Therapeutic Supervised Visitations

Photo by vadimguzhva/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by vadimguzhva/iStock / Getty Images


Please feel free to call our office for any questions regarding fees, safety, requirements, or for an over-the-phone consultation with one of our visitation supervisors: 813-240-3237

What are Therapeutic Supervised Visitations?

Supervised Visitations are typically (not always) court-ordered and allow non-custodial parents or guardians to meet with their children in a safe and controlled environment, with the guidance of a neutral mental health provider, who supervises the visitation and writes a brief report about what took place. Normally, the visitations occur weekly at our agency, for a predetermined amount of time. The frequency and duration of these visits are generally decided by a judge, or between attorneys through an agreed order.

What is the Purpose of Supervised Visitations?

The purpose and goal of supervised visitations is to enable an ongoing relationship between the non-custodial parent and child by impartially observing their contact in a safe and structured environment. We also facilitate and maintain appropriate child/parent interaction during supervised contact and allow the judge to make informed decisions, based on the outcome of these visits.

Another purpose of supervised visitations is to allow a safe and educational learning experience for the non-custodial parent. In our South Tampa Therapy & Mediation Therapeutic Supervised Visitation Program, if the parent makes a mistake, the mental health professional is able to intervene and correct the behavior, therefore teaching the parent correct parenting skills.

Who Needs Therapeutic Supervised Visitations?

The court and parents who want relationship based forensic family systems therapy – psychotherapy that will solve the family conflict and facilitate the family’s successful transition to a healthy and functional separated family structure following divorce, which is always in the child’s best interests.

Normally high-conflict families who are at risk for domestic violence, physical or verbal abuse, and parents with a history of poor parenting skills require the use of therapeutic supervised visitation programs. Those who have previous allegations of sexual abuse, who have threatened to abscond with the child, or with a history of parental alienation are also generally good candidates for therapeutically supervised visitation in our Hillsborough County office.

Who Supervises the Visitations?

Although programs across Florida may differ, here at South Tampa Therapy & Mediation, our counselor and supervisors are family systems, relationship based, and forensically trained mental health professionals who follow strict guidelines and are comfortable offering guidance to the court, based on their observations. By having mental health professionals supervise visitations, our staff is able to assist in identifying and attempting to correct any issues that may prevent the parent from having a healthy and productive relationship with their child.

Our agency places a large importance on the safety of all parties involved in the visitations, which is another reason why we chose mental health professionals who follow strict guidelines to ensure that safety is maintained. As mental health professionals we are able to recognize poor or dangerous behaviors or acts that may be harmful to the child, and immediately terminate visits if the need arises. 

What Kind of Safety Measures or Rules Does South Tampa Therapy & Mediation Have for Supervised Visitations?

The safety of all parties involved in the visitation is one of the most important factors in creating an effective visitation program. The non-custodial visiting party arrives ten to fifteen minutes prior to the visit, and waits until the supervisor informs them that he/she can leave the office at the end of the visit. This allows the custodial parent to leave and as a result, avoid the possibility of any type of confrontation between the parties occurring in front of the child. Here is a brief list from our regulations form: 

  • Weapons are not allowed in the office (pepper spray, knives, guns, taser, any kind of self-defense weapons, etc)

  • No use of crude or foul language

  • No whispering

  • No note passing

  • No rough play with children

  • No yelling

  • No use of cell phones during visitation hours

  • No negative conversations or tone of voice regarding either parent or caregiver to child

  • No false promises or statements regarding time sharing arrangements

  • No disrespecting staff or children

  • No physical punishment or degrading comments

  • If accusations involve sexual abuse, physical contact will be minimal between parent/caregiver and child (i.e. no sitting on the lap)

  • Parents should follow instructions of the staff and be respectful

  • No attempt to exit the visitation area with child (see kidnap clause)

  • No introduction of food or toys without proper inspection and disclosure of the items

  • No backpacks, purses, or duffle bags allowed in the visitation area with children

  • Neither party shall speak negatively about the other in front of the child.

  • Neither party shall discuss legal issues or complaints regarding their situation in front of the child.

  • If there is a Protection From Abuse order in effect, it shall be honored.

Can Visitation be Terminated by Your Agency?

Here is a short list of reasons why our monitors would terminate visitations:

  • Safety concerns or other case issues that cannot be effectively managed by the provider

  • Excessive demand on the provider’s resources

  • The parent’s failure to comply with the conditions or rules for participation in the program

  • Nonpayment of program fees

  • Threat of actual violence or abuse

Photo by KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock / Getty Images