Visit Coaching

About This Program

Target Population: Parents whose child(ren) are living in foster care and see them only during visits

Program Overview

Visit Coaching (developed by Marty Beyer, PhD) is fundamentally different from supervised visits because the focus is on the strengths of the family and the needs of the children. Visit Coaching supports families to meet the unique needs of each child during their family time in the community, family homes, visit centers, or offices. Visit Coaching includes:

  • Helping parents understand the unique developmental needs of their child and demonstrate that understanding during visits with their child
  • Preparing parents for their children's trauma-related needs and reactions during visits
  • Helping parents give their children their full attention at each visit
  • Building on the parent's strengths in meeting each child's needs
  • Helping parents visit consistently and keep their sadness, anger, and other issues out of the visit

Program Goals

The goals of Visit Coaching are:

  • Parents articulating each of their children's unique needs
  • Parents meeting their children's developmental, trauma-related and safety needs during visits
  • Parents keeping their own issues from distracting them from giving their children their full attention during visits

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for Visit Coaching.

Essential Components

The essential components of Visit Coaching include:

  • Visit Plan Meeting (prior to starting Visit Coaching)
    • Ensure that the parent takes ownership of their family time
    • Draw their children's needs out of the parent
    • Validate the parent's concerns and help the parent plan how to keep their worries from getting in the way of giving their full attention to their child
  • Pre-visit Coaching (at the beginning of each visit)
    • Remind the parent of each child's needs to be met during the visit
  • Coaching During the Visit
    • Support the parent in being responsive to each child's individual needs without directing parenting
    • Support the parent in keeping their issues from getting in the way of being responsive to their children's needs
    • Appreciate the family's culture and unique ways of meeting their children's needs
    • Support co-parenting if more than one adult is visiting the child
  • Post-visit Debrief (at the end of each visit)
    • Help the parent assess their responsiveness to each of their children's needs in the visit
    • Help the parent appreciate how they could more effectively meet their child's need
  • Partnering
    • Encourage communication between parent and foster parent/kin about child's needs
    • Encourage regular meetings of parent-caseworker-visit coach to review child's needs and how parent is meeting them and ensure parent understanding of the importance of both visits that meet the child's needs and lifestyle changes that will address the child's unmet safety needs that brought them into care

Program Delivery

Parent/Caregiver Services

Visit Coaching directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • Parents with children in foster care who may have difficulty meeting the children's needs during visits; children may have difficulties with attachment and adjustment to separation from family
Services Involve Family/Support Structures:

This program involves the family or other support systems in the individual's treatment: Visit Coaching occurs only in family visits with children in foster care so the children are involved.

Recommended Intensity:

1- to 3-hour family visit at least once per week, but can occur as often as three times per week

Recommended Duration:

Varies with the family, about 3-6 months

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Birth Family Home
  • Community Daily Living Setting
  • Foster / Kinship Care
  • Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider
  • School Setting (Including: Day Care, Day Treatment Programs, etc.)


This program does not include a homework component.

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

If the coached visits are inside, visit rooms must have child-friendly furniture; space for activities; music, books, art supplies, and toys appropriate for the child's age; and clean, comfortable floors for young children. In family homes, parents or coaches can bring play supplies.

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

No minimum requirements other than training and experience. Visit Coaches have had Master's or Bachelor's degrees, but many have had years of experience with children and do not have degrees

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training Type/Location:

On-site, arranged with each site to include visit coach trainees and their supervisors. Dr. Beyer has also offered the program regionally through University of California (UC) Davis Extension to county Visit Coaching teams.

Visit Coaching cannot be taught from the manual by someone who is not an experienced visit coach. Dr. Beyer has provided a limited number of Training for Trainers programs by special arrangement.

Number of days/hours:

Visit Coaches receive a 2-day training program provided by Marty Beyer, PhD or Auguste Elliott, PhD followed by one day of group supervision where coaches present their families and refine their approaches; the developer is also available to continue to provide supervision by teleconference and to support the implementation team at each Visit Coaching site. Continuing support through teleconference is available.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for Visit Coaching.

Additional References

Beyer, M. (2008). Visit Coaching: Building on family strengths to meet children's needs. Juvenile and Family Court Journal, 59(1), 47-60.

Meyer, M., Blumenthal-Guigui, R., & Krupat, T. (2010). Strengthening parent-child relationships: Visit Coaching with children and their incarcerated parents. In Y. R. Harris, J. A. Graham, & G. O. Carpenter, (Eds.), Children of incarcerated parents: Theoretical developmental and clinical issues (pp. 187-214), New York: Springer Publishing Company.

Williams, M., & Beyer, M. (2009). Exploring options for better visiting, Children's Voice, 18(1).

Contact Information

Marty Beyer, PhD
Agency/Affiliation: Independent Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Consultant
Phone: (703) 966-8336

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: December 2016

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: May 2017

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: May 2017