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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ORGANIZATION TESTIMONIAL

The Village for Families & Children, Inc.

Galo A. Rodriguez, M.P.H., President & CEO

COA Peer Reviewers demonstrated their expertise through their knowledge of COA standards as well as experience in the behavioral health field. In addition, COA’s seminars and tools were very helpful in guiding us through the accreditation process.
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Purpose

Children in Family Foster Care and Kinship Care live in safe, stable, nurturing, and typically temporary family settings that best provide the continuity of care to preserve relationships, promote well-being, and ensure permanency.

CA-FKC 6: Child Placement

Children are placed with resource families who can best meet their needs and best support their ties to family and community.

Interpretation: When another provider is responsible for child placement, the organization must ensure the standard is met. An organization that provides emergency placements must document efforts made to meet the standards given the emergency nature of the placement.

Note: Foster Care to Adoption programs will implement CA-FKC 6 and CA-AS 9.

NA The organization has no role in facilitating child placement.

NA The organization provides informal Kinship Care 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 (CA-HR 6.02) and training (CA-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
    • Placement procedures including: 
      1. matching children and resource families
      2. preventing and managing placement disruptions
    • A description of services to support placement changes
    • Procedures for developing shared living agreements
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Resource parents
      4. Parents
      5. Children and youth
    • Review case records
    • Review resource parent records

  • FP
    CA-FKC 6.01

    All resource families’ homes are licenced, approved, or certified according to provincial, territorial, tribal, and/or local regulation and contain no more than: 
    1. five children with no more than two children under age two; or 
    2. two children in treatment foster care.

    Update:

    • Revised Interpretation - 01/15/17
      The interpretation was revised to clarify that the maximum number of children in a resource family includes children in respite care. 

    Interpretation: When children are placed with kin on an emergent basis, criminal and child abuse background checks and preliminary safety assessments are conducted prior to placement and the local child welfare agency may allow eligible kin a period of time to work towards certification or licencing as a resource family home.

    When the local child welfare agency is not assuming custody of a child, the kinship caregiver’s home may be approved as a temporary placement option while the family works towards stabilization.

    Interpretation: The total number of children includes all children under the age of 18 residing with the family, and includes any children residing with the family for overnight respite care. Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis to the number of children in the home to accommodate sibling groups, to place children with relatives, or when the home is licenced by the province, territory, or tribe to care for more children and demonstrates that the needs of every child can be met.

    Research Note: Provincial or territorial statutes and administrative policy may provide guidance regarding child welfare authority permission to waive non-safety licencing standards for kinship caregivers on a case-by-case basis. This could encourage organizations to be flexible in working with kinship caregivers in order to keep children with their families and to recognize that some non-safety standards that are appropriate for non-related resource parents may not be relevant to placements with kin. In addition to certain non-safety waivers, organizations may be able to grant exceptions on a time-limited basis to allow kin time to meet a requirement, especially when they are already caring for a child.


  • CA-FKC 6.02

    To identify the safest and most nurturing home for every child the organization uses a process that examines:
    1. children’s and caregivers’ characteristics, strengths, needs, supports, and resources; and 
    2. the appropriateness of the resource family home environment.

    Interpretation: The organization uses all intake, initial assessment, comprehensive assessment, and prior placement information available at the time of placement to make the best possible match. Any prior relationship between children and caregivers should also be examined. 

    At least one resource parent effectively communicates in the children’s language, and when such placements are not possible, assistance is provided with translation and support while a more suitable family is identified. 

    The home environment includes factors such as sleeping arrangements and characteristics and needs of other children in the home. 

    Interpretation: When placing children who are victims of human trafficking or who have a record of running away (AWOL), resource families should be assessed for their ability to care for this population.

    Research Note: Several studies have identified a “good fit” between children and resource parents as a predictor of placement stability. “Goodness of fit” typically refers to the totality of factors that are assessed, with particular attention to temperament and personality traits.


  • FP
    CA-FKC 6.03

    Children are placed according to their best interests in the most family-like and familiar setting possible: 
    1. with siblings; 
    2. with kin; or 
    3. with families that reside within reasonable proximity to their family and home community.

    Interpretation: Unless it is contrary to the well-being of a child, organizations are required to make reasonable efforts to place siblings together and policy requires that preference be given to kin. If a child is not placed in a manner consistent with the specified options, the reason is documented in the case record.

    NA The organization provides Kinship Care Services only.


  • CA-FKC 6.04

    Aboriginal children are placed according to the placement preferences specified in the Aboriginal  child welfare laws of the province or territory, as applicable.

    NA The organization provides Kinship Care Services only.

    NA The organization provides services for foreign-born children only.


  • CA-FKC 6.05

    The organization prevents placement changes through coordinated placement planning that:
    1. ensures children, families, and resource families are aware of the placement process and receive support and information throughout; 
    2. provides  all legally permissible information about children’s characteristics, behaviours, histories, and permanency goals to prospective resource families; 
    3. arranges opportunities for children and parents to meet prospective resource families when possible; 
    4. responds proactively to challenges associated with placement and assesses the need for services and supports; and 
    5. facilitates workers’ ability to spend more time with children, families, and/or resource parents after a new placement or when challenges arise.

    Research Note: The trauma of separation and placement moves can be partially minimized through a sensitive and responsive placement process. Effective placement planning requires sharing of information to promote equal involvement in the process and to allow all parties to do their job well. Birth and resource families need information about the process, visitation, decision making timeframes and expectations for involvement in meetings and ongoing communication. 


  • CA-FKC 6.06

    Placement changes occur to support the best interests of children and their permanency goals.

    Interpretation: The organization should make every effort to prevent any placement change that is not in the best interest of the children and their permanency goals. Placement changes that support children’s best interests and permanency goals may include moving from a foster home to an adoptive home, moving from foster care to kinship foster care or other moves that bring children closer to family or community.

    Research Note: Significant research has demonstrated the correlation between placement instability and negative child outcomes including poor academic performance and social and emotional difficulties. Regardless of children’s prior history of maltreatment or behavioural challenges, these negative outcomes increase following placement disruptions.


  • CA-FKC 6.07

    Children, families, and resource families receive additional support during placement changes that include: 
    1. sufficient advanced notice prior to a placement change; 
    2. formalize