The parameters for visitation are just about the same all across the U.S. when it comes to foster children visiting their birth parents. However, depending on the age of your child, the number of options for visitation location may vary.
For infants up to the age of two, most of the visitations will be supervised by yourself, the child’s caseworker, or a visitation center. I have had three foster children and most of my visitations, due to their age, were done in a county-approved visitation center. The visitation center would pick up the child from our home and take them to the visitation center where the birth parents would meet them. They would be there for two hours, supervised, then the supervisor would drive the child back to our house.
The great thing about this option is there is someone else’s perspective about how the visit is going and watching the interaction of the child with their birth parents. Or, your caseworker may hold the visit at the county building where they personally can supervise the visit. The county worker and the judge will determine the level of supervision needed during the visit. It will always start out as supervised.
If you are supervising the visitation yourself, there are plenty of public locations where you can take children of all ages. I am going to list off a few that I personally have done that worked out great.
1. The Library
The best place for a relaxed, not crowded, quieter environment is the public library. I have held plenty of visits to the library. Birth parents can read to their child and there is usually quiet games to play. Going to the library doesn’t cost you anything, and they are usually large enough to where you can kick back and give them a little bit of space to interact.
Another great location is a public park. This is again a public space and at no cost. You can kick back and give them room to interact, and the child will be entertained. We have a park in our area where they have a splash pad. This is a great option for during the summer months, especially if the birth parents don’t have AC. The splash pad is not a pool, they are just open water play areas–they’re like huge sprinklers.
3. Community Centers
You may also want to look into local community centers in the area. These are great options for older children since they have games and plenty of activities.
I try to keep my visitations out of really crowded places like arcades, Chuck E Cheese, or anything super crowded. It is very easy for a child to get lost, so I prefer a low-key public setting where I can keep watch, but not have to hover. Also, depending on your child’s mental state, or their background, a super crowded location may be overstimulating or overwhelming for them. I hope this information helps in aiding your birth parent visitations with your child.