In compliance with the law, the child has the right to visit the parent living apart. Securing the child’s right of access is the responsibility of both the parent living with the child and the visiting parent. The parents are primarily responsible for the implementation of the child’s right of access.
A visitation between a child and a parent living apart, or the exchange of the child from one parent to the other may, for a well-founded reason, be ordered or agreed upon as a supervised or supported one. Such reasons may be, for example:
- concern about the visiting parent not being able to take care of the child during the visitations
- a long time has passed since the last visitation between the child and the visiting parent
- the substance abuse or mental health issue of the visiting parent
- abuse that the child has witnessed or received from the visiting parent, or the suspicion thereof
- threat of the child’s abduction
- highly inflamed relationship between parents
- dispute having reached a critical level regarding custody or right of access
In Tampere, a supervisor who is trained to deal with such situations is present during the visitations and exchanges. The duty of the supervisor is to guarantee the child’s safety during the visitations or exchange situations. A supervisor drafts up a report on each visitation and exchange. The parents may obtain the reports for themselves to read or e.g. for a judicial process by means of the form “Request for access to information of an interested party", (provided only in Finnish):
The supervised visitations, supported visitations and supervised exchanges may be organized, by virtue of the Social Welfare Act, based on a court decision or on a right of access agreement, confirmed by the child welfare officer. The service is free of charge for the children of Tampere and Orivesi.
The supervisor is, for the entire duration of the visitation, within visual range and audible call of a child. A supervisor is also available for counselling that relates to the child’s care or the initial encounter with the child. The supervisor is liable to interrupt the visitation, if it becomes unsafe for the child, e.g. if the parent acts aggressively or arrives in the visitation under the influence of substances. Visitations can be organized every day between 9 am and 8 pm, for a maximum of three hours at a time. As a meeting place, offers comfortable facilities that are well adapted to the visitations, and are equipped with toys, games and books. It is not necessary for parents to meet each other in connection with the visitations.
During a supported visitation a supervisor does not need to be within visual range and audible call for the entire time. The supervisor is available for the child and the visiting parents during the visitation, as required. Also supported visitations may be organized every day between 9 am and 8 pm in Kuusikko Family Support Centre.
In supervised exchanges the supervisor is present as the child’s security in an exchange situation, when a child is transferred from one parent to another. A supervised exchange is often used e.g. in the exchange situations where longer day or weekend visitations are about to take place and when the relationship between the parents is very quarrelsome. The exchange can also be organized so that the parents do not meet each other. The exchanges may be organized flexibly in the Tampere area, according to the resources of the organizing bodies.
1. Court decision
If there is court decision on the right of access, that must be submitted to the organizer of the service. The organizers invite the parents to a meeting where an agreement will be drafted, on the basis of the court decision. The practical arrangements concerning the visitations and exchanges are recorded in the agreement.
2. Agreement confirmed by the child welfare officer
The agreement may also be drafted without a court decision. In this case the parents make an appointment with the child welfare officer, who invites the parents and the service provider to a joint meeting. During the discussion, the parents may agree on visitations between a child and a parent living apart, as well as on the need for supervision or support. The child welfare officer then confirms the agreement which is always fixed term.
The city of Tampere/Family Law Services/Supervised visitations is responsible of organizing supervised visitations, supported visitations and supervised exchanges.
Tel. 0400 351 410, counsellors Kai Niskanen and Annamari Jokila