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

Anita Paukovits

Volunteer Roles: Peer Reviewer

Being a COA peer reviewer has clearly played a role in my professional development and has made me a better administrator at my own agency as a result!  To be part of a professional network that is on the cutting edge of program, practice, fiscal responsibility, and insuring Best Practice across the field is an amazing opportunity.
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Purpose

Adoption programs establish permanent family relationships for children in need of permanency, and increase the well-being, functioning, and stability of children, birth parents, adoptive families, and adopted individuals.

AS 3: Outreach and Orientation

The program conducts outreach, recruitment and orientation activities in a responsive and ethical manner.  

NA The organization only provides foster to adopt services.

NA The organization provides home study services only.

NA The organization provides post placement and/or post-adoption services only.

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
    • Samples of documents provided to prospective clients at initial contact or during orientation
    • Intake forms or other tools used to collect information during the outreach and orientation process
    • Recruitment plan
    • Eligibility criteria
No On-Site Evidence
No On-Site Activities

  • AS 3.01

    The program provides birth or prospective birth parents considering adoption with accurate information about the adoption process and services offered by the program and other organizations and individuals with whom they might work with.

    Interpretation: Examples of basic information about the process and services can include:

    1. steps and timelines for the adoption process;
    2. legal process for adoption and legal rights of each party to the adoption;
    3. confidentiality and the range of openness in adoption; and
    4. availability of post-placement and post-adoption services.

    NA The program does not work with birth or prospective birth parents considering adoption.


  • AS 3.02

    Upon initial contact with birth parents or prospective birth parents considering adoption, the adoption worker attempts to collect information about:

    1. immediate needs;
    2. any individuals who may need to be provided with notice of a future adoption plan or whose consent may be required;
    3. any open cases with child protective services; and
    4. any potential membership or eligibility for membership in a tribe. 

    NA The program does not work with birth or prospective birth parents considering adoption.


  • AS 3.03

    Upon initial contact with youth who are considering or have a goal of adoption, the adoption worker provides age and developmentally appropriate information about the meaning of adoption, the adoption process, and services offered by the organization.

    Interpretation: Information about adoption may have already been provided by others and is sometimes provided before adoption is formally identified as a goal for youth. Adoption workers should have strategies for their initial contact with youth and strategies for engaging youth in conversations over time about adoption.

    NA The program does not work with youth considering or with a goal of adoption.


  • AS 3.04

    The program has a plan for recruitment of prospective adoptive parents and when the program has responsibility for placement of children in foster care, children with special needs, or American Indian and Alaska Native children, the plan details specialized recruitment strategies.

    Interpretation: An organization that has responsibility for placing American Indian and Alaska Native children should work closely with tribes to establish eligibility for adoptive parents that are consistent with the norms of the tribe and to identify adoptive homes within the tribal community through joint recruitment efforts.

    Interpretation: Socialized strategies can include for example targeted and/or child-specific recruitment. Targeted recruitment strategies use data such as demographics of current children and youth in care and foster and adoptive parents to develop recruitment strategies. Child-specific recruitment strategies generally include a comprehensive assessment of the child and identification of all individuals who may have a connection to the child including family members, foster parents, former caregivers, members of the child’s tribe, and other adults with a significant connection to the child.

    Interpretation: Organizations that use online photo listing services ensure that appropriate mechanisms are in place to protect confidential information and respect an individual’s right to refuse to have their photo taken.

    NA The program does not recruit prospective adoptive parents, for example, the program is a foster to adopt program.


  • AS 3.05

    Upon initial contact, the program provides prospective adoptive parents with information which includes:

    1. a description of the adoption process, services offered by the organization, and any significant policies or procedures relating to its adoption services;
    2. eligibility criteria;
    3. fees and expenses prospective adoptive parents may be responsible for; and
    4. estimated timelines and general information on waiting lists if the program maintains such lists.

    Note: Information on estimated wait times should be carefully articulated to prevent confusion or dissatisfaction if timelines happen to exceed what was originally projected.  


  • AS 3.06

    Prospective adoptive parents participate in an orientation session, or after initial contact receive information that includes the following:

    1. an overview of the lifelong impact of adoption;
    2. the process for completing an adoption;
    3. common needs and characteristics of children awaiting adoptive families;
    4. the importance of race, ethnicity, religion, tribal affiliation, language, and other factors in adoption;
    5. options for openness and maintaining connections that benefit the child; and
    6. the availability of supports, clinical services and subsidies following adoption.

    Interpretation: Prospective adoptive parents who have adopted through the program may need orientation if the information, their circumstances, or needs have changed.


  • AS 3.07

    When eligibility criteria is limited, the program:

    1. has considered its mission, resources, capacity, contractual and legal obligations, and the needs of children when developing and periodically reviewing its eligibility criteria;
    2. has a policy for such selectivity; and
    3. refers applicants who do not meet the organization’s eligibility criteria to another provider.

    Interpretation: Referral to another adoption service provider is not required when it is evident the applicants do not meet legally required criteria.

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