We recognize that for many providing these important services now looks very different than it did a few months ago.  Whether this means discontinuing services all together, only providing partial services or taking visits online, we are all learning to operate in this new normal. 

At SVN we encourage you to continue to follow the recommendations of federal and state government and medical officials in relation to COVID-19. We know this has been a difficult time for our members, however and we want to provide you with some resources to help you navigate these uncertain times.  

On this page, you will find a wealth of information. We will include articles from our newsletters, important links for resources and info, and more! Keep checking this page as we will be updating it as we know more. 

 Resources & Links: 


Government of Canada CoronaVirus disease: Being Prepared 

Canadian Economic Response Plan 

Canadian Emergency Response Benefit

CFID: Small Business Help Centre 


US Chamber of Commerce CoronaVirus Emergency Loans for Small Businesses 

CDC/White House/ FEMA Coronavirus Updates 

US Government-Supporting Small Businesses 

US Center for Disease Control 

United Way 211

US Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship (Small Business Owners Guide to the CARES Act)

National Council of Non Profits 




As we are all learning to navigate this new normal, may we not forget what our services provide. There has been an increase in child abuse cases, domestic violence is on the rise and parents are hitting their breaking points. This sadly means that our services will always be in need.

Many providers are reaching out and asking what is SVN’s stance on whether we are essential service. The answer, like most of visitation work, is gray. Parents DO need our services. Children DO need us to help keep them safe. As our standards of practice say: 

8.2 General Policy for Safety

  1. A provider must have written policies and procedures that seek to provide safety for all participants. The central criterion of safety is that there is a match between the capacity of the provider, the service being provided, and the needs of and the risk presented by the family.
  1. A provider cannot guarantee safety; adult clients remain responsible and accountable for their own actions.

What this means is that providers who choose to stay open. You are right. Providers who choose to close. You are right. Providers who choose to provide video services. You are right.

 As a provider, you need to take a look at your resources and your community response and make an informed decision based on what YOU can SAFELY do. If you choose to provide services, do it safely. If you choose to not provide services, do it with intention.  Check in with your referral sources, what are their expectations of your services? Check in with your funders, what are their expectations of your services. No matter what decision you make, as long as you make an informed, educated decision talking to your stakeholders and providing transparency, you are making the right decision.

If you are not providing services, know who is and provide a list of resources in your area. Most domestic violence agencies are open, provide that number. Most courts are open for emergency: provide that number. Most food distribution agencies (food bank) are open, provide that number. Even if you cannot provide visitation, it does not mean that you cannot provide some support. Find a way to reach out to your families in service and once a week give them a status update. Be available to help find community resources to meet their needs.

This will pass. It will. Maybe like a kidney stone, but it will pass. Let your funders, referral sources and community know that you were there when things got tough. Supervised Visitation is sadly not a dying field, we will always be needed. Keep your head up, wash your hands and weather the storm.

Ten Things to Weather the Current Storm

 The current storm of COVID-19 is unlike any crisis we have faced as a country since the flu pandemic of 1919.  As supervised visitation professionals working with families, we encounter individuals already struggling with coping skills, trauma, domestic violence impacts and waves of conflict that come from all directions.  We are in uncharted waters as we try to hunker down and weather this storm.  We are faced with uncertainty as we balance keeping families connected, staff protected and programs afloat. On top of that, we are trying to keep our own families safe and functioning. The winds of fear are howling at the door while others look to us for comfort, inspiration and guidance.    

 SVN wanted all our members to know that we are supporting you in every way we can.  All our board members are also navigating these issues in their own programs.  We are hitting the walls and watching things change moment to moment, just as you are. We thought these suggestions might help as we ride out the next several weeks. Here are ten things we have been considering as we navigate these issues ourselves. 

1. Start the day with the Serenity Prayer! Accept the things you cannot change, change the things you can and keep asking questions about the issues of uncertainty that are arising moment to moment   

 2. Expect the unexpected, be Proactive in Anticipating Contingencies.  Anyone that has ever ridden out a hurricane, can tell you, planning makes a huge difference, but the best plans must be flexible because there is a lot of things that are unknown.  In Virginia we started out with extra cleaning precautions, then we went to no visits but exchanges only but with every county and state announcement, we are making plans for the next thing that may come.  

Programs all over the world are struggling to keep programs open in creative ways.  Since last Thursday, I have spoken at length with providers from Ontario, Massachusetts, Illinois, South Carolina, Colorado, Virginia, Louisiana, Arizona, South Dakota and California.  Each program has provided feedback on similar struggles- making decisions about going from extra cleaning precautions, to reducing visits, to considering suspending visits, doing only exchanges, and planning for telephone skype type visits.  The wave of the future near may be visits over ZOOM or Facetime.  Keep thinking, adjusting and finding solutions!

3. Ask for Help

When we couldn’t get cleaning supplies through the normal suppliers and the stores were out, I put out a plea to staff, community partners and volunteers.  We got donations.  People had an extra box of wipes or a can of Lysol at home that they could share just a little. One of our interns brought in an entire case of hand sanitizer, a security guard (that works part-time with us on the weekend), just dropped off a box of gloves in extra large because we had a staff member that needs them.  When we ask for help-we hear yes or no or maybe.  When we do not ask, we can only expect a no!  

 If your program is going to survive this, you will need to ask for help.  Organizations like SVN and our program members depend on money that often come from grants or donations.  

 4. Develop Strengths of Your Team

You have co-workers, volunteers, employees that have unique strengths.  Some are better at communicating in writing, other communicate much better over the phone, some are better with technology and others have creative talents with problem solving the program will need now and in the future.   Pull your team together and use strengths!   But, stay six feet apart.  

5. Check -in Often

Reach out to employees, volunteers, partners and clients.  Not everyone will share their concerns but if you do not set up regular check-ins, you will not hear things that could cause difficulty down the road.  Ask questions, be prepared to give pep-talks.  Expect to be faced with challenges from people because uncertainty breeds fear.  Remind yourself, your team and your clients you are doing my best.  More than once over the last few days I have reminded a client or one of our staff members that I am doing my best and I need them to do their best. 

6. Remove the Roadblocks

Trying to prevent information sharing in this age of social media is impossible.  Try to consistently support individuals with consistent messaging.  Engaging parents and staff in the decision making, with opportunities to vent, will allow everyone to have a small bit of control over their circumstances.  Try not to shut people down, keep refocusing the message onto the options available.  Don’t get stuck in procedures that block creative solutions.  None of us has ever done any of this before.

7. Be Impeccable with Your Words

Respond to concerns as quickly as you can, but only say what you know what is true.  If you do not know the answer, say-“I do not know the answer but when I do I will let you know .”  Remind folks that things are changing so fast that the plans you make today, may change tomorrow.  

  8. Self-Care is Key

Supervised visitation providers are built to solve problems, and put others first!  We want to connect, fix and support our staff, our funders, our clients ect.  Do not take this situation personally!  Make sure you are getting enough rest, don’t put off your needs for the needs of your program.  You can only take care of others if you are taking care of yourself.  Find opportunities to indulge in a morning walk, do an online yoga secession and cook healthy meals at home. Puzzles may be a wonderful way to bring the family at home together and accomplish something that is within your control.  Figure out your routine for the morning and build in selfcare. Take a news break and listen to your favorite play list.  Be good to yourself so you can be good to others. 

9. Evaluate and Adjust

At the end of each day take time to evaluate outcomes.  What do you need to think about for tomorrow and the challenge that may be waiting ahead?  What is working, what must change because of new announcements or restrictions?  What feedback did you get?  Have someone read your communications and give you feedback.  Check your financial situation and evaluate what your options are there.  End the day where you started- what can I control, what is our of my control and where do I need more information

10. Stay in the Moment

This to shall pass.  Like a kidney stone, no doubt but it will pass.  Don’t allow yourself to be pulled into panic.  We see others that are reactive and pulled into reactivity.  We see how children are pulled into anxiety by parents before, during and after visits.  Try grounding activities.  Breath, stretch and look at where you are.  What can you taste, what can you smell, what can you hear and what can you reach out in this moment and touch?