WHO IS ACCREDITED?

Private Organization Accreditation

CSS Healthcare Services provides Community based health services to the young, the elderly and to Individuals with Developmental Disability. Founded in 1997, we have the ability to offer a variety of quality community-based services to our clients, which has greatly contributed to our growth and success.
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ORGANIZATION TESTIMONIAL

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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Purpose

Children in Family Foster Care and Kinship Care live in safe, stable, nurturing, and often temporary family settings that best provide the continuity of care to preserve relationships, promote well-being, and ensure permanency.

Definition

Family Foster Care and Kinship Care Programs work with parents, children, and caregivers to provide children with safe, stable, nurturing, and often temporary care in families, that promotes well-being and ensures strong connections with family, peers, and community. When children are separated from their families due to maltreatment or other family circumstances, services and supports are provided to facilitate reunification and stability, and ensure that all children have permanent living arrangements as well as safe and nurturing relationships that will endure over time.
 
Family Foster Care is provided by foster parents who volunteer to bring children into their families and give them opportunities for family and community living. Foster parents are recruited, assessed, selected, credentialed, trained and retained for this voluntary role. Foster parents always care for children in the custody of the local child welfare agency and serve as partners in child protection, well-being, and permanency.

Kinship Care is the full-time care of children by relatives, members of tribes or clans, or anyone to whom a family relationship is ascribed.  Kinship caregivers provide care through arrangements made privately or informally in the family, or through arrangements made with the involvement and oversight of the local child welfare agency. In some jurisdictions or circumstances kin may serve as foster parents. Kinship care builds on the strengths of family relationships and ensures children’s continued connections to their family networks and community supports, while recognizing that the entire family (children, parents, and kinship caregivers) may need an array of services. Their natural role, the dynamics of family relationships, and the strengths and needs of kin requires that organizations form strong collaborations with kinship caregivers in order to best promote permanency and the preservation of families.
 
Treatment Foster Care Services provide a therapeutic family environment and intensive clinical services, to children whose medical, developmental or psychiatric needs cannot be met by their families or in traditional family foster care. With the support of the multidisciplinary treatment team, specially trained foster parents provide nurturing care and treatment-based interventions that promote improved functioning. Children may have: severe emotional or behavioral disturbances; physical disabilities; developmental disabilities; severe or life threatening illnesses; or conditions that require the routine use of a medical device and/or daily ongoing care or monitoring.

Standards Assignment Criteria

The Family Foster Care and Kinship Care Standards cover a range of programs that support and empower families when children are in need of temporary care in a family environment. These include family foster care programs (who work with foster parents and kinship caregivers), treatment foster care programs, and kinship care programs. 
 
All Administration and Management Standards and Service Delivery Administration Standards that are applicable to foster parents specifically reference foster parents within the standard. If foster parents are not specifically addressed in the standard, it does not apply to foster parents. 

NAs are available on all Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) related standards for organizations that only provide services for foreign-born children.

Family Foster Care to Adoption Services (Foster to Adopt) will complete: all of FKC and AS 2, 3, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, and 14. 
 
Family Foster Care Case Management Services plan, secure, and coordinate comprehensive services provided to children in Family Foster Care and/or their family, while monitoring progress on agreed upon goals. Case management services for children monitor each child’s safety and promote stability, well-being and permanency. 

Case management services for parents assist parents in making progress towards reunification by implementing resources to meet the family needs and increase the family’s protective factors. 

Organizations providing Family Foster Care Case Management Services will complete: FKC 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 12, 14, and 19. Organizations responsible for managing services for parents will also complete FKC 8. Organizations responsible for managing services for children will also complete 9 and 10, as well as 6, 7 and/or 13 depending on their responsibility for coordinating placement, family and community connections for children and supporting youth in their transition to adulthood.

Family Foster Care Home Services recruit, assess, select, train, and retain resource parents and may provide ongoing support and monitoring of resource families on a regular basis. Organizations providing only Family Foster Care Home Services will complete FKC 1, 6, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19. Organizations that provide treatment foster care will also complete FKC 11. 

Kinship Care Services provide services when families have made private arrangements and there is no local child welfare agency involvement (informal), or when the child is temporarily living with kin while the local child welfare agency provides oversight and services in support of reunification or stabilization (formal). Kinship Care Programs may vary in who they provide direct services to - children, parents, or kinship caregivers - and in the intensity and nature of services provided. Kinship Care Programs may also be supporting families in which children are living with kin long term because of family circumstances.  

Organizations that provide formal Kinship Care Services will complete all of FKC with the exception of 2.05, 6.03, 6.04, 10.01, 10.03, 15.01, 15.02, 16.02, 16.03, 16.04, 17.04, 17.05, 17.06, 19.06, and any additional relevant NAs.
 
Organizations that provide informal Kinship Care services will complete FKC 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 12, 14, 17, and 19. The following NAs are available for informal kinship care service providers: 2.05, 2.06, 9.01, 9.02, 9.07, 10.01, 10.03, 12.01, 12.03, 12.06, 12.07, 14.02, 17.04, 17.05, 17.06, 19.06, and all of 5, 6, 7, 8, 13, 15, and 16.

Update:

  • Revised Research Note - 10/31/17
    Research Note was revised to reflect address changes to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). 

Research Note: Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs) and Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URMs) receive placement and support services through contracted providers supported by the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement of the Department of Health and Human Services. Resettlement or stabilization of these children occurs in accordance with domestic child welfare guidelines. Services, including family foster care, are provided through contracted provider programs specifically designed to meet the unique needs of URMs and UACs. 

Research Note: The disproportional representation of some groups of children and families of color within the child welfare system, and the disparity in service delivery and outcomes for children and families depending on racial and ethnic group membership has been well documented. Research conducted by the federal government identified at least four contributing factors to the overrepresentation of certain groups of children of color in child welfare: poverty, racial bias, inadequate access to services, and challenges in finding permanent homes. Analyzing policies, procedures and practices through a racial equity lens has been identified as an important step for addressing disproportionality and reducing disparities.  A racial equity lens focuses on how race and ethnicity shape access to resources, treatment, and experiences with power, from a contemporary and historical perspective.

Research Note: The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) provides a set of “minimum federal standards” which govern child welfare proceedings involving American Indian and Alaska Native children in state child welfare systems. Updates to the federal regulations and guidelines were made in 2016 and went into effect for all child custody proceedings initiated on or after December 12, 2016, irrespective of any previously initiated proceedings. Organizations must have established procedures for determining if children have Native heritage and are members or eligible for membership in a federally recognized-tribe and collaborate with local child welfare agencies to determine their role in the context of tribal-state child welfare agreements, ICWA, and any relevant state laws pertaining specifically to Indian child welfare. 
 
Organizations should be familiar with the relevant legal requirements of ICWA and all policies, procedures, and agency documentation should be designed to ensure compliance.  ICWA requires the inclusion of tribal representatives throughout all aspects of service delivery, including, but not limited to, assessment, service planning, permanency planning, case closing, and aftercare. Specific practice standards reflect the stages of practice that require deferment to tribal jurisdiction or collaboration with tribal representatives. 

While collaboration with federally recognized tribes is required by ICWA, organizations should reach out to tribal representatives when children have heritage in tribes that are not federally recognized as well. Tribes and Indian agencies serve as an important resource to local child welfare agencies and organizations working with Indian children. Tribes can facilitate children’s connections to their culture and tribal government, inform families and the organization of culturally relevant services available to children, act as an advocate for Indian children and their families, and provide ongoing support and information as case plans are created and permanency goals are set. Actively seeking tribal involvement is particularly important when children’s tribes do not have the infrastructure to participate formally in the court case or when the tribes are geographically distant from the children’s families or homes and their participation is somewhat limited. 

Working with tribal families also requires organizations to have a basic understanding of the historic treatment of American Indian and Alaska Native children and families by child welfare systems. This treatment has left many Native families and communities to struggle with intergenerational and historical trauma that must be considered in assessment, planning, service delivery, and aftercare. Organizations should be mindful that interventions adopted for the broader child welfare population, including evidence-based practices, may be ineffective or harmful to American Indian and Alaska Native children and families, and instead identify culturally-appropriate interventions that have been demonstrated to be effective for the population served.

Research Note: The importance of providing trauma-informed care is reinforced by a growing body of research on the impact of adverse childhood experiences and a federal policy focus that compels child and family-serving systems to ensure children’s social and emotional well-being. 
 
A national network of providers, researchers and families working collaboratively to raise the standard of care has defined a trauma-informed organization as one in which all programs: 
  1. routinely screen for trauma exposure and related symptoms; 
  2. use culturally appropriate and evidence-based assessment and treatment for traumatic stress and associated mental health symptoms; 
  3. make resources available to children, families, and providers on trauma exposure, its impact, and treatment; 
  4. engage in efforts to strengthen the resilience and protective factors of children and families impacted by and vulnerable to trauma; 
  5. address parent and caregiver trauma and its impact on the family system; 
  6. emphasize continuity of care and collaboration across child-serving systems; and
  7. maintain an environment of care for staff that addresses, minimizes, and treats secondary traumatic stress, and that increases staff resilience.
Research Note: Just as children and families have histories that are important in understanding and respecting their traditions, so do child welfare programs. In the early 1990’s, several prominent national child welfare advocacy organizations, under the leadership of the Child Welfare League of America, collaborated to develop and promote the field’s use of strengths-based language for the temporary care of children in families. Family Foster Care was advanced to emphasize the family-centered component of this temporary care and Kinship Care was developed as the appropriate program name to identify the benefits of raising children through the strength of kinship networks. The child welfare field has followed the family foster care and kinship care terminology since then.
  
Research Note: Organizations that provide Family Foster Care and Kinship Care Services should be familiar with the issue of human trafficking. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) defines human trafficking as: The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. Any child (under the age of 18) engaged in commercial sex (including prostitution, pornography, stripping) is a victim of trafficking. 

Increasingly, first responders, including law enforcement and social service providers, are being trained to seek support services for human trafficking victims rather than prosecuting them for activities they may have engaged in while being trafficked, such as prostitution, theft, undocumented status, and wage/hour violations.  Recognizing that these individuals are victims rather than criminals is a paradigm shift still under way in our society. This paradigm shift is critical as trafficking victims are eligible for services and protections under federal and some state law that may not be provided to them otherwise.
 

Note: For ease, “Resource parent”, “resource family”, and “resource family home” are used throughout the standards to refer to foster parents, kinship caregivers, and treatment foster parents, and their homes, with the exception of standards that address specific practice requirements with one of the groups.
 
“Resource Family” was first used in the child welfare field in order to have one term to refer to both foster and pre-adoptive families because of the parallel nature of recruitment and preparation for these groups. The umbrella term has become more prevalent with the growing recognition that many different types of families are needed not only to provide temporary care for children, but to play different roles in children’s lives over time. For generations and across cultures, kin have been a natural resource within families and their support systems. 

References to “parents” include: biological parents, adoptive parents, or legal guardians of a child prior to placement. The term “children” is used throughout the Family Foster Care and Kinship Care Standards and includes infants, toddlers, school age children, and youth. “Youth” is used only when standards refer directly to services for older children, generally fourteen years old and up.

The terms “American Indian and Alaska Native”, “Indian”, or “Native” are used interchangeably throughout the standards to refer to children or families who are members of federally recognized tribes and protected under the Indian Child Welfare Act as well as to agencies or organizations that belong to or advocate on behalf of tribes.


Note: Please see FKC Reference List - Private, Public and Human Trafficking Reference List - Private for a list of resources that informed the development of these standards.

Family Foster Care and Kinship Care Narrative

Self-Study Evidence