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California Rules of Court Standard 5.20 (Cont.)

(i) Conflict of interest
All providers should maintain neutrality by refusing to discuss the merits of the case or agree with or support one party over another. Any discussion between a provider and the parties should be for the purposes of arranging visitation and providing for the safety of the children. In order to avoid a conflict of interest, the professional provider should not:

(1)  Be financially dependent on the person being supervised;

(2)  Be an employee of the person being supervised;

(3)  Be an employee of or affiliated with any superior court in the county in which the supervision is ordered unless specified in the employment contract; or

(4)  Be in an intimate relationship with the person being supervised.
(Subd (i) amended and relettered effective January 1, 2015; adopted as subd (f) effective January 1, 1998; previously amended and relettered as subd (g) effective January 1, 2007.)

(j) Maintenance and disclosure of records for professional providers
(1)  Professional providers must keep a record for each case, including the following:
    (A)  A written record of each contact and visit;
    (B)  Who attended the visit;
    (C)  Any failure to comply with the terms and conditions of the visitation; and
    (D)  Any incidence of abuse as required by law.

(2)  Case recordings should be limited to facts, observations, and direct statements made by the parties, not personal conclusions, suggestions, or opinions of the provider. All contacts by the provider in person, in writing, or by telephone with either party, the children, the court, attorneys, mental health professionals, and referring agencies should be documented in the case file. All entries should be dated and signed by the person recording the entry.

(3)  If ordered by the court or requested by either party or the attorney for either party or the attorney for the child, a report about the supervised visit must be produced. These reports should include facts, observations, and direct statements and not opinions or recommendations regarding future visitation. The original report must be sent to the court if so ordered, or to the requesting party or attorney, and copies should be sent to all parties, their attorneys, and the attorney for the child.

(4)  Any identifying information about the parties and the child, including addresses, telephone numbers, places of employment, and schools, is confidential, should not be disclosed, and should be deleted from documents before releasing them to any court, attorney, attorney for the child, party, mediator, evaluator, mental health professional, social worker, or referring agency, except as required in reporting suspected child abuse.
(Subd (j) amended and relettered effective January 1, 2015; adopted as subd (g) effective January 1, 1998; previously amended and relettered as subd (h) effective January 1, 2007.)

(k) Confidentiality
Communications between parties and providers of supervised visitation are not protected by any privilege of confidentiality. Professional providers should, whenever possible, maintain confidentiality regarding the case except when:
(1)  Ordered by the court;
(2)  Subpoenaed to produce records or testify in court;
(3)  Requested to provide information about the case by a mediator or evaluator in conjunction with a court-ordered mediation, investigation, or evaluation;
(4)  Required to provide information about the case by Child Protective Services; or
(5)  Requested to provide information about the case by law enforcement.
(Subd (k) amended and relettered effective January 1, 2015; adopted as subd (h) effective January 1, 1998; previously amended and relettered as subd (i) effective January 1, 2007.)

(l) Delineation of terms and conditions
The provider bears the sole responsibility for enforcement of all the terms and conditions of any supervised visitation. Unless otherwise ordered by the court, the provider should implement the following terms and conditions:
(1)  Monitor conditions to assure the safety and welfare of the child;
(2)  Enforce the frequency and duration of the visits as ordered by the court;
(3)  Avoid any attempt to take sides with either party;
(4)  Ensure that all contact between the child and the noncustodial party is within the provider's hearing and sight at all times, and that discussions are audible to the provider;
(5)  Speak in a language spoken by the child and the noncustodial party;
(6)  Allow no derogatory comments about the other parent, his or her family, caretaker, child, or child's siblings;
(7)  Allow no discussion of the court case or possible future outcomes;
(8)  Allow neither the provider nor the child to be used to gather information about the other party or caretaker or to transmit documents, information, or personal possessions;
(9)   Allow no spanking, hitting, or threatening the child;
(10) Allow no visits to occur while the visiting party appears to be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs;
(11) Allow no emotional, verbal, physical, or sexual abuse;
(12) Allow no contact between the custodial and noncustodial parents unless ordered by the court; and
(13) Ensure that the parties follow any additional rules stated by the provider or the court.
(Subd (l) amended and relettered effective January 1, 2015; adopted as subd (i) effective January 1, 1998; previously amended and relettered as subd (j) effective January 1, 2007.)

(m) Safety considerations for sexual abuse cases
In cases where there are allegations of sexual abuse, in addition to the requirements of (l), the provider should comply with the following terms and conditions, unless otherwise ordered by the court:
(1)  Allow no exchanges of gifts, money, or cards;
(2)  Allow no photographing, audio taping, or videotaping of the child;
(3)  Allow no physical contact with the child such as lap sitting, hair combing, stroking, hand holding, hugging, wrestling, tickling, horse playing, changing diapers, or accompanying the child to the bathroom;
(4)  Allow no whispering, passing notes, hand signals, or body signals; and
(5)  Allow no supervised visitation in the location where the alleged sexual abuse occurred.
(Subd (m) amended and relettered effective January 1, 2015; adopted as subd (j) effective January 1, 1998; previously amended and relettered as subd (k) effective January 1, 2007.)

(n) Legal responsibilities and obligations of a provider
All nonprofessional providers of supervised visitation should, and all professional providers must:
(1)  Advise the parties before commencement of supervised visitation that no confidential privilege exists;
(2)  Report suspected child abuse to the appropriate agency, as provided by law, and inform the parties of the provider's obligation to make such reports; and
(3)  Suspend or terminate visitation under (p).
(Subd (n) amended and relettered effective January 1, 2015; adopted as subd (k) effective January 1, 1998; previously amended and relettered as subd (l) effective January 1, 2007.)

(o) Additional legal responsibilities of professional providers
In addition to the legal responsibilities and obligations required in (n), professional providers must:
(1)  Prepare a written contract to be signed by the parties before commencement of the supervised visitation. The contract should inform each party of the terms and conditions of supervised visitation; and
(2)  Review custody and visitation orders relevant to the supervised visitation.
(Subd (o) amended and relettered effective January 1, 2015; adopted as subd (l) effective January 1, 1998; previously amended and relettered as subd (m) effective January 1, 2007.)

(p) Temporary suspension or termination of supervised visitation
(1)  All providers must make every reasonable effort to provide a safe visit for the child and the noncustodial party.
(2)  However, if a provider determines that the rules of the visit have been violated, the child has become acutely distressed, or the safety of the child or the provider is at risk, the visit may be temporarily interrupted, rescheduled at a later date, or terminated.
(3)  All interruptions or terminations of visits must be recorded in the case file.
(4)  All providers must advise both parties of the reasons for interruption of a visit or termination.
(Subd (p) amended and relettered effective January 1, 2015; adopted as subd (m) effective January 1, 1998; previously amended and relettered as subd (n) effective January 1, 2007.)

(q) Additional requirements for professional providers
Professional providers must state the reasons for temporary suspension or termination of supervised visitation in writing and provide the written statement to both parties, their attorneys, the attorney for the child, and the court.
(Subd (q) amended and relettered effective January 1, 2015; adopted as subd (n) effective January 1, 1998; previously amended and relettered as subd (o) effective January 1, 2007.)

Standard 5.20 amended effective January 1, 2015; adopted as sec. 26.2 effective January 1, 1998; previously amended and renumbered effective January 1, 2007.