Supervised time

Supervised time

Supervised time, also known as supervised contact, is when a responsible independent person is present when a parent spends time with their children. This may be because:

  • the children have not spent much time with the parent and need to be slowly reintroduced
  • there are concerns about the children’s safety when they are in the other parent’s care.

The supervising person can be a person listed in a court order, a person nominated by a parent and agreed between the parties, or a person who works at a children’s contact service.

About children’s contact services

Children’s contact services help children and parents to maintain a relationship where high levels of conflict between the parents or concerns for the safety of family members make this difficult. It’s a neutral location where children can be dropped off and picked up or where children can spend supervised time with a parent.

How supervised time works

Supervised time could be from one hour to several hours at a time, every few days or weeks. It may happen in the evenings or on weekends. This can depend on whether it happens through a contact service, which may be more restricted, or with a person the court has agreed to allow to supervise visits.

What a supervisor does

The supervisor must be present at all times when the children are with the parent and keep the children safe at all times. This means that if the parent is behaving in a way that upsets the children, the supervisor can ask the parent to change their behaviour, or end the supervised time.

Supervisors may have to report to the court on how supervised time is going. They may have to give evidence about what happens during visits. The supervisor can also speak to the independent children’s lawyer, if one has been appointed for the children.

The supervisor should keep notes about when supervision happened, how long it went for, how it went and how the child responded.

Deciding to help with supervised time

If you are thinking about supervising time between a child and one of their parents or another family member, it’s important to:

  • understand how supervised time usually works
  • knowh what to consider before agreeing
  • understand preparation for supervised time
  • know where to get help. 

Find out more about Deciding to help with supervised time

Get help

Find out how you can get help with parenting arrangements and child contact.

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