In certain circumstances the court will decide that an access order will contain a provision that access must be supervised. This means that an adult, other than the parent having access, must be present for the duration of the time the parent and child are together.
In Ireland there is no public service system of contact centres to provide a safe place for children of separated parents to meet with one or both parents, even where the court recommends it. This means that often family or friends have to step in to act as supervisors which is not always ideal and can be uncomfortable for everyone involved. There are some private organisations who offer to supervise access. These services are not regulated and it is important that people satisfy themselves that the people offering to undertake this work are suitably qualified and trained, are Garda vetted, and, preferably, are members of a profession regulated by CORU, see www.coru.ie. The cost of these services must be borne by one of the parents or by both parents jointly.
Because we believe it is essential to the development of children that where possible they can grow up enjoying a positive relationship with both of their parents, even when they don’t live together, One Family undertook research on this issue. In partnership with Barnardos, we worked to develop Child Contact Centres which ran as a pilot project from 2011 to 2013 in a number of locations. The project was not mainstreamed after the pilot and the services are now closed. You can read more about that project here.