Committee Reports

Legislation to Establish a Statewide Supervised Visitation Program


S.8661-A (Sen. Hoylman-Sigal) – Directs the office of children and family services, in consultation with the office for the prevention of domestic violence, to establish a statewide supervised visitation initiative including culturally sensitive services that provide language access for those who need it and that are affordable for those with limited means to pay; requires the submission of regular assessments and reports (NYS 2023-24).



S.8661-A (Sen. Hoylman-Sigal)

AN ACT to amend the Social Services Law, in relation to the establishment of a statewide supervised visitation initiative.



The New York City Bar Association’s Council on Children supports S.8661-A. The Council on Children includes Family Court Judges, support magistrates, court attorneys, advocates for economic justice, and attorneys representing children, parents, and caregivers, who have a broad range of experience with the issue addressed by the bill. The Council on Children supports this bill because members from each of these varied perspectives agree that children and families engaged in legal proceedings throughout the state are in dire need of the proposed programming.


S.8661-A would establish a state-wide supervised visitation program, administered by the NYS Office of Children and Family Services, in consultation with the NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. As documented in the July 2023 Report from the Working Group on the Future of Supervised Visitation in New York State,[1] there is a woeful lack of resources available to effectuate supervised visitation orders[2] in custody/visitation cases in New York City, and elsewhere in the State.[3] Unfortunately, in New York City there are not enough individuals and organizations that provide these desperately-needed services, which keep children safe, reunite fractured families, and provide valuable information to courts regarding interactions between children and parents. Additionally, due to the shortage of free or low-cost visit supervision providers, many low-income families that litigate custody and visitation in New York City’s Family Courts and the Integrated Domestic Violence Parts of the Supreme Court find it cost prohibitive and/or impossible to exercise visits that the court has ordered.

Moreover, the few providers that exist in New York City simply do not have the capacity and/or staff to meet the demand for their services. Based on the experience of practitioners on the Council, that limited capacity leads to unconscionably long waitlists for implementation of court-ordered supervised visits, with families in New York City routinely waiting six months to a year between a court’s entry of a supervised visitation order and the commencement of visits. Such lags hinder efforts to normalize fractured parent-child relationships and delay pending litigation, as courts await reports from providers so that they may make fully informed decisions regarding what restrictions, if any, to impose on a parent’s contact with a child.

Thus, the State should implement and adequately fund a supervised visitation program, as such programming not only protects children’s physical safety and emotional well-being, but also helps families heal.


For these reasons, it is recommended that the Social Services Law be amended, in order to establish a statewide supervised visitation initiative, which would permit court-involved children and parents to safely maintain and strengthen their relationships with one another.

Accordingly, the Council on Children supports this bill and urges its passage.

Council on Children
Cathy A. Cramer, Chair

May 2024


[1] The Working Group was convened by the New York State Office of Court Administration’s Office of Justice Initiatives. The report is available at (last accessed on May 20, 2024).

[2] These supervised visitation orders include temporary orders granted in on-going custody/visitation litigation, and final orders entered in custody/visitation cases that have concluded with a directive that a parent have his or her visitation supervised by an agency. S.8661-A establishes a supervised visitation program for only those cases in which there is a temporary visitation order.

[3] According to the Working Group’s report, 20 counties in New York State lack any supervised visitation programming for families involved in custody/visitation litigation.