Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Supervised Exchanges - How they work

Supervised exchanges comprise a significant portion of our business.  Oftentimes these are court ordered as a result of a no-contact, restraining or domestic violence protection order. However, on occasion, our services have been requested simply to ensure the safe and smooth exchange of a child or children during a particularly stressful or difficult time between parents.

Supervised exchanges are always done in public places, typically a coffee house, library or other facility that provides a safe and secure place for the children.

Our agency provides a supervisor who is well versed in the situation and is excellent with children as there is a generally a 10-15 minute period between the time the child is dropped of by one parent and picked up by the other.  Neither parent is to linger at the drop off location nor arrive early if they are the one receiving the child from the other parent.

Supervised exchanges can be tough on parents and children alike. Some of the stress for the children can be mitigated by explaining to them, before the first exchange, what is going to happen. We suggest that during the first exchange with a new supervisor, the parent who arrives with the child should plan to stay for 5-10 minutes to introduce the child to the exchange supervisor and help them feel comfortable. We also recommend that children bring a favorite doll, game or toy to help them feel more relaxed, and to help those 10 minutes or so without a parent feel a little shorter.

Shuttling between parents is seldom easy for children, even under the best of circumstances. Our goal at Children First is to help those more difficult exchanges occur in a safe, calm, and stress-free environment.

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