Supervised Visitation and Low-Income Families: Improving Family Financial Stability

In 2010, the Florida State University Clearinghouse on Supervised Visitation identified an opportunity to help supervised visitation programs broaden their reach to increase economic opportunities and improve Child Support Enforcement (CSE) outcomes for client families. Florida’s wide array of supervised visitation programs are housed in faith-based groups, are part of larger umbrella social services organizations, or operate as non-profit 501(C)(3) programs. All of Florida’s supervised visitation programs are part of the coordinated community response to child endangerment. These programs are linked to dozens of community partners, including the Department of Children and Families, the Office of the State Courts Administrator, the Guardian ad Litem Program, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Children’s Advocacy Centers, and the Domestic Violence Victim Advocacy Community. Despite these valuable connections there is a crucial service gap among the partnerships with supervised visitation programs, one that the Clearinghouse seeks to fill. In the past, many programs have not provided low-income families with the means to improve economic self-sufficiency, in 2010, the Clearinghouse received funding under Administration for Children and Families to help establish these linkages. With this funding, the Clearinghouse began a pilot project at two supervised visitation programs. With the Florida Department of Revenue as a major partner, the pilot project demonstrated that by slightly expanding their referral practices, supervised visitation programs can help clients improve their financial stability.

The attached guide is a result of lessons learned in the pilot project. It provides research, information, and resources for supervised visitation programs to help low-income clients improve their child support outcomes and increase their economic self-sufficiency.