WHO IS ACCREDITED?

Private Organization Accreditation

Sweetser, a Maine non-profit agency operating since 1828, provides comprehensive mental and behavioral health and substance abuse treatment services. Statewide, it serves around 15,000 consumers a year, including children, adults, and families in outpatient, office-based, and residential settings.
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VOLUNTEER TESTIMONIAL

Mike Angstadt

Volunteer Roles: Commissioner; Hague Evaluator; Lead Evaluator; Peer Reviewer; Team Leader

Serving as a Team Leader for COA has been an enriching experience in many ways. Utilizing the Contextual Accreditation process to discern the means in which agencies, offering a variety of services, located throughout the US, Canada ,the Philippines and other countries provide best and most promising practices to their consumers has been particularly rewarding. read more>>

Purpose

Adoption Services establish a permanent family for children and youth awaiting adoption, and increase the well-being and functioning of birth parents, adoptive families, and adopted individuals.

AS 13: Administrative Practice

Administrative practices are ethical, professional, and respect the rights of all parties involved in the adoption.

Rating Indicators
1
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice standards.
2
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted, however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations (HR 6.02) and training (TS 2.03); or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
3
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • A number of client records are missing important information  or
  • Client participation is inconsistent; or
  • One of the Fundamental Practice Standards received a rating of 3 or 4.
4
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing; or  
  • Two or more Fundamental Practice Standards received a rating of 3 or 4.

Table of Evidence

Self-Study Evidence On-Site Evidence On-Site Activities
    • Fee policy and procedures
    • Fee scale
    • Record retention procedures
    • Procedures for releasing information
    • Board minutes documenting the review and approval of the fee policy
    • Documentation of licensure or credentials of collaborating organizations or individuals
    • Service agreements and contracts
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Adoptive parents
    • Observe record storage area
    • Review financial records of fees paid by adoptive parents

  • AS 13.01

    Fees are fair, reasonable, and based on costs associated with service delivery, and parents are only charged for services provided.

    Interpretation: Practices are developed to protect the interests of prospective adoptive parents if the organization closes the adoption program. One example of such a practice is to place funds collected prior to the delivery of a service in a separate account, and provide an accounting of disbursements to parents.

    NA The organization does not charge fees for adoption services.


  • AS 13.02

    When reviewing and approving the organization’s adoption fee policy, the governing body considers ethical issues associated with charging adoption fees, including:

    1. the influence fees can have on decision-making about child relinquishment and matching; and
    2. the psychological impact fees can have on birth parents, adoptive parents, and adopted individuals.

    NA The organization does not charge fees for adoption services.


  • AS 13.03

    The organization, its personnel, and independent contractors do not accept or provide financial or other consideration beyond reimbursement for services.

    Interpretation: The organization must demonstrate thoughtfully developed, fully implemented policies that ensure that professional decision-making is separate from financial considerations, and that all actions have a sound ethical and professional basis. Prospective adoptive parents interested in making donations can be advised to do so after the adoption has been finalized.


  • AS 13.04

    When the organization collaborates with other organizations or individuals to deliver services:

    1. providers are licensed or appropriately credentialed, according to applicable regulations;
    2. service agreements or contracts are written;
    3. prospective adoptive parents are made aware of the relationship between providers; and
    4. the quality of services is monitored.

    NA The organization does not collaborate with other providers.


  • AS 13.05

    Records are retained for the period required by applicable law or, in the absence of such law, for at least 99 years, and the organization has a plan for transfer of records if the adoption program is closed.


  • AS 13.06

    All releases of identifying information about adopted persons, birth parents, and adoptive families are in accordance with individual preferences and applicable regulation.

    Interpretation: In cases where an individual waives confidentiality, informed consent is obtained in the form of a notarized affidavit before any contact or exchange of identifying information occurs.

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