Supervised Access Centres provide a safe and non-threatening, child-focused, neutral environment for visits and exchanges between children and non-residential parties or other persons such as grandparents where there is a concern for the safety of the child and /or the adults using the access centre by:
- Providing an environment that is non-stigmatizing and accessible
- Where families feel welcome regardless of their religious, ethnic or socio-economic background, gender, race, ability, sexual orientation or reason for referral;
- Providing a safe drop-off/pick-up point where children may be transferred between a residential party or other approved person, and the non-residential party for visits or exchanges;
- Helping ease the tensions of access arrangements for children and for both the residential and non-residential parties, eliminating direct contact, reducing opportunities for children to be subjected to conflict at the time of access;
- Ensuring the safety of all persons involved in the program, including staff and volunteers;
- Facilitating families to carry out their access requirements as stipulated by court orders or by written agreement of the parties subject to the availability of the access centre;
- Directly supervising and monitoring all interactions between participants and children and intervening when the safety, health or welfare of the child or other participants is at risk;
- Being an impartial observer and not an agent of either party, to assure that visitation is facilitated without risk to the health, safety or welfare of any child or any adult participant;
- Ensuring that both parties are following the Centre's policies and procedure guidelines, which are provided to clients during the intake process;
- Providing, on request, factual documentation on the interaction between participants and children during access visits or exchanges to legal counsel and/or the parties;
- Creating and maintaining strong liaisons with stakeholders in the community to ensure that supervised access services are meeting the needs of local communities and families using the services.
THE LEGISLATEIVE FRAMEWORK FOR SUPERVISED ACCESS
The Supervised Access Program is not a regulated or mandated service. Therefore, even when ordered by the Court, the use of a Supervised Access Centre is voluntary in nature. Each party decides and agrees to use the services of the Centre based on the individual Centre’s policies and procedures, as well as the Agreement for Service and any other documentation signed.
The CLRA (Children's Law Reform Act) subsections 34 (1) and 34 (2) provide the legislative framework for supervised access in custody and access matters.