Supervised access in the Greater Toronto Area: APCO is closed, now what?
by Matilda Kissi, Senior Family Law Clerk
With the Covid-19 pandemic, we have all struggled to continue and keep up with some sense of normalcy in our lives.
This has been particularly difficult for those parents who were seeing their children in accordance with court orders that required in person supervision by a third-party agency, such as APCO (Access Centre for Parents and Children in Ontario).
The ability of a parent to maintain a bond, or a relationship, with their child has been broken in many instances. This can make it hard on both the child, who is getting familiar with the parent that they do not reside with, and also on the parent seeking to reconnect with the child they have not seen in months or even years.
The closure of in-person supervised access and now the suspension of new virtual access orders at APCO has left many with no alternate options for either in-person or virtual parenting time. And when APCO is able to reopen, the waitlist is long.
Parents and children should not have to suffer in the interim, given how much they are already dealing with as a result of Covid-19. We in the family law field, who assist parents on a daily basis to navigate the system, have a responsibility to ensure that we do not impose further damage or delay our clients’ ability to move on with their lives, for the sake of their children and their wellbeing.
With that said, below is a list of supervised centers that are available, during this period that APCO is closed, for lawyers, mediators and agencies to assist parents in staying connected with their children and adhering to court orders imposed by the Court. These agencies facilitate both in-person and virtual access and in some instances therapeutic access.
All these programs offer various ranges in level of supervision , including virtual and telephone within the GTA and in fact, there are some that do not require a court order, provided the parties have agreed to it in writing. They include:
Side by Side Supervised Services – 416-518-1569 http://sidebysideservices.ca
Brayden Supervised Services – 416-620-7712 http://www.braydensupervision.com
Renew Supervised Access – 416-220-4212 https://renewsupervision.com
Durham Supervised Centre – 905-619-4565 ext 305 or ext 318 https://durham.cioc.ca