To make the process for supervised access easier for clients, please ensure that the Court Order does not stipulate specific times for visits. Dalhousie Place schedules visits based on availability. If the Court Order is too specific, we are forced to place clients on a waiting list for undetermined amounts of time. Good examples for wording Dalhousie Place in a Court Order (or Minutes of Settlement/Mediated Agreements) are:
"AND THIS COURT ORDERS THAT the applicant (respondent) shall have access to the child at the Dalhousie Place Supervised Access Centre (identify location) for two hours per week, the exact times and dates to be set by the Access Centre."
Clients should be informed they are to call the centre to make intake appointments. As a reminder, Dalhousie Place requires a Stamped Signed Court Order (or Minutes of Settlement/Mediated Agreements) to book an intake. The procedure at Dalhousie Place is that the Decision Making Parent completes their intakes before the Access Parent. Child Orientations then need to be completed. Before access can start, Dalhousie Place may require copies of restraining orders, bail orders, probation orders, and CAS file closure letters.
ONLY Court Orders can be enforced by police or the courts. Police will only accept actual official stamped orders, not endorsements. Individuals with letters of agreement need to understand that their agreements are not enforceable. In some instances police will only enforce orders if they are specifically designated in the order to do so.
Finally, the Supervised Access centre cannot determine whether a family can discontinue use of the service or change from supervised visits to exchanges. Therefore, it is important to include a mechanism for review of the use of the service after a period of time.
Reminder: Dalhousie Place requires that you have a new family court order that is dated AFTER any bail orders or criminal legal documents.
If your client has a complaint, please explain to your client that Dalhousie Place has a complaint process as part of the requirement of being a Province of Ontario funded Supervised Access Program. Advise them to follow the complaint procedure.