Private Organization Accreditation

Germaine Lawrence is a residential treatment center for girls ages 12-18 with complex behavioral, psychological and learning challenges.   Girls live at our programs while receiving special education, individual, family and group therapy; psychiatric and primary medical care; and a wide variety of therapeutic activities and interventions.


Barry Gourley

Volunteer Roles: Endorser; Peer Reviewer

It is an honor to be a COA volunteer. I’ve had a great opportunity to work with fabulous COA volunteers, I’ve grown professionally in the COA accreditation process and I’ve met some wonderful people across this nation who are working hard to help and support children and families.
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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 4: Service Planning and Monitoring

Birth parents, youth, and prospective adoptive parents participate in the development and ongoing review of service plans that are the basis for delivery of services and support.

Interpretation: Service goals should be identified for birth parents, the child, and the prospective adoptive family. Generally, separate plans are developed for each involved party, but in some circumstances it may be appropriate to add the child’s goals to one of the other service plans.

Interpretation: When the case involves an American Indian or Alaska Native child, the tribal or local American Indian and Alaska Native organization must be included in the service planning process and culturally relevant resources available through or recommended by the tribe or local Indian organization should be considered and prioritized when developing the service plan.

Note: The contract signed by prospective adoptive families can be considered a service plan.

NA The organization only provides Foster Care to Adoption Services.

NA The organization provides homestudy services only.

NA The organization provides post placement services only.

Rating Indicators
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.
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
  • In a few instances client or staff signatures are missing and/or not dated; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
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
  • In a number of instances client or staff signatures are missing and/or not dated (RPM 7.04); or
  • Quarterly reviews are not being done consistently; or
  • Level of care for some clients is inappropriate; or
  • Service planning is often done without full client participation; or
  • Appropriate family involvement is not documented; or
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing; or
  • Assessments are done by referral source and no documentation and/or summary of required information present in case record; or
  • One of the Fundamental Practice Standards received a rating of 3 or 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
    • Service planning and monitoring procedures
    • Documentation of case review
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Parents
      4. Children
    • Review case records

  • AS 4.01

    The service plan is based on the assessment, and includes:

    1. agreed upon goals, desired outcomes, and timeframes for achieving them;
    2. services, education, and supports to be provided, and by whom; and
    3. the service recipient’s signature.

    Interpretation: Culturally-relevant interventions and practices or customs of children and families’ cultures, tribe, or faith-based communities should be incorporated into the service plan to the greatest extent possible and appropriate. 

    Organizations should also be mindful that interventions adopted for the broader population, including evidence-based practices, may be ineffective or harmful to American Indian and Alaska Native children and families, and should instead identify culturally appropriate interventions that have been demonstrated to be effective for the population served. 

  • AS 4.02

    The worker and a supervisor, or a service or peer team, regularly review each case to assess:

    1. service plan implementation;
    2. progress toward achieving service goals and desired outcomes; and
    3. the continuing appropriateness of agreed upon service goals.

    Interpretation: The review should occur:

    1. weekly for infants and monthly for all other children awaiting adoption;
    2. at least quarterly for prospective adoptive parents;
    3. according to milestones in the pregnancy of expectant parents; and
    4. at least quarterly for birth parents.

    Interpretation: Experienced workers may conduct reviews of their own cases. In such cases, the worker’s supervisor reviews a sample of the worker’s evaluations as per the requirements of the standard.

    Interpretation: When the case involves an American Indian or Alaska Native child, a representative from the tribe or a local Indian organization must receive timely notification of case reviews to ensure their involvement, particularly when any changes are made to the service plan. Phone and video conferencing can be used to facilitate tribal participation. The case review should include an assessment for compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act.

  • AS 4.03

    The worker regularly reviews progress toward achievement of goals with birth parents, prospective adoptive families, and youth, and revisions to the goals and plans are signed.

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