Private Organization Accreditation

Money Management International is a nationwide nonprofit organization that provides counseling and education related to credit, housing and bankruptcy, and offers debt management assistance if needed. MMI also conducts community education programs in the areas where we have a physical presence.


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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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 14: Worker Contact and Monitoring

Workers maintain regular contact with children, parents, and resource families to establish positive relationships that promote safety, well-being and progress towards service and permanency goals.

Interpretation: For organizations that provide Foster Care Home Services the worker is the staff person that carries a caseload of resource families. 

Interpretation: When the organization is working with Indian children and families representatives from tribes or local Indian organizations should be informed of regular contact with children, caregivers, and families and be given an opportunity to participate. 

Research Note: Federal quality monitoring processes have demonstrated the positive correlation between worker visits and several quality indicators including assessing the needs of children and families; involving children and families in case planning; meeting the physical, mental health and educational needs of children; achieving permanency goals; and preserving families and family connections.

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
    • Procedures and protocols for worker contact and meetings in the home 
    • Guidelines for maintaining contact with other service providers
    • Protocols for preventing and responding to missing children and allegations of maltreatment in resource families
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Foster parents
      4. Parents
      5. Children and youth
    • Review case records
    • Review resource parent records
    • Observe system that maintains information about children’s current placements 

  • FP
    FKC 14.01

    Workers meet with children, parents, and resource parents at least once a month: 
    1. on a consistent, scheduled basis whenever possible;
    2. primarily in the home (parent or resource family); and
    3. at mutually agreed upon times.

    Interpretation: While workers will meet separately with parents, they should hold joint meetings that include both children and resource parents. However, meetings should also include time for private discussion with all parties to ensure that both children and their caregivers can feel comfortable sharing information. When treatment foster care is provided, workers should meet with children and resource families at least twice per month. 
    Organizations that provide only Foster Care Home Services may meet with resource families in the home less than monthly, but at a minimum on a quarterly basis. 

    Interpretation: While regular visits should occur on a consistent, scheduled basis, many organizations will also make one unannounced visit per quarter.

    Treatment foster care workers meet with children at least twice a month.

    Interpretation: The first meeting with the resource parents should occur within the first two weeks of placement, consistent with the assessment timeframes outlined in FKC 3.05. 

  • FKC 14.02

    When children are placed in foster care, their worker meets with them in the new foster home within three days.

    Interpretation: Children should be seen as soon as possible after joining a foster family, and within three days unless extenuating circumstances make that impossible and these initial meetings should include resource parents. When treatment foster care is provided children should be seen on the first day of placement. Please note that this standard also applies when transitions to new living environments occur. 

    NA The organization provides Family Foster Care Home Services only.

  • FKC 14.03

    Workers maintain contact and/or meet with children and parents to:
    1. establish and maintain supportive relationships; 
    2. monitor and promote safety, permanency, and well-being;
    3. monitor service delivery;
    4. consult with children and parents about family and worker actions to achieve goals in the service plan; and
    5. continuously explore changes in children’s or families’ circumstances.

    Interpretation: For organizations that do not provide services to parents this standard applies to worker contact with the child.

    Interpretation: Service monitoring should include confirming that services were initiated and are appropriate, and responding to complaints or problems that develop regarding service delivery. 

    NA The organization provides Family Foster Care Home Services only. 

  • FP
    FKC 14.04

    Contact with parents includes efforts to:
    1. build and sustain positive relationships;
    2. facilitate involvement in their children’s activities; 
    3. include them in decisions about their children;
    4. review service participation and effectiveness; and
    5. mutually monitor progress towards reunification or other permanency goals.

    Interpretation: Parents should be encouraged to participate in their children’s health appointments, school activities, and other events, and involved in everyday decision making whenever possible, unless contraindicated.

    NA The organization, by virtue of law or contract, does not serve parents.

  • FKC 14.05

    Workers regularly consult with resource parents to: 

    1. maintain positive relationships; 
    2. monitor and promote safety and well-being;
    3. share all relevant and legally permissible information concerning the children;
    4. clarify their role in supporting and contributing to the service and permanency plan;
    5. inform them about, and encourage their participation in, upcoming team meetings and court hearings, as appropriate;
    6. assess whether additional assistance or support is needed; and
    7. respond to questions, concerns, and issues, as needed.

    Interpretation: While support and consultation will be provided during the regularly scheduled visits described in FKC 14.01, workers must also respond to questions and requests for assistance between visits. Documentation of ongoing collaboration should be included in case records, and when issues or disagreements arise records should clarify both parties’ views, as well as the resolution of the issue.

    Research Note: Literature suggests a consistent relationship with a worker who provides information and support to the resource parent can be a key factor in resource parent retention and placement stability.

  • FKC 14.06

    Workers monitor service participation and ensure effective service coordination by:

    1. communicating with other workers and/or service providers in a regular and timely manner to share information; 
    2. facilitating timely and consistent referrals for assessments and services; and
    3. helping family members navigate systems and access needed services.

    Interpretation: With regard to element (a), personnel should follow formal procedures for working with service providers and sharing relevant information about a case internally when different workers are responsible for different components of service, or when responsibility for the case is transferred to a different worker. Communication among providers is especially critical when providers work with family members regarding specific issues that may impact safety, such as substance use, mental health, and domestic violence.

    Research Note: Effective collaboration can support efforts to arrange and coordinate needed services across systems, ensure that service expectations are not competing or overwhelming, monitor progress, and make better decisions.

  • FKC 14.07

    Current information about children’s placements is available to authorized personnel at all times.

    Interpretation: When a child is moved, information about the new placement is entered in the case record within 24 hours. 

    Interpretation: When the organization is working with Indian children and families, current information about the child’s placement is made available to tribal representatives.

  • FP
    FKC 14.08

    Practices and protocols to prevent and respond to missing children ensure that: 

    1. missing children are immediately reported to the organization and law enforcement;
    2. the organization works in partnership with law enforcement to find missing children;
    3. event-based re-assessments, including re-entry examinations and clinical consultations, are conducted when children return; and
    4. the organization addresses issues that led to the episode or that arose while children were missing by providing needed supports and ensuring appropriate placements, including new placements when necessary.

    Interpretation: Missing children include children who run away, are abducted, or are otherwise unaccounted for. Protocols for preventing and responding to missing children should be developed in collaboration with law enforcement, public agencies, tribal governments, and other community organizations, and the responsibilities of each entity should be clearly defined. Protocols should also address the sharing and release of information needed to assist in a search for a missing child. 

    Note: Just as important as responding to missing children are the steps an organization can take to prevent children from going missing in the first place. The organization should ensure that it provides adequate preparation for both children and caregivers; assesses risk of abduction or running away; educates caregivers about factors that can contribute to the decision to run away and how they can support children upon their return; facilitates provision of needed services; and provides appropriate monitoring and support to all parties throughout placement, addressing problems as they arise.

    Research Note: Federal, state, and local officials who discover a minor who may be a victim of human trafficking are required to notify the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services within 24 hours to facilitate the provision of interim assistance.

  • FP
    FKC 14.09

    Protocols for responding to allegations of resource family maltreatment are respectful and address the rights and needs of children, their families, and resource families.

    Interpretation: Protocols for responding to allegations of maltreatment should be developed in collaboration with law enforcement, tribal governments, and other community agencies, and should incorporate input from resource families. While it is essential that all reports be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated in order to protect the safety and well-being of children, protocols should also respect the rights and needs of the resource parents under investigation. Resource parents should be: informed of both their rights and the process for investigation and resolution; entitled to an appeal; and connected to resources or services that can provide support throughout the investigation process.

    Note: As noted in FKC 19.01, training for resource parents should address both the procedures that will be followed when allegations of maltreatment are made, and ways to prevent false allegations.

  • FP
    FKC 14.10

    When children are reunified with their families, they are visited in the home on the day following return to confirm safety.

    Note: See FKC 16 for more information regarding expectations surrounding family reunification. 

    NA The organization has a contract with a public authority that prohibits or does not include aftercare or follow-up upon reunification. 
    NA The organization provides foster care home services only.  

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