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.


Advantage Credit Counseling Service

Mary Loftus, VP, Agency Service

Our agency is preparing for reaccreditation under the Eighth Edition Standards. The COA site is well organized and very easy to use. Our team of employees working on the reaccreditation process has found the tools index to be very helpful, particularly some of the templates.
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Child Protective Services protect children from abuse and neglect and increase child well-being and family stability.

CPS 9: Child Protective Case Management Services

The organization arranges, provides, and coordinates the delivery of services to ensure child safety, promote well-being, and keep families together whenever possible.

Interpretation: When the case involves an American Indian or Alaska Native child, a representative from the tribe or a local Indian organization should be included in the identification and coordination of support services. Services offered by the tribe and local Indian organization should be considered.

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 (HR 6.02) and training (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 case management services
    • Guidelines or description of worker visits
    • Community resource and referral list
    • Contracts or service agreements with community providers
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Supervisors
      3. Relevant personnel
    • Review case records

  • CPS 9.01

    The organization directly provides, refers, contracts, or otherwise arranges for needed therapeutic, educational, and support services that are culturally relevant and include:

    1. parent education and family support;
    2. homemaker or home health aide services;
    3. child care;
    4. respite care;
    5. individual and family counseling services; and
    6. education, employment, and housing services.

    Interpretation: When such services are not readily accessible, the organization advocates for greater availability, and works with the family to consider alternatives, which can include informal support services such as the child’s extended family and other community members.

  • CPS 9.02

    Families receive, directly or by referral, more intensive services, as needed, from domestic violence, mental health, and substance use treatment specialists.

    Interpretation: Whenever possible, American Indian and Alaska Native children should receive more intensive services from qualified professionals who have experience working with the tribe and knowledge of tribal customs and practices.

    Research Note: Domestic violence, and mental health and substance use conditions present an increased risk of child maltreatment, an increased risk of child removal, and can complicate and delay reunification when a child is removed. A comprehensive array of substance use treatment services can include: screening, assessment, detoxification, out-patient treatment, in-patient treatment, relapse prevention, aftercare, and support.

  • CPS 9.03

    Workers have access to comprehensive, up-to-date information about community services, and maintain regular contact with collateral providers to share information about service delivery.

  • FP
    CPS 9.04

    Frequency and type of face-to-face visits with the child and family are culturally responsive and appropriate to the family’s needs and risk to the child, and visits occur at least once a month, to:

    1. establish effective working relationships;
    2. assess safety and well-being;
    3. monitor service delivery; and
    4. measure and support the achievement of agreed upon goals.

    Interpretation: Service monitoring includes confirmation services were initiated and are appropriate and response to complaints or problems that develop regarding service delivery.

    Research Note: Some literature suggests that when substance use, mental health or domestic violence issues are present, a greater risk exists and more frequent visits are appropriate; however, other suggested best practice points to the importance of the worker thinking critically about each family’s circumstances to determine frequency of visits. When other providers are visiting the family, and all providers are effectively sharing information, the organization may decrease the frequency of its visitation.

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