Private Organization Accreditation

Northside Psychological Services is a combination of both private practice and community mental health provider. We provide services to children and adults (EAP, private insurance, private pay, etc.) in our private practice setting. In our Community Care Program, we provide services to children and adolescents in their homes.


Family Services of the North Shore

Kathleen Whyte, Manager of Human Resources / Accreditation Coordinator

Family Services of the North Shore is about to enter our third accreditation cycle with COA. Accreditation has provided us with a framework that enables us to demonstrate accountability to our clients, our funders and our donors. There is no question that the accreditation process and COA have benefited our agency.
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Youth Justice Case Management Services coordinate the services and supervision that can help youth address problems and develop the attitudes and skills needed to make responsible choices, avoid negative behaviours, and become productive, connected, and law-abiding members of their communities.

CA-YJCM 2: Engagement and Assessment

The organization contacts youth promptly, and conducts assessments that identify risks, needs, and strengths and are the basis for service planning and delivery.

Interpretation: It is likely that youth will have been assessed elsewhere before arriving at an organization providing CA-YJCM. However, organizations can still take steps to further evaluate them. At minimum, an organization should review the results of previous assessments to ensure they meet COA’s standards, and conduct additional assessments if those done previously are insufficient.

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
  • 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).
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.
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
    • Screening and/or intake procedures
    • Assessment procedures
    • Assessment tool and/or criteria
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Youth served
    • Review case records

  • CA-YJCM 2.01

    To promote safety and support timely initiation of services, the organization responds to referrals by:

    1. contacting youth promptly, within specified timeframes;
    2. gathering personal, identifying, and emergency contact information; and
    3. screening youth to identify emergency health needs and safety concerns, such as imminent danger or risk of future harm. 

  • CA-YJCM 2.02

    Individualized assessments are conducted in a standardized manner, and address:

    1. youths’ strengths and assets;
    2. youths’ problems and needs; and
    3. risks youth pose to the community.

    Interpretation: The Assessment Matrix - Private, Public, Canadian, Network determines which level of assessment is required for COA’s Service Sections. The assessment elements of the Matrix can be tailored according to the needs of specific individuals or service design.

  • CA-YJCM 2.03

    Personnel who conduct assessments are qualified by relevant training, skill, and experience, and can recognize youth with special needs.

  • CA-YJCM 2.04

    When youth are in need of further evaluation by another professional, the organization promptly provides or makes arrangements for specialized assessments.

  • CA-YJCM 2.05

    Assessments are conducted in a responsive manner that includes attention to age, developmental level, gender, language, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and trauma history.

  • CA-YJCM 2.06

    Assessments are conducted within specified timeframes and are updated periodically.

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