Advocate News


08.31.2015

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Advocate Tip:  Parent Child Visitation

Parent – Child Visitation

As a CASA volunteer it is important to be able to report to the court on observations made during parent-child visits. That is why one of the minimum expectations of a CASA volunteer is that you observe at least one parent-child visit before every court hearing.  

Visitation Schedules

At the beginning of every legal case, the legal caseworker should develop a visitation schedule for each of the parents in the case. The frequency of visitations at the beginning of a case is outlined by the court during the 262 hearing. The days, times, and locations of parent-child visits is most often coordinated by the caseworker, and is often determined by the parent’s availability. Caseworkers should take the parent’s work schedule, other required services, and the children’s schedules into account when determining the schedule for parent-child visits. As the case progresses, the frequency, location, and level of supervision may change, and is most often dependent on the parent’s progress with services. Maintaining regular contact with the caseworker can help ensure that the CASA volunteer is aware of changes to the parent-child visitation schedule. 

Observation

CASA volunteers should observe the way that parents interact with the child individually, and if working with a sibling group, how the family interacts as a whole. Some of the things to look for can include how the children react at the start of the visits, how the parent responds to the children’s behaviors, the level of engagement between the parent and the children, and the children’s actions when the visit ends. Advocates should also be observant of ways that the parent may have prepared for the visit (bringing games or activities, snacks or food, other items the children may want or need for the duration of the visit). 

Important Reminders

During the parent-child visitation, the role of the CASA volunteer is simply to observe the parent’s interaction with the children and vice versa. A CPS caseworker should be present for supervised parent-child visits, unless the court has granted permission for another individual to supervise the visits. CASA volunteers should never be responsible for supervising a parent-child visit. If the caseworker is not present for the parent-child visits, the advocate can contact them following the visit to report any concerning observations.

  1. What types of things should the CASA volunteer observe during the parent-child visits?
  2. True or False. The CASA volunteer can supervise parent-child visits if the caseworker is unavailable.
  3. How is the frequency of parent-child visits determined at the beginning of the legal case?

To receive 1 hour worth of training credit, read the above article and submit answers to the accompanying training questions to Anna Munoz at amunoz@casa-satx.org.