Our Children Need You
Apply to become a volunteer or paid monitor today. Our families
need YOU to observe court-ordered supervision and take notes
on the visitation.
"This job is rewarding. I enjoy helping people and that’s
what CRC is about."
How do I help as a volunteer or paid monitor?
You have volunteered to do a very important job – to supervise a parent’s visits with his or her child. This job is important because:
- You are filling a position of trust. We believe that you will look out for every child’s health, safety, and well-being during a visit. Parents trust that you will not take sides, but always reflect objectivity and fairness during your observation.
- The court has ordered supervised visitation. The court order mandates that a monitor must always be present during the parent’s supervised visits. Your job is to watch and listen to make sure that children are safe and protected during visits. The transcribed notes from your observation may be subpoenaed by the court to assist in making determinations of custody or other decisions regarding a parent’s future relationship with a child.
Why do courts order a supervised or monitored visit or exchange?
When domestic relations or juvenile court judges make decisions about custody and visitation, they must follow the law. That means that they must make decisions and issue orders that are best for the
- and others (such as grandparents) who are involved with the family.
In some cases, a judge may order supervised visitation to make sure
- that children are safe and protected when they are with a parent, or
- that children get contact with both their parents, including the non-custodial one.
Monitors may be asked to
- supervise visits with children by being present at all times during the visit between parents and children,
- “monitor” a visit by periodically checking on a visit between parent and child during the visit, or
- supervise an “exchange” when the children move from one parent’s custody to the other’s. Exchanges may be for several hours or for a weekend, according to the judge’s orders.
What are the requirements for a volunteer monitor?
The most important thing is your commitment to serve the needs of children and families experiencing divorce or family break-up. Otherwise, here is what is required:
- You must be conscientious. When you commit to supervise a visit, the children expect you to be there for them. If you are unable to be present for a scheduled supervision, let the CRC office know as soon as possible so that another monitor can be scheduled.
- You must be at least 18 years of age.
- You must have no record of a conviction for child molestation, child abuse, or other crimes against a person.
- You cannot have been on parole or probation for the past ten years.
- You cannot have had civil, criminal, or juvenile restraining orders within the past ten years.
- You cannot be subject of any current or past court orders regarding supervised visitation.
What are a monitor’s duties?
Your foremost duty as a visitation monitor is to make sure that the child is safe, protected, and secure. Here’s how to do that:
- Make sure that the child you care for and adults you serve are safe. If there is more than one child, make certain there are enough monitors assigned to care for the children’s safety.
- Learn about each child’s health needs, particularly food allergies, and the type of care they may need in different situations.
- Be prepared to end a visit if a child is noticeably upset.
- Report abuse if you see it happen or you suspect that it may have occurred. Be prepared to report about things parents say or do. Make certain that parents know that your reports may be made available to the court.
- While you are monitoring, be objective and do not take sides of either parent. Do not talk about the case to the children or either parent.
- Read and follow the court order for the visitation. You MUST follow the court order regarding times, places, and special considerations that the judge includes in the order.
What are a monitor’s duties during a visit?
Watch and listen.
- To keep a child safe, watch what is happening and listen to hear what is said. That means you must be close enough to see and hear at all times. To make sure you can hear and see at all times, you may have to do some advance planning regarding your restroom breaks or phone calls.
- Make certain that you do not text or send emails while you are supervising a visit. Don’t visit with friends or chat with other monitors.
Do not permit negative comments about the child, the other parent, or other family members.
- A supervised visit is a parent’s time to build a healthy parent/child relationship. As a monitor, it’s your job to make certain that the visit is a healthy time for a child and parent. Efforts by one parent to demean the other or to undermine a child’s relationship with the other parent or other members of the family are not healthy for the child caught in the middle.
Don’t permit discussion about the court case.
- Children need to be protected from the ongoing court case. They have their own emotional challenges to deal with. You may need to remind a parent that the court expects children to be kept out of adult talk about the court case.
Don’t allow the child or yourself to be used as a messenger.
- It’s not healthy for you or the child to be in the middle. Don’t send or give information from one household to another, and don’t allow the child to be used as a communicator. The CRC has a parent communication process that can be used to share information from parent to parent.
Don’t permit emotional, physical, or sexual abuse during a visit. That means the parent must never spank, hit, or threaten the child at any time.
- Physical abuse includes pinching, pulling, tickling too hard, or
playing too rough.
- Emotional or verbal abuse includes yelling at or putting down the child, like calling the child “stupid” or “fat.”
- Threats include threatening physical abuse to the child or harm to the child’s loved ones or animals. Threats also include suggesting frightening situations that affect the child, like abandonment or loss of a home or friends.
Don’t permit a visit to occur if the parent is under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.
- If a parent shows up and seems high or drunk, do not allow the visit to take place. Find a safe way to end the visit right away. Contact the CRC security officer to assist, if necessary. Make efforts to ensure that the child does not witness any argument.
Can I stop or pause a visit?
Yes. Stop a visit at any time if you have safety concerns about the child’s physical or emotional well-being.
- Talk to the parent away from the child, if it is safe to do so.
- After speaking with the parent, allow the visit to continue if you think it can be done safely. If not, end the visit for the day.
- If you have decided to end the visit, tell the parent right away.
- Include reasons for the pause or termination of the visit in your notes. Include the time, date, location, and reasons you stopped or paused the visit. The court or the other parent’s attorney may ask about it later. You may also be required to take your notes to court and give more information about what happened.
Can friends or relatives be at the visit?
Yes. IF the court order does not specifically prohibit guests from attending, a guest may attend IF there is no overarching safety reason that would prohibit that person attending. Parents may have a guest come just one time per month. More than one guest may come at a time but not more than three guests at a time. Monitors would be responsible for the safety of the child visiting.
Should I report child abuse?
You are not mandated to report abuse, but you are encouraged to do so. If you see unexplained bruises or marks on a child, or if a child tells you about abuse, report it to the Family and Child Abuse Prevention Center at