New Hampshire

FAQs

What does it mean to be neutral?

Neutrality is intended to express respect for the potential importance of each parent to his or her child. This allows us to create and maintain a safe place for children, where contact with each parent involves as little conflict of loyalty as possible. Neutrality does NOT mean that we will accept or condone abusive behavior. Instead, it means that we are an independent agent, having no personal interest in the outcome of the case.  

Do I have to pay for supervised visitation or monitored exchanges?

There are significant costs associated with supervised visitation and monitored exchanges and while it is the intention of the YWCA to provide affordable services to families, the visitation center is a fee based program. However, a sliding fee scale is available for all parents and is based on income. A parent must apply for use of the sliding fee scale by submitting one month’s pay stubs and information pertaining to all sources of income such as receipt of SSI/SSDI, child support, alimony, TANF, and if applicable the income of a spouse.

Most court orders indicate which parent is financially responsible for the fees for supervised visits or monitored exchanges. However, if the referring agency does not indicate who will be responsible for payment, the Center will assign financial responsibility to the non-residential parent.

How do families access services at the Center?

A court order is not required to access services at the Center. However, both parents must agree to follow the policies and procedures at the Center. Although most families are referred to the Center by the Court, referrals may also be made by attorneys, Guardian Ad Litems, DCYF, Batterer's Intervention programs, crisis services, Probation/Parole, self-referrals, and other community resources.

If you have received a court order or other referral for supervised visitation or monitored exchanges at the Center, you must contact the Center at (603) 625-5785 to schedule an intake meeting. Each parent is required to participate in an intake meeting at the Center in order to review the Center’s policies and procedures, to review case concerns, and to answer questions regarding the services. Each party is responsible for a non-refundable intake fee of $30, regardless of which party is responsible for visitation costs.

Once accepted into the program, staff will schedule a separate time with the residential parent and child/ren in order to familiarize the child/ren with the Center by giving a tour and discussing what will happen during the visit or exchange. We make every attempt to answer the child/ren’s questions and try to help the child/ren feel comfortable at the Center.

The amount of time between referral and first visit will vary as the program is limited in the number of families that can be served at one time. Please note that an intake meeting does not guarantee acceptance into the program.

If I have to apply to have supervised visits or monitored exchanges, does that mean that I could get denied?

All individuals applying for services at the Center will be seen regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, marital status, or ability to pay.

The YWCA is a private, non-profit organization and the Center is grant funded to provide services for families coping with domestic violence, stalking, and/or risks of abduction. The Center shall decline to accept a case when we cannot reasonably ensure the safety of all individuals. Some reasons for declining services include:

  • A situation that Visitation Supervisors are not adequately trained to manage;
  • A situation where the Center facility is not equipped to provide the necessary level of security;
  • A situation where someone has been court ordered to participate in treatment of some kind prior to visits and has not completed the treatment;
  • A situation where someone refuses to follow Center’s rules;
  • A situation where there have been any allegations of sexual abuse against the visiting participant;
  • A situation where facilitating services places a financial burden or demand on Center resources.

How long can families participate in supervised visits or monitored exchanges?

The Center does not limit the amount of time that a family may participate in services. However, the Center reserves the right to refuse, suspend, or terminate services at any time regardless if the supervised visit or monitored exchange is court ordered. Some reasons for refusal, suspension or termination of services include, but are not limited to:

  • Disrespectful, intimidating, or disruptive behavior towards staff or other participants;
  • We cannot effectively manage safety or other issues involved in the case;
  • One or both participants have failed to comply with the program’s rules;
  • There is a change in the court order;
  • Non-payment;
  • Use of alcohol and/or drugs by either parent during exchange/visitation;
  • Incomplete information;
  • “Pumping” children for information relative to pending criminal or civil matters, location of residential participant’s residence, school or work;
  • One or both parents decline services;
  • Threats of litigation;
  • Habitual “No-Shows” or cancellations.

How does the Center provide safety?

The Center cannot guarantee the safety of an individual. However, we do make it the first priority when conducting a visit. Our safety mechanisms include:

  • Separate entrances/exits to the Center, as well as separate hallways and waiting areas;
  • Staggered times of arrival and departure for parents;
  • Surveillance system providing visual access to the entire Center;
  • Qualified Center staff and when necessary, Manchester Police Officers on site during visits;
  • Established protocol with the local police for crisis situations;
  • Policies and procedures in accordance with the standards and guidelines set forth by the Supervised Visitation Network and consistent with “best practice” as determined by the New Hampshire Family Visitation & Access Cooperative;
  • Zero tolerance for domestic violence and/or ill-mannered behavior of any kind;
  • Zero tolerance for use of drugs and/or alcohol before and during visitations and exchanges.

Are staff at the Center trained to handle my case?

All staff are required to participate in specialized training to supervise visits. The training prepares individuals to directly support children, residential and non-residential parents in a safe and positive family visit. The training is focused on understanding aspects of family violence, facilitating parent-child interaction, child development, the philosophy and history of visitation centers, the importance of safety, objective note taking, the impact of substance abuse on visitation, legal and ethical concerns, and how to work with children who have witnessed domestic violence.

Staff must be treated with respect at all times. Disrespectful behavior will not be tolerated by any participant.

Will the Center make a recommendation to the Judge about where my child should live?

It is not the purpose of the Center to observe the exchange or visit to make recommendations or to give opinions to the referring agency regarding present or future parenting time. The observations of parent-child interaction at the Center had occurred in a structured setting, and no prediction can be made about how contact between the same parent and child might occur in a less protected setting and without supervision.

Is information about families kept confidential at the Center?

Records of interactions between parents and staff are not kept confidentially at the Center, where these interactions do not value the same privilege of confidentiality as with attorneys or doctors. Likewise, the Center is not mandated by HIPAA. Whenever possible, the Center will otherwise make all reasonable efforts to keep records confidential, and will refuse to release information without the consent of the parent or receipt of a court order. Parents should be aware that records are created, maintained and are available as follows:

  • Each parent has a file that contains personal information including residential, employment, and financial information. Additionally, each parent has a phone log containing a list of pertinent conversations between staff and that parent. To obtain a copy of this information, the Center must receive a court order.
  • Observation reports are an objective account for what takes place before, during, and after supervised visits. These reports include types of activities, conversations, and descriptions of behaviors that occurred. To obtain a copy of this report, the Center must receive a court order except when requested by a court-appointed Guardian Ad Litem.
  • Incident reports are completed when a parent does not adhere to the court order pertaining to visitation/exchanges or to the Center’s rules. Copies of the incident report will be sent to all parties to the case including both parents, Guardian Ad Litems, attorneys, the referring agency, and may be sent to parole/probation officers and/or other providers as necessary.

The Center is a mandatory reporter of suspected child abuse and neglect.

What does it look like where my child will be visiting?

Click image below to view photos of the visiting rooms.