Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

When parents separate, visitation with children may be challenging. Sometimes, difficulties arise at the time of the exchange of the child between parents or between a parent and a relative, such as a grandparent. Other times, there may be concerns about the visits themselves. Our program provides a setting where parenting time can take place under the supervision of trained staff. Upon request, we also provide the court and lawyers with copies of our observation reports.

The Residential Party is the individual who has permanent or temporary custody of the child. In other words, the Residential Party is the person who the child lives with and who is responsible for the child. Typically, the Residential Party is a parent, but can also be another individual or family member such as a grandparent.

The Visiting Party is typically the other parent or caregiver, who does not reside with the child.

Custody of a child may be determined by a court order or as agreed upon by parents in a separation agreement.

Access for Parents and Children in Ontario offers three types of parenting time services:

  • Supervised Parenting Time: The Visiting Party visits with the children at one of our parenting centres. The entire duration of the visit is supervised by trained staff members and factual observation reports are recorded during each visit.
  • Unsupervised Parenting Time (Exchange): The Residential Party drops off the child at one of our Parenting Centres so that the Visiting Party can then pick-up the child(ren) for an unsupervised
    day or overnight visit, outside of our program’s premises. When the unsupervised parenting time concludes, the Visiting Party then drops the child(ren) back off at the Parenting Centre so that the Residential Party can then pick-up the child(ren) from our Parenting Centre.
    Important Note: We are a no-contact program; therefore, we apply strict staggered pick-up and drop-off times to avoid parties coming into contact during exchange of the child(ren).
  • Virtual Parenting Time: Virtual Parenting Time is the use of electronic communication tools to enable contact between parents and children.

Access for Parents and Children is made up of a team of staff members who are highly trained and have relevant educational backgrounds in Social Services, Early Childhood Education, Psychology, Sociology, Criminology, etc.

Provided a valid court order is in place, parties can use our program for as long as they require our services and until the child turns 18 years of age.

Yes, our program reserves the right to refuse, cancel, or terminate services for reasons such as, but not limited to:

  • A violation of the service agreement or program policies
  • Parties decide to withdraw from our program for their own reasons
  • The Visiting Party misses three consecutive visits without any notice
  • The Visiting Party arrives under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • A children’s aid society becomes involved in the case OR a file is presently active with the society.

Important Note: Section 34 (2) of the Children’s Law Reform Act provides that when a court directs a person, a children’s aid society or other body to supervise access, it is subject to that person’s or body’s consent.

Our program will make arrangements for an interpreter to attend each visit. Costs will be discussed and reviewed with both parties and their respective lawyers.

Due to high demand, our program is unable to always follow the terms and conditions of court orders. Parenting time is scheduled according to the availability of the parenting centres. Currently, we can only offer a maximum of one single one-hour visit per week.

Intake Information

Since APCO is a neutral third party that solely offers supervision services we are not in the position to enforce a court order or mandate that parties use our program. Therefore, if one party does not agree to using our services, we cannot open a file.

Yes, provided that both parties are in agreement and the court order is not specific to a region/district or to a specifically named 3rd party.

If there is no waiting list and immediate vacancies are available, it can take around two weeks for our program to set-up the file, schedule an orientation session, and schedule the first visit. Due to a high volume of requests we are unable to guarantee a specific time period.

CAS Information

No. Our program offers supervision services for matters related to custody and access disputes.
Child welfare (protection) cases are governed by the Child and Family Services Act and are typically supervised by the Children’s Aid Society (CAS).

If at any point during the use of our program it is discovered that a children’s aid society has been involved with a family using our centre, visits will immediately be suspended until our program receives a letter from the Children’s Aid Society that was involved confirming that the Society has completed its investigation and is no longer involved.

Our program is not a Children’s Aid Society. If you suspect a child may be in need of protection, you must contact one of the following agencies that serve Toronto:

  • Children’s Aid Society of Toronto: 416-924-4646
  • Catholic Children’s Aid Society: 416-395-1500
  • Jewish Child and Family Services: 416-638-7800
  • Native Child and Family Services of Toronto: 416-969-8510

OCL Information

Our policy regarding OCL observing visits is as follows:

  • The involvement of the OCL must be provided for in a court order.
  • The OCL assessors must contact the centre Supervisor to book a time for such observation in advance.
  • The OCL assessors must provide APCO with consent forms from both parties.
  • APCO staff must be present during the visit and must complete an observation report.
  • If parties require an interpreter, APCO will provide an interpreter, using the interpreter services APCO is registered with.
  • If the OCL assessors need to obtain a copy of our observation report, they can do so by contacting our program.
  • The OCL will not be permitted to observe two visits/two clients simultaneously.
  • The OCL must sign a confidentiality form before entering the observation room.

No. If the Office of the Children’s Lawyer requests observation reports, it will be the only agency that receives copies of the reports. The observation reports will not be sent to the parties or their Lawyers.

Observation Reports

Submit your request in writing and allow the program two weeks to prepare the documents for you. When a party requests copies of the observation reports, it is our policy to provide the reports to the other party at the same time (with costs to be paid by both parties).

Please note that our program will not take responsibility for mailing or delivering the observation reports. It is the responsibility of clients or their lawyers to make arrangements for pick-ups.

Only if it is court ordered or agreed upon by both lawyers for valid reasons. Refer to the “Service Fees” section for more information on fees for observation reports.

No. Only the parties involved with our program, legal counsel, the courts and the Office of the Children’s Lawyer can obtain copies of observation reports.