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

ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions

Tim Spearin, Vice President, Quality Assurance

ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions has been accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) since 1996.  Reaccreditation attests that a member organization continues to meet the highest national operating standards as set by the COA.  It also provides assurance that ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions is performing services which the community needs, conducting its operations and funds successfully.
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Purpose

Outreach Services identify and engage youth, adults, and families experiencing homelessness as a first step to accepting care for immediate health and safety needs, gaining access to community services and resources, taking steps towards community integration, and connecting to safe and stable housing. 

CA-OS 3: Assessment and Engagement

Outreach workers build trust with individuals experiencing homelessness and assess their immediate health and safety needs.

Update:

  • Revised Evidence - 06/15/18
    The on-site evidence was revised to include logs or progress notes as acceptable forms of service documentation. 
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
  • Culturally responsive assessments are the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations (CA-HR 6.02) and training (CA-TS 2.05); or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent; or
  • Diagnostic tests are consistently and appropriately used, but interviews with staff indicate a need for more training (CA-TS 2.08).
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
  • Assessment and reassessment timeframes are often missed; or
  • Assessment are sometimes not sufficiently individualized;
  • Culturally responsive assessments are not the norm and this is not being addressed in supervision or training; or
  • Staff are not competent to administer diagnostic tests , or tests are not being used when clinically indicated; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent; 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.
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.,
  • There are 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
    • Description of the techniques and strategies used to engage and assess individuals and families experiencing homelessnes 
    • Assessment tools 
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
    • Review logs, progress notes, or case records for documentation of services applied, as applicable

  • FP
    CA-OS 3.01

    Engagement and assessment are:

    1. sensitive to the willingness of the individual or family to be engaged;
    2. non-threatening;
    3. respectful of the person’s autonomy and confidentiality;
    4. culturally responsive; 
    5. trauma-informed;
    6. flexible; and
    7. persistent.

    Update:

    • Revised Interpretation - 10/01/18

    Interpretation: When engaging with minors, the minor must be informed of the outreach worker’s obligations as a mandatory reporter.

    Interpretation: Culturally responsive engagement and assessment practices can include attention to geographic location, language of choice, the person’s religious, racial, ethnic, and cultural background, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and developmental level.

    Interpretation: To ensure that transgender and gender non-conforming service recipients are treated with respect and feel safe, service recipient choice regarding their first names and pronouns should be respected and forms and procedures should allow individuals to self-identify their gender and receive access to services accordingly, in accordance with applicable legal, regulatory, and/or contractual requirements. 
     

    Research Note: Establishing a trusting relationship between the outreach worker and the person experiencing homelessness is essential for successful outreach. Engagement is often an ongoing, long-term process, during which the outreach worker builds trust with the goal of linking the person to needed health, mental health, substance use, social, and housing services. Engagement and assessment occur simultaneously and are essentially the same process.


  • FP
    CA-OS 3.02

    Outreach workers assess the individual’s:

    1. safety, including potentially life-threatening situations and risk for suicide;
    2. immediate needs;
    3. level of functioning;
    4. overall mental and physical health; and
    5. strengths and capacities, including the capacity for making decisions.

    Interpretation: Depending on the qualifications of staff doing street outreach, the assessment process may be a two-phased process with elements (a) and (b) addressed by outreach workers in the locales where connections are made with service recipients, and elements (c), (d), and (e) addressed by a case manager or other qualified staff once the service recipient has agreed to accept services at a shelter or drop-in center.

    Interpretation: Organizations should use standardized assessment instruments to ensure that service recipients are connected to the most appropriate services available within the community. The instruments should be evidence-based, person-centered and strengths-based, trauma-informed, facilitate referrals to the full range of services needed to end homelessness (i.e., homelessness programs, affordable housing, mainstream benefits and services, health and mental health services, employment services, etc.), and appropriate for administration by non-clinical staff.

    Interpretation: The organization may respond to identified suicide risk by connecting individuals to more intensive services; facilitating the development of a safety and/or crisis plan; or contacting emergency responders, 24-hour mobile crisis teams, emergency crisis intervention services, crisis stabilization, or 24-hour crisis hotlines, as appropriate.

    Research Note: Some groups of service recipients may be at higher risk for suicide due to past trauma, compounding risk factors, and/or societal stigma, including individuals with public systems involvement (foster care, juvenile justice, criminal justice), military service members, First Nations people, and individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT). Service recipients with alcohol use and/or mental health disorders are also at elevated risk for suicide. 

    Studies have also shown that individuals experiencing a financial crisis, including foreclosure and eviction, are more likely to experience high levels of stress, poor physical health, depression, anxiety, and be at risk for suicide.

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