What is supervised access?
When parents separate, access visits with children may be a problem. Sometimes, difficulties arise at
the time of the exchange of the child between the parents, or between the parent and a relative, such
as a grandparent. Other times, there may be concerns about the visits themselves. The supervised access
program offers separated families a way to deal with some of these problems. Supervised access centres
provide a safe and secure setting where visits and exchanges can take place under the supervision of
trained staff and volunteers. The program is funded by the Ministry of the Attorney General and is
delivered through partnerships with community-based organizations such as: children's mental health
centres, neighbourhood support centres, YMCAs and local children's societies. The Grey Bruce Supervised
Access Program is operated by The Salvation Army.
What does the Supervised Access Program do?
The Supervised Access Program:
- Provides a safe, neutral and child-focused setting for visits between a child and non-custodial family member
- Ensures the safety of all participants, including staff
- Provides trained staff and volunteers who are sensitive to the needs of the child(ren)
- Provides the court and/or lawyers with factual observations notes about the participants' use of the service (when requested)
Who can use the Supervised Access Program?
Families can use the supervised access program if:
Please contact the Coordinator at 519-371-5991.
- they have a court order for supervised visits and/or exchanges; or
- both parties agree, in writing, to the use of a supervised access centre
Are there fees?
Yes. Fees are based on guidelines set by the Ministry. The Grey Bruce Supervised Access Program user fees are as follows:
Subsidy is available to those who qualify. Policy states that parties split the fees for their child(ren)'s visits,
unless otherwise stated in a court order. Reports documenting visits or exchanges are based on a sliding scale up
to $400.00. Please allow for a minimum of 2. Payment in full is needed before the report will be released.
- On-site visits are $30.00 (subsidy available)
- Exchanges (to and from) are $25.00 (subsidy available)
How do I access centre services?
You must contact the supervised access centre directly. The centre will require a
copy of your court order, endorsement or agreement for supervised access. Both parents will be asked to participate in separate
intake interviews at the centre before service is offered. Each parent will be asked to sign an agreement with the centre, including
release of information forms. Payment of fees will also be discussed at this time. The children may be invited to meet the
centre staff and tour the centre before or on the day of the first visit to help prepare them for the visit or exchange. For
further details, please contact our office at 519-371-5991.
Why might supervised visits occur?
Families may use supervised access services for the follow reasons:
- Difficulty resulting from a separation or divorce
- Reunion of parent and child after a lengthy separation
- Possible threat of harm to a child or adult
- Flight risk
- Parent or relative require assistance with parenting skills
- Inconsistency with visitation schedule
How do supervised access centres ensure the safety of families and staff?
Safety measures include:
- staggered arrival and departure times
- separate parking areas
- professionally trained staff with appropriate intervention skills (First Aid, CPR, NVCI), who are sensitive to the needs of children
- staff who accompany children at all times during visits
- a close relationship with local police
- staff equipped with panic alert pendants
- security checks for all staff
- enclosed outdoor play areas
Does the Supervised Access Program make custody and access recommendations?
No. Supervised access centres provide a place for visits and exchanges. Factual observations provided by the supervised
access centre may, however, provide information to guide an assessor in making recommendations to the court or may
assist the court in making orders that are in the best interest of the child.
Does the Supervised Access Program provide services other than supervised visits and exchanges?
No. The Supervised Access Program does not provide services such as counseling, mediation, therapy, or parent education.
Does the supervised access program provide offsite or one-on-one visits?
No. Visits and exchanges are limited to on-site, group settings.
Is there a limit on the period of time a family can use the supervised access program?
No. In some cases, families require supervised access over a long, or unspecified, period of
time (e.g. cases where mental health concerns or violence are issues).
Do staff have special skills or training?
Yes. They are trained to be aware of issues such as family violence, child development, abuse, mental
health and substance abuse problems. Staff must be sensitive to the needs of children, particularly
those who are involved in high conflict custody and access disputes.
Does the supervised access program provide service to children who are in the care of Bruce Grey Child & Family Services?
No. The supervised access program supervises visits and exchanges in custody and access matters.
Child welfare (protection) cases are governed by the Child and Family Services Act and are
typically supervised by the Bruce Grey Child & Family Services.
Are supervised access services provided only by the government-funded centres?
No. Other supervised access arrangements exist in Ontario, including private "for profit" centres and private individuals
charging a fee for service. These arrangements are not accountable to the provincial program. Ministry funded supervised
access centres sign an agreement with the ministry requiring them to meet specific criteria.
How do I get started?
Although many referrals begin with the legal community, you do not need a referral to be involved with the program. If you do
not have legal counsel or other professional help to arrange visitation, please contact the Coordinator at 519-371-5991.
The Coordinator will schedule an intake appointment to explain the service and review documents. You must bring your child’s
health card and any court orders. Visits or exchanges will be scheduled after both family members have completed separate intakes.