Monitors and Their Role
More often than not, when a client calls for services, we are often asked what the qualifications are of our employees. Our training complies with Uniform Standards of Practice for the California Court section 26.2. By law, through the California Court, every supervised visitation provider has to be at least 21 years of age or older, have a current copy of their First Aid and CPR certifications and Tuberculosis test, and complete a criminal background check through Trustline and Livescan. They also need to complete the CA Rules of Court Standard training and the 24-hour Supervised Visitation Monitoring training which covers a variety of topics including but not limited to:
• the role of a professional provider • child abuse reporting laws
• record keeping procedures • screening
• monitoring • termination of visitation
• developmental needs of children • legal responsibilities and obligations of a provider
• cultural sensitivity • conflicts of interest
• confidentiality and issues related to substance abuse, child abuse, or domestic violence.
It is also recommended that our providers addend any continuing education credits, whether it be seminars, conferences, or other trainings, which we keep them apprised of throughout the course of the year.
Our staff consists of mothers and fathers, grandparents, social workers, teachers, off-duty police personnel, students, Tech-types, office workers and many other walks of life. We are teachers, nurses, grandparents, parents and siblings of our own families. The first thing we look for when we hire on new monitors is the ability to not only give respect to our clients, but to also have the ability to maintain a neutral position. The monitors aid in providing a safe atmosphere so that the child or children can visit with the non-custodial parent. We are not therapists and we are not doctors. It is not our place to make an opinion about your situation or tell you how your relationship is with your child. We have monitors that are fluent in English, Spanish, Russian, Armenian, and Farsi.
The right monitor can ideally be a beacon of light in an often dismal situation. We perform our work while attempting not to interfere with normal healthy child-parent interaction. In order to help create a positive and comfortable situation for the children, our monitors are familiarized with the specifics of each new case referred to our company that they will be working on. We have open-ended discussions between our administrative staff and with our monitors, the case managers, and our clinical staff in order to assure un-biased, child-safe, and parent-friendly visitations as directed by the court. Each monitor will provide a written report on your visit within 5 days. That report will be available on request.
The responsibilities of the Monitor
The monitor’s job is to observe and notate everything they see and hear between the visiting parent and the child. To protect the child is our primary directive.Their other responsibilities include:
- To assure the safety and welfare of the child(ren).
- To observe and note all events that occur on the visitation.
- Avoid any attempt to take sides with either party.
- To be within sight and earshot of the child(ren) and the non-custodial party at all times and to ensure that all discussions are audible to the provider.
- To enforce the frequency and duration of the visits as ordered by the court.
- Speak language spoken by the child and the non-custodial party.
- At the onset of visitation, the monitor is to retrieve the child(ren) from the custodial parent and hand to non-custodial parent. This is to ensure the safety of all parties, including the parents, child(ren) and visitation monitor.
- To issue a warning, to interrupt, cancel, or terminate the visit in the event that the monitor observes that either party attempts to make any derogatory comments in front of the child(ren) about the other parent, his or her family, caretaker, child, or child’s siblings; attempts to discuss the court case or possible future outcomes in front of the child(ren); seems to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs during the monitored exchange or visit.
- To terminate the visit immediately, in the event that the monitor observes any signs of physical, mental, emotional, or sexual abuse, or in the event that the monitor believes that given activities locations or the behavior of either parent is dangerous to the safety of the child(ren).
- Monitor must report, as mandated by law, any suspicion of any child abuse (Penal Code § 11166).
- In the event that the visit is terminated, the monitor must use a cell phone or the nearest phone to arrange for alternate transportation. The monitored parent must cooperate and pay for this transportation.
DID YOU KNOW????? With the enactment of Family Code 3200.5, the definition of a “provider” has changed? Providers should use the definition provided in the Family Code (and not the definition of a provider as found in the Standard 5.20) effective January 1, 2013. There are many other areas within Family Code 3200.5 and Standard 5.20 that Providers should be trained in so that they understand the changes that may affect the delivery of court-ordered supervised visitation services.
Please review current legislative discussions regarding Standard 5.20 through measure AB1674. The new law, Family Code 3200.5, became effective on January 1, 2013 and affects Professional and Nonprofessional providers of supervised visitation.
California-based providers are expected to be trained on both Standard 5.20 and Family Code 3200.5 and they should understand the INTENT of these laws.
If you are interested in becoming a monitor, please download and fill out the form below.