Most people assume that supervised visitation is for situations of abuse or child molestation.
These kinds of programs are also appropriate when the non-custodial parent has a drug or alcohol problem or a psychiatric condition. We opted for supervised visitation between W. and Jellybean to reduce the risk of neglect due to drug and alcohol abuse, and, as you know, I have always had concern for W.'s mental stability.
So every Wednesday I leave work early. We drive downtown to the Safe House and sign in at 4:45 p.m. We play in the Toddler Room until 5:00 p.m. when W. arrives. I leave through the back, W. comes in through the front, and we never have to see each other. They play and have dinner while under the supervision of a trained supervisor. The supervisor is there to take notes on how well the parent interacts with the child, if he/she appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and to make sure that he/she isn't discussing details of the case with the child--which really isn't a concern, being that she is only one year old.
W. is required to pay them $15 for their services that day. He is also responsible for bringing all of the food, juice, diapers and wipes that Jellybean needs throughout the visit. Add these expenses to the cost of gas it take for him to drive all the way downtown from his sister's house, and this is coming out to be a $30-40 endeavor each week, which sounds expensive. Before you feel too sorry for him, let me remind you that it isn't exactly cheap to raise a child on one income--I have yet to receive child support.
Supervised visitation with W. is the only way that she can have him as an emotional figure in her life but without the negative effects of being left alone in a questionable environment. I am sure this will all be reevaluated at our next court appointment in February. But W. still has a Drug & Alcohol Evaluation in January a possible Psychiatric Evaluation in February, and plenty of time to screw up in between. So for now, Safe House is filling in the gray area for us.