Private Organization Accreditation

Children's Home Society of Florida delivers a unique spectrum of social services designed to protect children at risk of abuse, neglect or abandonment; to strengthen and stabilize families; to help young people break the cycle of abuse and neglect; and to find safe, loving homes for children.


Catholic Charities, Diocese of Covington

Wm. R. (Bill) Jones, ACSW, MDiv, Chief Executive Officer

Catholic Charities in Covington has been COA accredited since 1996. Though the time spent in completing the self study and hosting the site visit can sometimes feel sometimes daunting, the rewards far outweigh the effort. In our agency, the self-study is a group process that involves every member of the staff from the CEO to the building maintenance staff.
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Crisis Response and Information Services operate as part of the community’s crisis response system to provide immediate, dependable responses and reliable information to promote safety and stability for the individual in crisis.

CRI 9: Personnel: Crisis Intervention and Crisis Hotline Services

Crisis intervention and crisis hotline service providers are carefully selected, trained, and closely supervised.

NA The organization does not provide crisis intervention and crisis hotline services.

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., 
  • With some exceptions, staff (direct service providers, supervisors, and program managers) possess the required qualifications, including: education, experience, training, skills, temperament, etc., but the integrity of the service is not compromised.
    • Supervisors provide additional support and oversight, as needed, to staff without the listed qualifications.
    • Most staff who do not meet educational requirements are seeking to obtain them.
  • With some exceptions staff have received required training, including applicable specialized training.
    • Training curricula are not fully developed or lack depth.
    • A few personnel have not yet received required training.
    • Training documentation is consistently maintained and kept up-to-date with some exceptions.
  • A substantial number of supervisors meet the requirements of the standard, and the organization provides training and/or consultation to improve competencies.
    • Supervisors provide structure and support in relation to service outcomes, organizational culture and staff retention.
  • With a few exceptions caseload sizes are consistently maintained as required by the standards.
  • Workloads are such that staff can effectively accomplish their assigned tasks and provide quality services, and are adjusted as necessary in accord with established workload procedures.
    • Procedures need strengthening.
    • With few exceptions procedures are understood by staff and are being used.
  • With a few exceptions specialized staff are retained as required and possess the required qualifications.
  • Specialized services are obtained as required by the standards.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice standards.  Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • One of the Fundamental Practice Standards received a rating of 3 or 4.
  • A significant number of staff, e.g., direct service providers, supervisors, and program managers, do not possess the required qualifications, including: education, experience, training, skills, temperament, etc.; and as a result the integrity of the service may be compromised.
    • Job descriptions typically do not reflect the requirements of the standards, and/or hiring practices do not document efforts to hire staff with required qualifications when vacancies occur.
    • Supervisors do not typically provide additional support and oversight to staff without the listed qualifications.
  • A significant number of staff have not received required training, including applicable specialized training.
    • Training documentation is poorly maintained.
  • A significant number of supervisors do not meet the requirements of the standard, and the organization makes little effort to provide training and/or consultation to improve competencies.
  • There are numerous instances where caseload sizes exceed the standards' requirements.
  • Workloads are excessive and the integrity of the service may be compromised. 
    • Procedures need significant strengthening; or
    • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Specialized staff are typically not retained as required and/or many do not possess the required qualifications; or
  • Specialized services are infrequently obtained as required by the standards.
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.,

For example:
  • 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
    • Program staffing chart that includes lines of supervision
    • List of program personnel that includes:
      1. name;
      2. title;
      3. degree held and/or other credentials;
      4. FTE or volunteer;
      5. length of service at the organization;
      6. time in current position
    • Table of contents of training curricula
    • Procedures for immediate access to supervisors
    • Formal agreements with necessary professionals, as applicable
    • Job descriptions
    • Documentation of training
    • Training curricula
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
    • Review personnel records

  • CRI 9.01

    Direct service providers are selected for their ability to handle stressful situations and for qualities such as maturity, judgment, and alertness to warning signs of potential crisis.

    Research Note: A study of the 1-800-SUICIDE Network found a significant association between the level of worker empathy and caller hang ups. Highly empathic workers had a hang-up rate of 2.4% as compared to workers with low empathy who had a 12.5% hang-up rate. Empathy was also related significantly to reaching an agreement by the end of the call. High empathy workers ended in agreement in 73.3% of calls while low empathy workers reached an agreement in 41.8% of calls. The study concludes that empathy is a quality that organizations should consider when screening prospective crisis intervention personnel.

  • FP
    CRI 9.02

    Direct service providers participate in ongoing training that addresses:

    1. assessing needs in crisis situations;
    2. assessing for and responding to suicide risk;
    3. special issues regarding age, substance use and mental health conditions, developmental disabilities, and other needs typically presented by the service population;
    4. de-escalation techniques for crisis situations;
    5. procedures for making referrals; and
    6. prevention of compassion fatigue or “burn-out.”

    Research Note: Empirical studies have shown that direct service providers who work with individuals in crisis may experience the psychological effects of trauma. A supportive workplace that offers both extensive training on the prevention of compassion fatigue and sufficient opportunities for processing difficult cases can significantly decrease the likelihood of staff turnover due to “burn-out.”

    Research Note: Several studies on telephone crisis services found that training workers to systematically assess for suicide risk could increase their consistency and inclination to conduct risk assessments.

    Research Note: In a study that followed up with callers to the 1-800-SUICIDE hotline, the most frequent negative feedback concerned problems with referrals including being referred to services that were unrelated to the problem, and unanticipated costs and travel. Improved training on community resources and procedures for making referrals may help to solve this problem.

  • CRI 9.03

    Orientation for service personnel includes:

    1. laws governing disclosure of suspected abuse or other criminal behavior;
    2. organization policy reconciling the principles of consumer confidentiality and the requirements of the law;
    3. handling emergencies, including situations that may require consultation with supervising or cooperating professionals, or the police; and
    4. documentation requirements.

  • CRI 9.04

    Direct service providers work under the supervision of trained professionals who meet the applicable legal requirements for practice within their professions.

  • CRI 9.05

    At all times when the program is in operation, an individual with an advanced degree in human services and appropriate certification and/or licensure by the designated authority in their state, is available on staff, through on-call consultation, or through a formal arrangement with a social service organization.

    Interpretation: Crisis hotline personnel should have immediate access to supervisory guidance during all hours of operations. Personnel should have procedures on how to gain such access whether supervisors are available in person or off-site.

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