Families First- Supervised Visitation & Exchange Program
Unless special circumstances exist, children generally fare best when they have the emotional support and ongoing involvement of both parents. Ongoing parental involvement fosters positive parent-child relationships and healthy emotional and social development. It is also beneficial to parents because it makes it more likely that the parents will have positive relationships with their children when the children become adults.
For parents who do not live together, it is important to cooperate with each other for the benefit of the children. Children adjust more easily to crisis and loss if their parents work together to develop healthy ways of communicating, resolving problems, and reducing conflict. It is important for parents to remember that formation of a positive parent-child relationship is a life-long process. The key to a successful parent-child relationship is the quality of time, rather than the quantity of time, spent together.
Establishing a visitation schedule is an area where parents may experience conflict. Our program is designed to assist parents in creating visitation schedules that focus on their children’s developmental needs from infancy through adolescence. In addition to visitation and exchange, we offer parent coaching to help identifies key tasks that children normally accomplish at each stage of development, and then identifies suggestions for visitation practices aimed at promoting healthy development at each developmental stage. Emphasis is placed on the importance of parents accommodating their children’s changing needs by creating visitation schedules that are routine and predictable, and yet flexible enough to change in frequency and duration to accommodate their children’s needs as they grow older.
Parents are encouraged to recognize that a visitation schedule that is best for one child may not be best for the child’s brothers and sisters. Parents are also encouraged to understand that visitation schedules that are best for their children may not be best for the parents. For the best interests of their children, parents may need to tolerate disruption of their own schedules and more or less visitation than they might otherwise choose. Many parents may also need to address their own feelings of loss, envy, anger, or disappointment when setting visitation schedules that are best for their children.