Private Organization Accreditation

Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Savannah Area's mission is to provide the best non-profit community service, dedicated to delivering professional and confidential counseling, debt management, housing counseling and consumer education to all segments of the community regardless of ability to pay.


Family Services of the North Shore

Kathleen Whyte, Manager of Human Resources / Accreditation Coordinator

Family Services of the North Shore is about to enter our third accreditation cycle with COA. Accreditation has provided us with a framework that enables us to demonstrate accountability to our clients, our funders and our donors. There is no question that the accreditation process and COA have benefited our agency.
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Child Protective Services protect children from abuse and neglect and increase child well-being and family stability.

CA-CPS 12: Child and Youth Permanency

The organization participates in or facilitates permanency planning with families to promote stability and permanency.

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 (CA-HR 6.02) and training (CA-TS 2.03); 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
  • 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.
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
    • Procedures for permanency planning
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Supervisors
      3. Relevant personnel
    • Review case records

  • CA-CPS 12.01

    Service providers, foster parents, the public authority, and the court work with the child, youth, and family to develop a permanency plan within 60 days of placement, which specifies:

    1. the permanency goal(s);
    2. a timeframe for achieving permanency; and
    3. activities that support permanency.

    Interpretation: Efforts are made to locate family members who can be involved in permanency planning and who may wish to (re)establish positive relationships with the child. Aboriginal representatives and service providers should be involved in the permanency planning process where available.

    Interpretation: The age of a youth should not limit the consideration of all permanency options.

    Interpretation: The timeframe for achieving permanency is consistent with provincial regulations. Whenever possible, the permanency timeline for parents with substance use conditions reflects the time needed to receive substance use treatment services and make progress towards recovery.

  • CA-CPS 12.02

    Concurrent planning is undertaken when appropriate and includes:

    1. early assessment of the potential for reunification;
    2. full disclosure of options, expectations, and timelines;
    3. early identification of potential family resources;
    4. early placement with a permanent family resource; and
    5. counselling parents about relinquishment and permanency options when reunification seems unlikely.

    Interpretation: Provincial statutes or administrative policy may provide guidance about when concurrent planning is appropriate and how concurrent planning is to be conducted.

  • CA-CPS 12.03

    The child, parents, caregivers, foster parents, and relevant professionals participate in a court or administrative case review at least every 6 months to assess:

    1. the safety and appropriateness of continued placement;
    2. constructive parent, child, and sibling visitation;
    3. efforts to reunify the family and progress towards permanency;
    4. possible placement resources and best options; and
    5. appropriateness of services.

    Interpretation: Provincial statutes or administrative rules may provide guidance about when and how administrative reviews are to be conducted. The review is scheduled at times when appropriate parties can attend.

  • CA-CPS 12.04

    Youth are actively involved in permanency planning, and each child or youth receives age appropriate information about progress towards permanency.

  • CA-CPS 12.05

    The case record documents opportunities provided to parents in support of reunification, including:

    1. involvement in service planning and access to needed services;
    2. constructive visitation and on-going contact with the child;
    3. reduction of barriers to contact, visitation, and involvement in the child’s care; and
    4. use of resources to prepare the family for reunification.

    Note: The documentation must be in a format legally admissible as evidence to facilitate court proceedings.

  • CA-CPS 12.06

    The organization recommends, when possible, a petition to terminate parental rights for children who have been in care for 15 of the most recent 22 months, unless case-specific information legally exempts a child.

    Interpretation: The reason submitted for termination of parental rights cannot be the length of time a child has been in care. When the decision is made not to return the child home, the justification and alternative permanency goal are entered into the case record.

  • CA-CPS 12.07

    The organization is diligent in identifying and notifying all adult relatives of a child’s separation from her or his family within 30 days of placement.

    Interpretation: Organizations should have established procedures for identification of kin that involves a combination of engaging children and family members in identification and the use of technological resources for family-finding. Notification should be provided in multiple forms, including written form in order to insure accountability and maintain a record of efforts to notify.

    Research Note: Family-finding efforts support the increased identification and involvement of incarcerated parents and their families in the permanency plan. Unless the court has determined that reasonable efforts to support reunification are suspended, public agencies are mandated to work with incarcerated parents as with other parents. This involvement is important for children’s well-being and may increase motivation for incarcerated parents to work for reunification or participate in the development of an alternative plan.

  • CA-CPS 12.08

    To support permanency goals kinship caregivers are informed about, and assisted in, pursuing permanency options such as adoption or guardianship, as appropriate.

    Interpretation: Customary adoption should be considered as a permanency option for Indian children.

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