One of the hardest things to do is to actually get the visits started. As mentioned in other blog posts, a well crafted order can save hours if not weeks in terms of getting visits underway.
For Children First, we will need to see any court orders that address visitation along with the contact name, number and/or email address of the other party's attorney or if they do not have one, of the other party. As with all agencies, we have forms to review, sign and return prior to visitation commencing.
Once we have received the above information, we will do a phone intake to learn more about the situation and allow you to ask any questions. We do the same of the other party.
With Children First, a mutually agreeable location needs to be decided upon. It is safe to say that this is likely the single most contentious issues we will deal with. The most successful visit is at a location the child/ren is/are familiar with and comfortable in. It typically is not the parent's home if the child has never been despite how excited you may be to show the home you are living in, especially if it is new. Again a good court order will spell out days, times and locations that are prohibited or activities that are prohibited. A good court order will also defer to the agency to make the final decision whenever parties cannot agree.
Once the paperwork has been turned in, an intake has been completed and the first visit has been lined up, payment is required 72 hours in advance to the agency. Social workers do not handle financial affairs.
A confirmation email is sent out with all of the details of the visit (who, where, when and contact information for everyone). We endeavor to have the same social worker supervise all of your visits, but sometimes that is simply not possible.
At a minimum, it takes 3-5 business days to line up visits. A call Friday afternoon to start visits that Saturday will never work. Taking the time up front to set up visitation pays dividends in the long run for all parties.