Online Virtual Supervised Visitation during the COVID-19 Pandemic: One State’s Experience

59 Family Court Review (2021, Forthcoming)

30 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2020

See all articles by Karen Oehme

Karen Oehme

Florida State University, College of Social Work

Kelly O'Rourke

Florida State University, Institute for Family Violence Studies

Lyndi Bradley

Florida State University, Clearinghouse on Supervised Visitation, College of Social Work

Date Written: June 24, 2020

Abstract

This paper describes how supervised visitation programs in a Florida rapidly transitioned from in-person supervised visits to virtual, online visits during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect the health of families and staff. Structured telephonic interviews and an online survey revealed that although most program directors had not previously developed guiding policies or hosted such visits, within weeks they were providing hundreds of online “virtual visits” between children and their non-custodial parents to maintain the crucial parent-child relationship in a safe manner. Vignettes from this data provide lessons regarding parent and child reactions to virtual visits, advantages and disadvantages of virtual visits from the programs’ perspectives, and levels of enthusiasm for using virtual visits going forward. In addition the data include recommendations for new program guidelines and protocols for the ongoing use of virtual visits. Although it is too early to call these policies best practices, the study does offer insight into the challenges and opportunities afforded by virtual visits and can inform disaster planning that supervised visitation programs develop to prepare for inevitable future disruptions in services to families.

Keywords: supervised visitation, COVID-19, virtual visits

Suggested Citation

Oehme, Karen and O'Rourke, Kelly and Bradley, Lyndi, Online Virtual Supervised Visitation during the COVID-19 Pandemic: One State’s Experience (June 24, 2020). 59 Family Court Review (2021, Forthcoming), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3659692 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3659692

Karen Oehme (Contact Author)

Florida State University, College of Social Work ( email )

Tallahasse, FL 32306
United States
850-567-9464 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://familyvio.csw.fsu.edu

Kelly O'Rourke

Florida State University, Institute for Family Violence Studies ( email )

Tallahasse, FL 32306
United States
32308 (Fax)

Lyndi Bradley

Florida State University, Clearinghouse on Supervised Visitation, College of Social Work ( email )

Tallahasse, FL 32306
United States

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