Private Organization Accreditation

As one of the largest family services agencies in the country, Child & Family Services has dedicated its resources to meet the needs of the community since 1873.


Judy Kay, LCSW

Volunteer Roles: Peer Reviewer; Team Leader

In administration for 22 of 24 years at Child Saving Institute, a COA-accredited not-for-profit child welfare agency in Omaha, Nebraska. Retired approximately two years ago, I moved to Tucson, Arizona, where I advocate for children's rights as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer to three young children.
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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 7: Mental Health Services

Youth with mental health conditions receive the appropriate level and intensity of treatment needed to promote rehabilitation.

Research Note: Group treatment has been emphasized in one prominent U.S. juvenile justice reform model as an effective method for rehabilitation because it encourages youth to be held accountable for their destructive behaviour and be introspective about the cause of such behaviour. Utilizing group treatment may reduce recidivism rates, increase security, and help youth overcome traumatic histories.

NA Services are provided via contract, when needed.

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 mental health services
    • Mental health related procedures
    • Documentation of residents with co-occurring conditions
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Youth served
    • Verify employment of qualified mental health professional either directly or via contract
    • Review case records

  • FP
    CA-YCS 7.01

    Youth receive a mental health assessment within seven to fourteen days of admission, and youth with mental health conditions receive diagnoses based on standardized diagnostic tools.

    Interpretation: As referenced in CA-YCS 1.04, some organizations may conduct systematic service need screenings to determine when youth are in need of more in-depth assessments. When this is the case these service need screenings should occur within seven to fourteen days, and further evaluation should be conducted if necessary.

    NA The organization provides only remand services.

  • CA-YCS 7.02

    Interventions are appropriate to youths’ needs, and based on evidence or clinical practice guidelines, where they exist.

    Research Note: Research indicates that most evidence-based treatments have been designed for specific disorders. Accordingly, it is critical to conduct assessments that yield an accurate diagnosis.

    NA The organization provides only remand services.

  • FP
    CA-YCS 7.03

    Treatment services are provided by qualified mental health professionals.

    Interpretation: If other personnel provide some aspects of service, they must be trained and supervised by qualified mental health practitioners.

    NA The organization provides only remand services.

  • FP
    CA-YCS 7.04

    When youth receive medications for emotional or behavioural conditions, medication use is:

    1. consistent with the youth’s assessed needs and service plan;
    2. authorized and managed by a board-eligible psychiatrist or another qualified health practitioner; and
    3. monitored for efficacy and side effects.

    Interpretation: It is permissible under the standard to use a consulting psychiatrist or the local health authority for psychiatric consultation, provided that the organization has a formal agreement.

  • FP
    CA-YCS 7.05

    In case of emergency, the organization establishes procedures for ensuring youth have access to mental health services 24 hours a day.

  • CA-YCS 7.06

    When youth have experienced trauma, the organization provides specialized services and trauma-informed care.

    Research Note: Research suggests that many youth in the youth justice system have experienced trauma, especially girls.

  • FP
    CA-YCS 7.07

    To promote the safety of youth at risk of suicide, personnel:

    1. recognize when youth are thinking about suicide;
    2. monitor suicidal youth at a frequency consistent with level of risk;
    3. respond promptly and appropriately to youth who attempt suicide; and
    4. continuously supervise youth who attempt suicide until they are assessed by qualified medical and mental health personnel.

  • CA-YCS 7.08

    Youth diagnosed as having co-occurring mental health and substance use conditions receive integrated treatment either directly or through active involvement with a cooperating service provider.

    Note: Collaboration with cooperating service providers is also addressed in CA-YCS 5.01 and 5.02.

    Research Note: Research indicates that the prevalence of co-occurring conditions is high among youth in the youth justice system, and suggests that treatment modalities addressing one problem at a time are not likely to be effective. Accordingly, literature points to the importance of providing integrated treatment that addresses needs in a cohesive manner.

    NA The organization provides only remand services.

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