The Range of Supervised Access – From Supervised to Unsupervised


If you are the parent who hacanstockphoto23651678d or has to have visits with your children supervised, the question that would likely be asked is “Why,” and for how long.

This situation is often frustrating with feelings of anger and resentment. To help dismantle these feelings and help build a healthy relationship for parents and children, these questions need to be looked at from all sectors: the courts; lawyers; access centres; parents and the family.

When a decision is made by the courts for supervised access, it is made in the best interest of the child. However, this decision is seen as only temporary. The reality is that if there are no goals or steps to increase and develop the relationship between parent and the child, the courts decision feels like forever.

When the parent (often the non-custodial parent) and the child begin this process it feels like a dark cloud with no hope of movement or change. Sometimes the parent and child access visits continues with no understanding of their relationship, no known progress.

When the decision is made for supervised access the question to address is how long will the duration be and how will the parent and child transition from one stage of supervised access to unsupervised in the best interest of both.

It is of great benefit to a parent child relationship that they are allowed the opportunity to develop their relationship through supervised access. When the decision is made, all sectors including the parent, need to be inline with the goal for access and the healthy development of the parent-child relationship.

When looking at this decision of being temporary and transitioning from one stage to another, the following issues must be considered with commitments:

  • Does the parent understand the reasons for supervised access, does the child;
  • What are the concerns around the parent-child relationship that need to change;
  • Does the parent need to seek services to address those issues;
  • Has the parent and child made progress in their relationship;
  • Does the access centre provide ongoing support to parents through this stage and updates on parents in their progress;
  • Does the access centre provide teachable moments to parents when needed;
  • Does the access notes show the progress of the relationship;
  • Does the goal for the lawyer and parent match to reach the next stage of access, increasing to no supervision.

As part of the intake process for supervised access it is important the parent is helped to identify the things needed to help maintain a healthy parent child relationship. Both parties should work to increase access with the goal of minimal to no supervision. At Side by Side Services, we help parents work towards this goal. This begins at the first contact with the parent and the family. Please visit our website for more information or call us 416-518-1569