(a) A Respondent shall have the right to reasonable and regularly scheduled visitation
(c) A respondent shall be granted reasonable and regularly scheduled visitation unless the court finds that the child’s life or health would be endangered thereby…
(e) …order [of visitation] shall terminate upon the entry of an order of disposition pursuant to part five of this Article.
See, 1052 (b) (i) and 1055 (b)(vi)where requirement is that visiting plan must be part of the order placing the child…
**always argue that progressive visiting is a reasonable effort towards safe reunification (1027, 1028, 1052, 1055 and in SSL 358-a, 392)
FCA 255: directs that the family court may order ACS to render such assistance and cooperation as shall be within [its] legal authority
18 NYCRR sec.’s 431.9 (d) and 431.14: an agency should not deny or limit visits without obtaining a court order unless the parent consents
18 NYCRR sec. 430.12 (d)(1)(i)(c): [where the goal is reunification], the agency must arrange for visits to occur in a location that assures the privacy, safety and comfort of the family members
18 NYCRR sec.’s 430.12 (d)(1)(i)(a) and (b): agencies must do at least the following to facilitate visits: provide financial assistance; assistance with transportation, and “other assistance necessary”; agency must follow up with the parent when the visit is missed and make efforts to prevent future visits from being missed
18 NYCRR 427.3(c)(2)(v): agencies can be reimbursed from NYSDSS for the cost of transportation for a parent to attend visits; the cost incurred by foster parent in bringing a child to a visit; and other “exceptional transportation” and “extraordinary telephone costs” between a parent and child
Making Your Record: (for instance)
“Is the current plan for this family reunification? And family visiting is part of that plan? Isn’t it true that the greater number of visits, the greater opportunity Crystal and Ms. Smith have to maintain and improve their relationship? How often are visits scheduled now? For how long?”
“Can you describe the room in the agency where visits take place? Do other families share the space during the visit? Where are you during the visit? Is it fair to say that it is typical for you to be outside the room, in close proximity? What are the specific reasons you want to supervise the visit? What do you do when you supervise the visit?”
“Have you asked Crystal or Ms. Smith what they would like to do during their visits? Is there any reason that Ms. Smith could not accompany Crystal to the medical appointment at the agency? When is the next parent &emdash;teacher conference ? Could Ms. Smith go? Why or why not?”
“Have you asked Crystal or Ms. Smith about people whom they would like to attend visits with them?”
“The agency is to ensure that Ms. Campbell is invited to the next case conference and is to report to the court on whether, and to what extent, Ms. Campbell may assist in monitoring some of the visits between Ms. Smith and the child.”
“The agency is to set up a meeting with Ms. Campbell in the next fourteen days to determine what if any steps must be taken to permit Ms. Campbell to host a visit between Ms. Smith and the children; the agency is to report on the adjourn date as to the results of that meeting.”
“The agency is to notify Ms. Smith of the next doctor’s appointment scheduled for the child/next parent teacher conference/school concert so that Ms. Smith may attend.”
“Between now and the adjourn date, the agency has the discretion to increase the frequency and length of the visits and reduce the level of supervision of the visits.”
ACS Visitation Guidelines (December 19, 2000)
Page 2: Case specific decisions concerning a child’s visiting plan should be consistent with the ACS guidelines detailed below. Parent-child contact should be arranged as soon as possible…reasons for and purposes of supervision should be clearly identified.
Page 4: It is expected and recommended that more frequent contact be arranged and facilitated…whenever possible and in the best interests of the child, it is recommended that: visits occur on a weekly basis, visit length be at least two hours; and occur in sites identified by participating parties as comfortable, supportive and convenient…visits should be integrated into the already scheduled activities of children and activities which the parent will be involved with post-reunification.
Page 9: Visiting host and significant others “should be considered resources for the case planner.
Pages 10-14: Making decisions re: level of supervision.
Other Practice Tips
Ask parents to identify activities, events, etc. around which they would like visits scheduled; If the parent can identify one or more people who might be eligible to be a visiting host/sponsor, contact that person and ask them to appear on the adjourn date AND ask that the person be invited to the next appointment or conference on the case;
Remember that every six months, a visiting plan should progress, i.e., less supervision and greater frequency, and if NOT, the reasons must be documented in the case record (Guidelines, p. 7)
Ask for reports on each adjourn date as to the progress of the visiting plan and the specific reasons for any lack of progress; between the 1028 stage and FF, and between FF and disposition, ask for updated case records to be provided to you five days prior to the court date, including any UCR’s.
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