Can Supervised Visitation Providers be Certified?Currently there is NO formal certification program for supervised visitation providers, so as the SVN Code of Ethics stipulate, providers should avoid "using terms such as "certification," "recognized," or "approved" unless authorized to do so by an appropriate governmental body or professional organization"
Although it does not currently exist as an option, Certification is just one possible form of professional credential that can be offered by a professional organization. SVN has been exploring these options since 2009 through the work of the Credentialing Sub Committee. Here is a summary of the various credentials:
- Licensure is a process through which ONLY a governmental entity grants recognition to an individual after verifying that he or she has, at minimum, met eligibility criteria and passed an assessment. A lIcense would also be mandatory for any provider of the service. Presently, to the best of our knowledge, no states or jurisdictions are actively pursuing this option, which could be very expensive to implement.
- Certification is a process through which an organization grants recognition to an individual after verifying that he or she has, at minimum, met eligibility criteria and passed an assessment. To become certified, one usually has to meet eligibility requirements (such as a minimum amount or level of education and years of work experience) and pass an assessment. An agency that wishes to implement a certification program must identify that all constituents or perspective applicants for the certificate have access to a similar level of training and expertise in their community and have the possibility of acquiring the certification. The organization must also be prepared to expend substantial financial resources to develop the verification and monitoring process required. The Credentialing Sub Committee has determined that the current landscape of supervised visitation and the capacity of SVN are not sufficient to offer a certification program at this time.
Certificate Program is a non-degree-
granting structured learning program that is designed to meet specific and pre-determined learning outcomes and for which individual achievement of intended learning outcomes is measured. It is different than a standard training program that issues a certificate of attendance, the key distinction is that certificate programs use a measurement of learner achievement (test). Similar to an academic degree it does NOT speak to the ability to perform a specific job or career, but does demonstrate successful attainment of the information presented during the training.
SVN is developing a Formal Certificate program and the first training has been scheduled for Los Angeles, November 10-14, 2014
Per Credentialing Industry practices, the organization issuing the Certificate Program (SVN) must also be the provider (SVN) of the educational program. This is an OPTIONAL Program, and specifically SVN members can elect to meet the SVN 24 hour training requirement independently of this program. It is worth noting that during the 3 year environmental survey conducted through the work of the Credentialing committee, almost half of the members responded that there were not sufficient training opportunities in their areas.
- Accreditation is a process through which a third-party organization grants recognition to an organization or program after verifying that it has met predetermined criteria. Accreditation is only for organizations and typically involves a thorough and detailed process making it potentially cost prohibitive for smaller agencies or programs.
Accreditation would be the only way that a full organization can attain a credential as all other examples specifically relate to individuals. We have been working with the Council on Accreditation (COA Website) and are hopeful that agencies seeking accreditation of their Supervised Visitation Programs will have an option.
How Did We Get Here?In 2009 SVN hired a Credentialling consultant who described the complexity and cost of creating a credential to the Board of Directors. The consultant strongly encouraged SVN to do a careful study of our goals and to be sure we all understand the different of options for credentials (license, certification, a training certificate program, accreditation) and also recommended that we learn the wishes and needs of stakeholders: our members who have different kinds of practices (program and individual providers) with a range of clients (divorcing and separating families, child protection cases, reunification) and different models (for profit, non-profit). Equally important we needed to understand the wishes of the consumers of supervised visitation: courts and attorneys, child protective service agencies, domestic violence advocates, and the families who use the services.
As an initial step the Committee developed and sent a survey to all our members, asking 822 providers to respond to an online questionnaire. The questionnaire covered demographics and type of practices, concerns about practices, hopes for what might be achieved by a credential and also questions about preference of type of credential and willingness to pay for the cost of development and implementation.
Over 80% of all Providers agree or strongly agreed on three goals. They want:
- recognition as being well-trained,
- an increase in professionalism in the field
- more accountability
The survey of referral agencies (courts and funders) also indicated a majority were interested in some form of accountability of providers. 60% of Judges surveyed that they did not have sufficient information about the training background of the providers in their area and almost 100% were specifically in favor of a Certificate Program that would verify completion of a basic training program.
As a result of this process the decision was made to develop a Formal Certificate Training program. It is also possible that as a result of widespread offerings of this program that a Certification could be developed in the future, but the Certitifcate Program will be a good first step. The curriculum will be the first ever developed that will be specifically designed to cover all of the required SVN training topics in context for how they impact the provision of supervised visitation.
We realize that some providers have had access to excellent training and are already in compliance with the SVN Training standards, but we want to be clear that the Certificate Program is strictly an option. Providers already in compliance though, may still benefit from the detailed curriculum and learn more about emerging developments in the field, while also attaining a Certificate that will verify the knowledge they have attained.
Some of the information included on this page was based on the Article, "Considering Certification" by Mikie Rops