Supervised Access Program
When parents separate or divorce, visits with the children may be difficult. Parents may prefer, or the Court may order, that a neutral third party oversees visits with children.
In other situations, exchanges or visits are problematic, and supervision of the exchanges may be preferred (or Court ordered) to allow for a safer, less stressful experience for the children and their parents.
The supervised access program provides a safe, neutral, and child-focused setting for children to visit with their non-custodial parent. All visits and exchanges take place under the supervision of trained staff and volunteers.
Our job is to ensure that the visit is safe for the child(ren). We can hear what is said and write a brief, neutral summary of the visit. We will intervene when comments are made that contravene our program guidelines.
Visits and exchanges take place in different Ottawa locations:
The Supervised Access Program Coordinator is available to meet with clients by appointment at Family Services Ottawa, Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. To book an appointment, call Coordinator at 613-725-3601 ext. 175.
Supervised visits and exchanges are offered on a sliding fee scale. Both parents pay a fee for service ($7 to $15.00 per visit/exchange depending on income) Clients may request a reduced fee by contacting the Program Coordinator.
How to Apply for Supervised Access
Please read the following instructions before completing the application:
Each parent/guardian must complete and submit a separate application form.
Submitting the application form is a request to participate in the program. It does not guarantee that service will be provided to you. The application form is not a legal document and it does not replace the need for a Family Court Order for custody and access.
Provide a copy of your Court Order, Minutes of Settlement, Endorsement or Mediation Agreement with the application form.
If you do not have a Court Order, a Mutual Agreement signed by both parents/guardians may be provided with the application form. Parents/guardians are encouraged to get legal advice before signing a Mutual Agreement. If your Court Order changes, a new copy must be provided to the centre as soon as possible.
Send completed application forms to the Supervised Access Program.
You can send the form using the following methods:
- Email the application form to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mail or drop off the form to Family Services à la famille Ottawa, 312 Parkdale Avenue, Ottawa, ON, K1Y 4X5;
- Fax the form to (613) 725-5651, attn: S.A.P. Coordinator.
- New applicants will receive a message from us acknowledging receipt of their application. If you have applied, please wait for us to contact you.
The current wait time for the Supervised Access Program is 6 months from the date that both applications from the custodial and non-custodial applicants are received.
Applicants on the wait list will be offered an intake interview in the order in which they applied.
Once both parents/guardians have submitted an application for service and a time for visits becomes available, the program coordinator will call each parent/guardian to schedule a separate intake interview.
During the intake interview, the program coordinator will review your application with you, explain the program guidelines and procedures to you, and collect relevant information about your family history. You will also be asked to sign consents for obtaining and releasing information. The intake usually takes about an hour.
Bring any additional documents that you have to your intake interview.
Additional documents may include:
- Children’s Aid Society documents
- Past or present restraining orders, probation and/or bail conditions;
- Proof of income in order to determine the fees that you will have to pay;
- Any other documents that you feel might be relevant.
After your intake interview, you will be offered the next available time slot that works for your schedule.
The custodial party will bring the child(ren) to an orientation visit at the Supervised Access Centre prior to visits starting.
The orientation is an opportunity for the child(ren) to learn more about our program and have their questions answered.
Note: For Firefox and Chrome users, please download the form prior to completing it as the form cannot be completed in the browser.
Frequently Asked Questions by Parents
How long will I wait to start visits?
The wait time for an intake interview, after receiving both applications for service, depends on the number of families requesting service and on the availability of day and time for visits. Once parents have completed the application process and intake interview, the visits can start as soon as there is an opening on a day and time that works for your family. When there is a wait list, there may be a wait of weeks to several months.
When are visits and exchanges possible?
A 2 hour visit every second week can be scheduled for Saturday or Sunday during the day. Exchanges are offered during the opening hours of the program (Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday from 2:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.). Other options can be discussed during the intake interview.
How much supervision is offered?
There is one trained volunteer or staff to supervise each visit. Up to 5 families may visit for each two hour period. At all times, two experienced staff are on site to provide support to both volunteers and families.
When would visits be terminated?
Families can remain involved with the Supervised Access Program until the children are 18 years old. Service could be terminated when the program guidelines are breached and resolution can’t be reached. We can’t recommend alternative arrangements so it is up to the parents, their lawyers or the Court to propose alternatives to continued supervised access.
Information for Service Providers and Professionals
Office of the Children’s Lawyer
Some visits can be organized even when the families are on the wait list, to accommodate the Office of the Children’s Lawyer (O.C.L.) representatives in completing their assessments. The O.C.L. representatives need to have both parents sign an authorization form, giving them permission to receive a copy of the observation notes from the supervised visits and also to attend visits between the non-custodial party and the child(ren).
Children’s Aid Society
We do not offer supervised visits when a family is involved with C.A.S. for protection concerns but may offer service when a family is involved with C.A.S. on a voluntary basis. It is suggested that the application form for the Supervised Access Program be submitted anyways as there might be a wait list and service might become available after a protection case is closed. Service will be suspended if a family becomes involved with C.A.S. for protection concerns until the case is closed or the family becomes involved voluntarily.
For further information about the Supervised Access Program call 613-725-3601 ext. 175 or email email@example.com
If you are interested in volunteering with the Supervised Access Program, please complete a volunteer application. Note: For Firefox and Chrome users, please download the form prior to completing it as the form cannot be completed in the browser.
For more information, contact the Volunteer Coordinator:
Phone: (613) 725-3601, ext. 123
Fax: (613) 725-5651