Therapeutic Visitation

Foster Care Visitation

Skilled family AFS therapists structure supportive, non-judgmental visits between parents and children shortly after the removal of a child due to abuse or neglect, or where children are experiencing mental health-related issues.

What are Therapeutic Supervised Visitations?

In instances where a child or children have been placed in foster through court orders or a government child welfare agency by family reunification is a goal, the birth mother and/or father will meet with the child during therapeutic supervised visitations. In these settings, a mental health professional will help the family work through a variety of situations, including high conflict disagreements, in order to give them the skills and insight necessary to more effectively resolve conflicts and avoid problems such as domestic violence.

Benefits of Therapeutic Visitation Services for Parent and Child

Key points on therapeutic visitation for families to consider and keep in mind:

  • Studies show that ongoing therapeutic visitation is the best predictor of reunification.
  • AFS hopes to accelerate the reunification process by addressing fundamental issues that led to the foster care placement. These issues include parenting skills, anger management and family communication.
  • Therapeutic visitation demonstrates to the Court the parents’ commitment to family reunification.
  • The AFS dedication to community-based services allows therapeutic visitation to take place in the family’s home or other community settings. Often AFS staff members transport children to and from these sessions.

Therapeutic Visitation for Foster Children: FAQs

Where do Therapeutic Visitation visits take place?

They can take place in any location deemed safe and appropriate, including a family home or community center. Visitations can take place in AFS offices too. In Alameda County specifically, therapeutic visits often take place at The Gathering Place. For information on The Gathering Place and all other AFS locations, please visit our Locations page.

Who leads these visits?

All visits are led by certified and trained mental health professionals with experience and knowledge on mental illness, parenting skills development, foster care and high conflict situations. All visits are designed to benefit both visiting parents and their biological children and are ultimately in the interests of the child or children. The ultimate goal of mental health professionals leading supervised visitations is to improve the parent-child relationship.

Who decides if therapeutic visitation is needed?

Visits are often determined by court orders or from a family law expert with the state or county. In family court, a child welfare agency may recommend that this family service is completed before reunification can be considered. Such visitations are sometimes mandated by court orders as well.

How does therapeutic visitation differ from other services provided by AFS? Can anyone participate in a therapeutic visitation session with AFS?
At AFS, therapeutic visitation services and support are specifically designed for biological parents whose children are placed in the foster care and where the stated case goal is family reunification.

About AFS

Alternative Family Services has provided foster care, adoption and mental health services in Northern California since 1978. AFS is a foster, adoptions and mental health agency that has been creating safe, permanent connections for foster children and youth in the Bay Area since 1978. The mission of Alternative Family Services is to support vulnerable children and families in need of stability, safety and well-being in communities.

39-a

KEY POINTS TO AFS THERAPEUTIC VISITATION

  • Studies show that ongoing visitation is the best predictor of reunification
  • AFS hopes to accelerate the reunification process by addressing fundamental issues that led to the foster care placement including: parenting skills, anger management and family communication
  • Therapeutic visitation demonstrates to the Court, the parents’ commitment to family reunification
  • The AFS dedication to community-based services allows therapeutic visitation to take place in the family’s home or other community settings. Often AFS staff members transport children to and from these sessions.