ontario specific information but
similar services exist in other parts of canada
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 or private setting and supervised exchanges for off-site unsupervised access.
When is supervised access appropriate?
You might want to consider using the supervised access program in your community if:
- You do not think your children will be safe with their other parent.
- You are worried that your ex-partner might not return them after an access visit.
- You have concerns about your own safety during the exchanges of your children.
- There has been a long period of time since your children have seen their other parent.
- The other parent has a drug or alcohol problem that could endanger the children.
When are supervised exchanges appropriate?
Supervised exchanges allow you and your ex-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 I 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 ex-partner must have a signed written agreement about using the program.
Before your family is accepted into the program, you and your ex-partner must each complete an intake interview and agree to follow the policies and procedures of the program.
How do supervised 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.
Fees for the program
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 Attorney General’s website: attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca