WHO IS ACCREDITED?

Private Organization Accreditation

Southeastern Regional Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services is a Local Management Entity, covering the geographic areas of Bladen, Columbus, Robeson, and Scotland counties. SER ensures continuity of care to consumers through access to a quality of care system available 24/7/365 days a year through management of our network provider services.
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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.

FKC 12: Supports and Services for Expectant and Parenting Youth

The organization promotes the safety, permanency, and well-being of youth who are expectant or parenting, by providing resources and supports that empower youth to make informed decisions about pregnancy, experience healthy births, and develop the skills needed for personal functioning and parenthood. 

Interpretation: The needs of expectant and parenting youth can be met through a continuum of care that includes “whole family” placements, specialized foster care, residential treatment, or supporting living arrangements. The organization should aim to meet the needs of expectant and parenting youth and their children in the most family-like setting that best meets their needs and provide effective coordination with schools, courts, healthcare providers, mental health and substance use programs, and other child and family serving systems. 

Note: The terms “expectant youth” and “parenting youth” refer to both expectant mothers and fathers, and are intended to promote engagement and supports for youth in the child welfare system that are fathers. The term “pregnant youth” refers exclusively to birth mothers.

Research Note: Research shows that youth in foster care are significantly more likely to become pregnant and give birth before age 21 than youth in the general population. Parenting youth who have been in foster care are also more likely to experience rapid repeat pregnancies, and to be investigated and charged with abuse or neglect, than other young parents.

NA The organization does not serve youth 14 or older.

Table of Evidence

Self-Study Evidence On-Site Evidence On-Site Activities
    • A description of services and supports for expectant and parenting youth
    • Procedures for:
      1. Coordinating and accessing services
      2. Developing parenting plans
      3. Working with youth who are fathers
    • Local community resource and referral list(s)
    • Documentation of the rights of expectant and parenting youth
    • Parenting skills assessment
    • Educational curricula
    • Informational materials provided to youth
    • Contracts or service agreements with community providers for the provision of services to expectant and parenting youth
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Youth served, and their children if appropriate
      4. Resource parents
    • Review case records

  • FKC 12.01

    Pregnant youth receive timely, ongoing, relevant, and accessible services appropriate to their needs that address:

    1. nonjudgmental and nondirective pregnancy and birth options counseling;
    2. prenatal health care;
    3. diagnosis and treatment of health concerns, including sexually transmitted diseases;
    4. genetic risk identification;
    5. food and nutrition;
    6. mental health care;
    7. substance use conditions;
    8. medication use;
    9. smoking cessation; and
    10. labor and delivery.

    Interpretation: Regarding element (f), expectant mothers should be screened for depression, informed about postpartum depression, and connected to available support and treatment services. Regarding element (h), a qualified mental health professional should re-evaluate pharmacological treatments for safety, risks, and benefits during pregnancy and make appropriate adjustments to the treatment plan, such as tapering or adjusting dosages or increasing monitoring of symptoms.  

    Interpretation: If an organization does not provide counseling or information related to termination, the organization should: (1) disclose this fact to youth, parents, and resource families and provide them with a comprehensive list of other community providers that offer pregnancy counseling, support, and education services; (2) demonstrate that it carefully considered its mission, capacity, resources, community’s needs, and youth’s needs in its decision to refrain from providing counseling on all pregnancy outcomes; and (3) respect the choices of youth, parents, and resource families even if they do not align with the values of the organization. 

    Research Note: Youth who do not wish to continue their pregnancies often face challenges obtaining accurate information about the steps legally required for termination. For example, if state law requires minors to obtain parental notification or consent in order to terminate a pregnancy, youth may need assistance to identify and contact the appropriate individual(s), or to obtain a judicial bypass when appropriate. 

    Research Note: Studies indicate that youth in foster care who become pregnant are less likely to receive prenatal care within the first pregnancy trimester. Organizations may experience challenges in achieving timely delivery of prenatal care due to concealment, running away, or other circumstances that may delay notification.

    Research Note: Parenting youth tend to experience higher rates of mental health issues, such as prenatal and postpartum depression, substance use, and post-traumatic stress disorder, as a result of the difficulties of balancing the stressors and developmental tasks of adolescence with the challenges of parenthood. Among youth in out-of-home care this risk is often further compounded by a history of traumatic experiences.

    Research Note: Home visiting programs, such as nurse-family partnerships, have been identified as an effective model for delivering pregnancy and parenting education and counseling for at-risk maternal and infant populations.


  • FKC 12.02

    Following childbirth, youth receive postnatal care and support related to:

    1. postpartum health care;
    2. postpartum depression;
    3. breastfeeding education and assistance;
    4. pediatric care, including well-baby visits and immunizations; and
    5. family planning.

    Interpretation: Postnatal care should include: timely, relevant information to help new mothers promote their own, and their infants’, health and well-being; information on how to recognize and respond to signs and symptoms of problems in both themselves and in their infants; and screening for and addressing changes in the new mother’s mood, emotional state, behavior, and coping strategies.


  • FKC 12.03

    Expectant and parenting youth are informed of their legal rights to custody of their children and are maintained together with their children unless a safety risk is identified.

    Interpretation: Organization policy should clearly assert that youth should only be separated from their children in response to health and safety concerns, and never solely due to the youth’s involvement with the child welfare system, age, or as a means of obtaining services or financial support for the child.

    Interpretation: Youth who are fathers should receive or be connected to resources explaining legal rights and obligations specific to fatherhood, including establishing legal paternity. 


  • FKC 12.04

    Expectant and parenting youth are helped to develop skills and knowledge related to:

    1. basic caregiving routines;
    2. child growth and development;
    3. meeting children’s social, emotional, and physical health needs;
    4. environmental safety and injury prevention;
    5. parent-child interactions and bonding;
    6. age appropriate behavioral expectations and appropriate discipline; 
    7. family planning; and 
    8. establishing a functioning support network of family members or caring adults.


  • FKC 12.05

    Workers collaborate with expectant and parenting youth and their caregivers, co-parents, and other family members when appropriate, to develop individualized parenting plans that define:

    1. the rights and responsibilities of the youth parents; and
    2. each individual’s role and expectations for supporting the youth parents to care for their children.


  • FKC 12.06

    To ensure that expectant and parenting youth receive appropriate services, workers monitor:

    1. prenatal and postpartum care;
    2. the development of parenting and independent living skills;
    3. signs of postpartum depression; and
    4. progress with education, career development, or vocational training.

    Interpretation: To promote the achievement of educational goals, the organization may coordinate with an education or school advocate to ensure that youth who are pregnant or parenting are treated equitably in school environments that accommodate and support their circumstances.

    Research Note: Research has linked postpartum depression, delays in returning to school exceeding six months, and inconsistent use of contraception to an increased likelihood of repeat pregnancies among parenting youth in foster care.


  • FKC 12.07

    Workers assist expectant and parenting youth to obtain or enroll in assistance that will support youth to care for their children and work towards financial independence, including:  

    1. public benefits such as Medicaid, WIC, SNAP, and TANF;
    2. transportation;
    3. maternal and child health programs;
    4. legal advocacy;
    5. affordable and quality child care; and
    6. community resources, such as free clinics.


  • FKC 12.08

    The organization promotes responsible fatherhood and paternal engagement by:

    1. indicating in the case record when youth in care become fathers;
    2. ascertaining the relationship between expectant youth parents;
    3. linking young fathers to services that help them to adjust to the parenting role; and
    4. assisting pregnant youth to notify birth fathers and engage them in service planning, when appropriate.

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