Written by Susan Griffin, Executive Director of Hannah's House, Professional Provider of Supervised Visitation since 1988
There were 88 people on the San Diego Superior Court Resource List under Visitation Monitors in 2011. Today there are 114. That is almost a 30% increase in providers. The reason? A training requirement passed by the California State Legislature in 2012. Prior to January 1, 2013, there was no requirement for training for Visitation Monitors. When the law requiring 24 hours of training became effective, multiple training companies and community colleges began offering the training and promoting the profession.
Supervised visitation monitors are not required to have any college education and even the training requirement is very vague. They are not required to have any license or certification, background check, or proof of business liability insurance.
Supervised visitation monitors have no requirement for continuing education. Once they complete the 24 hours of training specified in Family Code 3200.5 and Administrative Rules of Court 5.20, they are considered to be competent and qualified and can use the title "Professional Provider of Supervised Visitation."
What distinguishes a Professional Provider of Supervised Visitation from a Non-professional Provider of Supervised Visitation?
1. The professional charges and the non-professional does not.
2. The professional is required to complete 24 hours of training. The non-professional is not.
This is important information for consumers. The only distinction between professional and non-professionals? Consumers pay for the service and the provider has 24 hours of training to be considered qualified as a "professional." In other professions, this minimal level of training might qualify someone to work as a para-professional. Paraprofessional is a job title given to persons in various occupational fields, such as education, healthcare, engineering, and law, who are trained to assist professionals but do not themselves have professional licensure.
In general, there is nowhere for consumers to learn about these minimal requirements for this profession. Our local superior court does not provide consumers with information about Family Code 5.20 or Administrative Rules of Court 5.20.
There are other requirements:
A "professional provider" is any person paid for providing supervised visitation services, or an independent contractor, employee, intern, or volunteer operating independently or through a supervised visitation center or agency. The professional provider must:
(1) Be 21 years of age or older;
(2) Have no record of conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) within the last 5 years;
(3) Not have been on probation or parole for the last 10 years;
(4) Have no record of a conviction for child molestation, child abuse, or other crimes against a person;
(5) Have proof of automobile insurance if transporting the child;
(6) Have no civil, criminal, or juvenile restraining orders within the last 10 years;
(7) Have no current or past court order in which the provider is the person being supervised;
(8) Be able to speak the language of the party being supervised and of the child, or the provider must provide a neutral interpreter over the age of 18 who is able to do so;
(9) Agree to adhere to and enforce the court order regarding supervised visitation;
(10) Meet the training requirements stated in (f); and
(11) Sign a declaration or Declaration of Supervised Visitation Provider (form FL-324) stating that all requirements to be a professional provider have been met.
There is no requirement for the "professional provider" in San Diego to provide proof of any of these requirements prior to being put on the Visitation Monitors list. The applicant only needs to sign an affidavit saying that they meet the requirements. In some other California counties, providers are at least required to assert on the public list for the consumer's information that they have a background check, liability insurance, auto insurance for transporting children for a fee, and other information.
Here in San Diego, the full responsibility for vetting these "professional providers" is left to parents who are usually experiencing very difficult and sometimes even traumatic life transitions. The San Diego Superior Court places the burden for determining risk vs benefit for a particular provider with these parents who are often at their most vulnerable.
Here is the disclaimer that these parents must agree to in order to view the Court's list. These parents have a court order to use a "professional provider" and can not view the list unless they "agree" with this disclaimer.
Program Resource Lists Statement
These are lists compiled to assist people to select and locate a program when they are ordered or referred by the court to complete a program in a specific topic area. Before accessing and using the lists, the San Diego Superior Court requires that you read, understand, and agree to the following terms and conditions:
PROGRAM RESOURCE LISTS PROVIDE COURT USERS WITH CONTACT INFORMATION ON SELF-IDENTIFIED PROGRAM PROVIDERS. YOU UNDERSTAND THAT THE PROGRAMS LISTED HAVE IDENTIFIED THEMSELVES TO THE SAN DIEGO SUPERIOR COURT AS PROVIDERS IN THE PROGRAM TOPIC AREA IDENTIFED AT THE TOP OF EACH LIST. THESE PROGRAMS ARE NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE COURT, AND EACH PROGRAM IS INDEPENDENTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR COMPLIANCE WITH ANY AND ALL APPLICABLE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS. THE COURT DOES NOT ENDORSE, EVALUATE, SUPERVISE, OR MONITOR THESE PROGRAMS.
IF YOU HAVE READ, UNDERSTAND AND AGREE TO THE ABOVE TERMS AND CONDITIONS TO ACCESS AND USE THE PROGRAM RESOURCE LISTS ON THIS WEBSITE, PLEASE CLICK ON "AGREE" BELOW.
Para acceso a esta información en español por favor haga clic aquí.
Other counties do a better job of providing information to consumers to at least prepare them with questions to help determine if the provider told the truth on the affidavit they are required to file with the court. It's time for San Diego to make this change.