Supervised Child Visitation in California

According to California law, it is in a child’s best interest to have continuing contact with each parent throughout his or her childhood, unless there is an overriding reason to prevent or limit the parental contact. If a court determines that parental contact with a child should be limited, supervised visitation may be ordered.

Supervised visitation can be ordered in instances, such as:

  • To assist in reintroducing a parent and a child after a long absence or introducing a parent to a child when there has been no existing relationship between them;
  • If there are parenting concerns and/or mental illness;
  • If there is a history of and/or allegations of domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, or substance abuse; and/or
  • If there is a parental threat of abduction of the child.

When supervised visitation is ordered, a person and a location must be provided to supervise (monitor) the visitation. This person may be a family member or a friend, with the location of their home (known as a non-professional provider). This person is not paid for his/her services. Or, it may be a paid professional and in a professional office setting (known as a professional provider) who can charge a fee for the service. Either way, it is the obligation of the visitation supervisor to ensure the child with a safe environment while visiting with the parent.

California Family Code Section 3200.5 provides the guidelines for both the non-professional provider and the professional provider, and the training each type of visitation provider must receive before visitation services can be provided. The section also provides the requirements necessary to act as a provider including age (over 21), lack of criminal record, and be able to speak the language of the child and the visiting parent, and specific educational requirements for professional providers.

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