Ban term ‘Supervised Visitation’ – ‘assisted’ is more appropriate

In Rhode Island Family Court, the Court may order “supervised” visits in certain situations. Supervised visits are sometimes ordered when there is concern over:

  • the non-custodial parent’s parenting abilities,
  • domestic abuse,
  • the parent has a drug problem
  • or there is a lack of parent-child bond or for other reasons.

These visits are either for one hour at the Providence Family Court or supervised by a third party outside of Court or by DCYF.

The term “supervised visitation” should be banned


Supervised Visitation

When a parent requests that the other parent’s visitation with a child be supervised, it has negative connotation to the parent who must have their visits “supervised.”

Counter-intuitively, supervised visitation can, in some limited circumstances, be beneficial to a parent for several reason.

  • If one parent is alleging a lack of a bond or proper parent child relationship, then supervised visitation may provide an independent witness to defeat the claims.
  • Supervised visits may go well, indicating to the judge that supervised visits are not needed any further.
  • Supervised visits also provide an independent witness to establish that there has been no abuse.

These visits should be termed ‘monitored’ or ‘assisted’ visitation

Monitored visitation is a much more neutral term because the facilitator would be monitoring to see how the visits went and reporting to the RI Family Court Judge or guardian ad litem. The Facilitator would help determine whether mother’s allegations have merit and whether the supervised visits need to continue. If there is a young child, and one parent has no experience parenting experience, then “assisted visitation” may be a more appropriate terminology.

Drug or alcohol issues

In some case, the parent has supervised visits because of a drug or alcohol problem. The visit facilitator would monitor to see whether the parent is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

“Supervised visitation is when the noncustodial parent can visit with the child only when supervised by another adult. It is used to keep the child safe and support the parent/child relationship at the same time. If supervised visitation is necessary, the court will order it and it will be part of the parenting plan. The parents may also need to make a visitation schedule so that the supervised visits can happen.” Custody Xchange