Private Organization Accreditation

Stillwater-based FamilyMeans provides services in budget and credit counseling, mental health, collaborative divorce, caregiver support, youth programming, and an employee assistance program. 


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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Youth who participate in Wilderness and Adventure-based Therapeutic Outdoor Services expand individual capabilities, develop self-confidence and insight, ameliorate symptoms, and improve interpersonal skills and relationships.

CA-WT 17: Transition to Independent Living

Youth transitioning to independence are prepared with positive experiences and skills to move successfully to living and managing on their own.

NA The organization has a contract that does not include independent living services or the organization does not serve youth transitioning to independence.

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
    • Transition planning procedures
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Youth or families served
    • Review case records

  • CA-WT 17.01

    The organization prepares youth for a successful transition by providing:

    1. transfer or termination of custody information as applicable;
    2. information about rights and services to which the person may have access due to income level or a disability;
    3. information about availability of community resources, including counselling;
    4. court and welfare systems information;
    5. child care services information; and
    6. support through community volunteers or individuals who have made a successful transition, as appropriate.

    Interpretation: When the organization serves young children, the parent or legal guardian is informed of and involved in the transition process.

  • CA-WT 17.02

    During the transition process, and prior to case closing, the organization works with youth to:

    1. explore a range of housing options;
    2. evaluate risks and benefits of various options; and
    3. practice household management when possible.

    Interpretation: Housing options may range from supported living to fully independent living environments.

    NA The individual is not transitioning to an independent living situation.

  • FP
    CA-WT 17.03

    For every person transitioning to independence, the organization ensures that basic resources are in place, including:

    1. a source of income;
    2. adequate living arrangements;
    3. access to at least one committed, caring adult; and
    4. access to positive peer support.

    Research Note: A landmark longitudinal study following development of children from infancy to adulthood found that youth who made a successful transition to adulthood tended to seek out a caring adult, who could be a family or community member, or a substitute caregiver.

    NA The individual is not transitioning to an independent living situation.

  • CA-WT 17.04

    The organization assists individuals in obtaining or compiling documents necessary to function as an independent adult, including:

    1. an identification card;
    2. a social insurance number;
    3. a resume, when work experience can be described;
    4. a driver’s licence, when the ability to drive is a goal;
    5. medical records and documentation, including a provincial health services card or other health eligibility documentation;
    6. an original copy of the youth’s birth certificate;
    7. religious documents and information;
    8. documentation of immigration, citizenship, or naturalisation, when applicable;
    9. death certificates when parents are deceased;
    10. a list of known relatives with relationships, addresses, telephone numbers, and permission for contacting involved parties;
    11. previous placement information; and
    12. educational records, such as a high school diploma or GED, and a list of schools attended.
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