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.


Joint Base Charleston School Age Program

Paula B. Matthews, School Age Program Coordinator

Preparing for our after school accreditation was an awesome and very valuable learning experience for the Child and Youth Professionals at Charleston Air Force Base. Becoming familiar with and understanding the After School standards was a breeze because of the training webinars and the great customer service we received from all of the COA staff. Thank you for supporting our military families.
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Youth Custody Services promote public safety by providing youth with a supportive, structured setting that helps them address their needs and develop the attitudes and skills needed to make responsible choices, avoid negative behaviours, and become productive, connected, and law-abiding citizens.

CA-YCS 12: Living and Service Environment

Youth reside and receive services in safe, appropriate settings that meet their basic needs.

Note: Additional standards that address the importance of providing a clean, healthy, and safe service environment are included in CA-ASE.

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
    • A description of living and service environment
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Youth served
    • Observe site

  • FP
    CA-YCS 12.01

    The organization meets youths’ basic needs by providing:

    1. appropriate sleeping accommodations, including a clean, covered mattress; a pillow; and sufficient clean linens and blankets;
    2. sufficient access to facilities and supplies for toileting, bathing, and personal hygiene;
    3. clean and appropriate clothing.

    Research Note: Sleeping rooms should be large enough to allow for comfortable movement during in-room activities. Some literature suggests that single and double rooms should have at least 70 square feet per youth, and that rooms housing three or more youth should have at least 50 square feet per youth.

  • CA-YCS 12.02

    Sufficient and appropriate space, materials, and furnishings are available for:

    1. dining;
    2. exercise;
    3. on-site services, including treatment, education, and other programming;
    4. recreation and leisure;
    5. visits with family members; and
    6. private meetings with attorneys and other professionals.

  • CA-YCS 12.03

    The living and service environments are homelike and non-institutional, to the extent possible and appropriate.

    Interpretation: Organizations may strive to make the environment homelike and non-institutional by, for example, allowing youth to personalise their sleeping areas, and contribute to decisions about how to make living areas comfortable and reflective of youths’ interests and diversity. The environment should be sensitive to and supportive of youth regardless of their age, developmental level, language, disability, background, gender and gender identity, ethnic heritage, culture, religion, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation.

  • CA-YCS 12.04

    The organization allows for privacy in bathrooms and sleeping areas, to the extent possible and appropriate.

    Research Note: Literature indicates that adolescents have a greater need than most for personal privacy.

  • CA-YCS 12.05

    Adequate space and materials are also available for:

    1. housekeeping, laundry, maintenance, and storage, including storage of personal items youth are not permitted to keep in their living space;
    2. meeting the needs of personnel, including private sleeping accommodations for personnel who sleep at the facility, if applicable; and
    3. related administrative support functions.
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