It’s not always easy to talk about what happens when Child Protection becomes involved with your family. Taking in all the information about what you can and can’t do can be overwhelming and you may not always have someone with whom to share your thoughts, concerns and feelings about the process.
Andrea got together with some families who are currently limited to having access visits with their child(ren). They discussed some tips for access visit success and we wanted to share these tips with you too!
Be early or on time for visits. Cancel visits only in emergency situations. If you miss 3 visits in a 30- day period, your access may be placed on hold until you have a discussion with your Social Worker.
Cell phones/tablets should not be used on visits. That means no taking pictures, no showing your child pictures, no playing games. Your Access Facilitator can take pictures if you request.
Be child-focused. Make the visit as fun and enjoyable as possible. Get down on their level. Play games, sing songs, read books, do puzzles together.
Avoid adult conversations. Court, foster homes, talking about what led to CPS getting involved are all topics to discuss with your Social Worker when your child is not around.
Create a hello routine. Meet your child at the vehicle they arrive in, help them out of their seat, be excited about the time you get to spend together- all great ways to keep the transition to your visit a positive one.
If you aren't sure, ask. Your Social Worker, Access Facilitator & Family Skills Worker are great resources of information. So ask them about what's ok to do on access visits. Can you bring a favourite snack? Do they have any parenting suggestions for your visits?
Create quick a good-bye ritual. It could be as simple as a hug, high five, and saying I love you. Keep the good-bye short and sweet.
Think about support you may want after visits. Access visits can be challenging - and you may find it helpful to have a support person to talk to about them.
If you have any questions please feel free to get in touch with Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org