Topic: Supervised Visitation Programs

Scientific Ratings in this topic:

1 - Well-Supported by Research Evidence

2 - Supported by Research Evidence

3 - Promising Research Evidence

4 - Evidence Fails to Demonstrate Effect

5 - Concerning Practice

NR - Not able to be Rated

Learn more about the scale

Definition for Supervised Visitation Programs:

Supervised Visitation Programs are defined by the CEBC as programs that support face-to-face contact between parents and their children in foster care. These services are scheduled in advance in a neutral setting. This type of visitation maintains parent-child relationships necessary for successful family reunification while maintaining child safety. Research that has been conducted on supervised visitation identifies maintaining parent-child and other family attachments, in addition to, reducing the sense of abandonment that children experience during placement as potential benefits of this type of intervention.

  • Target population: Families with children in out-of-home placement through the child welfare system
  • Services/types that fit: Services focused on monitoring and supporting the visitation process that may occur in an office, community, or home setting
  • Delivered by: Child welfare workers or trained paraprofessionals
  • In order to be included: Program must specifically target supervised visitation as a goal
  • In order to be rated: There must be research evidence (as specified by Scientific Rating Scale) that examines the outcomes of supervised visitation services, such as decreased time to reunification, increased attachment between parent and child, or improved parenting skills.

Why was Supervised Visitation Programs chosen as a topic by the Advisory Committee? (Click for Answer)

The Supervised Visitation Programs topic area is relevant to child welfare because it is often a necessary step towards reunification of a child with their birth parent. Supervised visitation has been found to be strongly associated with the outcomes of placement, particularly family reunification, and with the length of stay in foster care. According to research, the children who were visited most frequently were more likely to be reunified with their parents and to experience shorter placements before reunification. In addition, researchers have found a relationship between the frequency of the parent-child visits and the child(ren)’s well-being while in foster care. Children in foster care who are visited frequently by their parents are more likely to have high well-being ratings and are more likely to adjust well to their foster care placement than are children less frequently or never visited. Frequent visiting has consistently been found not only to emotionally benefit children in care but also to contribute to the achievement of permanency.

Stuart Oppenheim
Executive Director
Child and Family Policy Institute of California
Sacramento, CA

Programs in this Topic Area

The programs listed below have been reviewed by the CEBC and, if appropriate, been rated using the Scientific Rating Scale.

Programs with a Scientific Rating of NR - Not able to be Rated: