the child.
Supervised Visitation programs were established to ensure the safety and wellbeing of families during the time of contact between the non-custodial parent and child. It also enables an ongoing relationship between the non-custodial parent and their child in a safe environment.
This program is offered at New Hope’s MJ Leadenham Center (click here for office location). The MJ Leadenham Center is a warm, child-friendly setting conveniently located in downtown Worcester, Massachusetts.
The Center is specifically structured to ensure safety of both the children and custodial parents. With Supervised Visitation, custodial and non-custodial parents are kept separated and children are never left alone or unsupervised in order to assure that visits can be as friendly, safe and supportive as possible.
We assist the parents in enhancing their interaction with their children. Our staff model healthy parenting skills with these adults as they visit with their children in a safe, nurturing and monitored setting. Staff members observe each visit, make observational notes for the courts and Probation Department, and provide supportive redirection and assistance to parents – all with the overarching goal of preventing future violence.
Our Supervised Visitation program is the only visitation center for families dealing with domestic violence in all of Worcester County.
At the MJ Leadenham Center, three forms of supervised visitation services are offered: Supervised Visitation, Monitored Visitation, and Monitored Exchanges. Before services can be provided, all parties must participate in an interview, or intake, to ensure their eligibility and maximize their success within this program.
- Supervised Visitation: Non-custodial parties are able to visit with their children in a safe, healthy environment with trained staff present at all times. Observation notes are taken by staff to document the parent/child contact during a one hour visit (once a week, or once every 2 weeks). The non-custodial parent arrives 15 minutes prior to the scheduled visit, and stays 15 minutes after the visit has ended to ensure that there is no contact or communication with the custodial parent. Currently, supervised visits are available on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
- Monitored Visitation: Occurs on-site with trained staff assisting when needed. Staff periodically checks in on the parent/child contact. However, Staff does not sit in and observe the entire visit as with Supervised Visitation.
- Monitored Exchanges: On-site supervised exchanges of children between the custodial and non-custodial parties. Supervision is limited to the exchange/transfer only with the remainder of the parent/child contact remaining unsupervised. The staggered arrival and departure policy remains in place.
Supervised Visitation Fees:
- Fees are $50.00 per intake, per party- both the visiting party and custodial party must pay the $50 fee. From there, the fee for each visit is based on a sliding scale determined by the income of the visiting party, as it is paid by the visiting party and not the custodial party. This is an hourly charge ranging from $15.00 – $75.00 per hour. Income verification is required during the intake process.
- Monitored exchanges are a set rate of $25 per exchange. Open Adoptions are a set rate of $50 per hour.
Hours of Operation for Visits:
- Thursday: 5pm-8pm
- Friday: 5pm-8pm
- Saturday: 9am-2pm
How Can I Refer Myself or Someone Else To This Program?
Referrals are received from Probate and District Courts, the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF), Domestic Violence Programs, Social Service Agencies, Therapists, and Attorneys, as well as self-referrals from clients themselves.
To make a direct referral, please contact our office at (508) 753-3146. The office will take all necessary information including the parties’ names and the disposition of the case, as well as contact information. Additional information and reports can be faxed to the office at (508) 753-3148.
Please be advised that the non-custodial (visiting) party must complete their intake first. The custodial party (with the child(ren)) will complete their intake after the non-custodial party. Visitation will NOT be scheduled until both intakes are complete, and both intake fees are paid. The visitation schedule is based on availability at the Center, applicable court orders, and the schedules of the family members involved.
Once all necessary intakes have been completed, and the center has determined that there are no high-risk safety concerns, our staff will then contact the parties and schedule a visit time that is convenient for both.
*New Hope, Inc., is a member of the National Supervised Visitation Network (SVN) which provides information to its members, to other professionals, and to the general public including parents and children who may need Supervised Visitation or related services.
*New Hope, Inc., is also a member of the Massachusetts Coalition for Supervised Visitations (MCSV). The Coalition meets on a monthly basis to discuss current issues and share information and resources.