2022 Edition

Supervised Visitation and Exchange Services (CA-SVE) 3: Referral and Screening

The organization works with the referral agency to establish expectations, obtain needed information, and screen cases.




Supervised Visitation and Exchange Services enable children to maintain connections with parents with whom they are not living by protecting the physical and emotional safety of the children and their families.
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent.
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Procedures for collaborating with the court or referring agency
  • Screening procedures
  • Evidence of collaboration with the court or referring agency, including copies of contracts or agreements, if applicable
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Persons served
  • Review case records


CA-SVE 3.01

The organization collaborates with the court or referring agency to:
  1. explain the nature and purpose of the organization’s services;
  2. encourage the court or referring agency to conduct appropriate assessments and evaluations before referring families to services;
  3. describe the level of risk the organization is equipped to handle, and the information the organization needs to determine if it can handle the risks associated with a particular case; 
  4. encourage the court or referring agency to provide other relevant information regarding the families served, including who should pay for services, whether other parties are permitted to have contact with the children, and the anticipated duration and frequency of supervised contact;
  5. establish expectations regarding documentation, reports, and the communication of case-related information; 
  6. determine the court or referring agency’s procedures for reviewing the case, including procedures for considering whether changes should be made to the court order and whether service participation should end or continue; 
  7. explain the limitations of the information gathered by the organization in terms of predicting future behaviour; and
  8. determine how to request relief or assistance from the court or referring agency.
Examples: Organizations may find it useful to address some of these issues prior to accepting referrals from, or signing contracts with, courts or referring agencies. For example, if a contract or court order does not include a review date or a provision for automatic periodic review, the organization might want to make sure that it does at least have some recourse for requesting relief or assistance. Similarly, if an organization serving domestic violence cases finds that the court or referring agency’s expectations regarding documentation or reporting threaten the safety of victims, the organization may choose to negotiate those expectations or refuse cases from the court or referring agency. By the same token, an organization may choose to negotiate expectations or refuse cases if the court or referring agency will require the organization to record opinions or recommendations rather than factual observations.
Note: See CA-SVE 9.07 for additional expectations regarding reports to the court or referring agency.


CA-SVE 3.02

When it receives a referral the organization ensures the referral includes critical information about the case, including:
  1. the reasons for referral;
  2. the specific services to be provided (i.e. supervised visitation or supervised exchange); and
  3. any background information pertinent to keeping children and families safe, including copies of protective orders and information about past abuse, arrests, and criminal history.


While it may be difficult for some organizations to obtain all the information referenced in the standard, organizations are expected to advocate with the court or referring agency in an effort to achieve this goal.

Fundamental Practice

CA-SVE 3.03

The organization implements prompt, responsive screening practices that are designed to promote safety, that include:
  1. screening for safety risks prior to providing supervised contact;
  2. accepting a case only when there is a match between the type of service requested, the risks and needs presented by the family, and the capacity of the organization to safely manage those risks and needs; and
  3. notifying the family of the rejection, and the reason why, when a case cannot be served.
Examples: Reasons for rejecting a case include, but are not limited to: (1) the organization’s facilities are not adequate to provide the necessary level of security; (2) personnel are not trained to handle the identified risks or needs of a particular family (e.g., if the child to be supervised is autistic, personnel should have some understanding of the condition if they are to recognize what is safe for the child and interpret his or her behaviour); (3) the level of risk associated with the case suggests that one-to-one or on-site supervision is necessary, but the organization provides only group or off-site supervision; and (4) the family cannot or will not speak English and an independent interpreter (i.e., not a family member or friend) cannot be located.


CA-SVE 3.04

When a case is deemed appropriate but cannot be served promptly, the organization:
  1. notifies the family; and
  2. provides placement on a waiting list.
Examples: If there will be a long wait for service it is important for families and their attorneys to know about the delay due to potentially contentious or even dangerous circumstances.