Private Organization Accreditation

Northside Psychological Services is a combination of both private practice and community mental health provider. We provide services to children and adults (EAP, private insurance, private pay, etc.) in our private practice setting. In our Community Care Program, we provide services to children and adolescents in their homes.


The Village for Families & Children, Inc.

Galo A. Rodriguez, M.P.H., President & CEO

COA Peer Reviewers demonstrated their expertise through their knowledge of COA standards as well as experience in the behavioral health field. In addition, COA’s seminars and tools were very helpful in guiding us through the accreditation process.
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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 16: Family Reunification

Children and families receive the support and services they need to ease the transition to reunification, stabilize the home, and prevent re-entry into out-of-home care.

Note: COA recognizes that in instances where the court suddenly orders a child home without advance notice, the organization will not be able to fully implement all the practice standards in this section. However, the organization should still try to implement the standards to the extent possible. For example, while the organization may not be able to develop an individualized transition plan prior to reunification as per FKC 16.02, it should collaborate with the family to develop the plan as soon as possible after reunion.

Research Note: Although achieving reunification is a primary goal of the child welfare system, literature notes that it should be conceptualized as a process rather than a one-time outcome or event. Reunification can be a high-risk time that presents a number of challenges, and many of the children who are reunited will subsequently re-enter out-of-home care. The issues that led to the involvement of the child welfare system may not have been entirely resolved while the child was in care, or families may not yet have developed the full capacities they need to manage the challenges of reunification or other stressors that may surface once the child has been returned to the home. Accordingly, literature emphasizes the importance of providing continued assistance and services to promote permanency for children reunited with their families.

NA The organization does not work with families who will be reunifying. 

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:
      1. services that prepare children, parents, and resource families for reunification
      2. assistance and monitoring provided upon and following reunification
    • Procedures for:
      1. Reunification planning
      2. Contact, support, and monitoring upon and following reunification
      3. Case management and service coordination, including referral for and accessing services
    • Local community resource and referral list(s)
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Children and families served
      4. Resource parents
    • Review case records
    • Review resource parent records

  • FKC 16.01

    In an effort to facilitate a smooth transition to family reunification:

    1. children and parents are involved in making decisions regarding reunification;
    2. children, parents, and resource families are provided with sufficient advance notice that children will return home;
    3. a graduated process for visitation/family time enables both children and parents to prepare for reunification; and
    4. collaborating service providers are involved in preparation for reunification and notified when reunification has occurred.

    Interpretation: As noted in FKC 7.03, plans for visitation/family time will typically be modified in accordance with planning for reunification. While policies regarding the transition to reunification may vary, many organizations will utilize a graduated step-down process that includes home visits, extended home visits, and trial discharge.

    Note: The decision to reunify a family should be based on ongoing assessment and case review, as addressed in FKC 3 and FKC 4. See FKC 3 and FKC 4 for more information regarding ongoing assessment and case review, and FKC 14.06 for more information regarding collaboration and coordination with other involved service providers.

  • FKC 16.02

    The organization collaborates with families prior to reunification to develop individualized plans for promoting family stability after reunion, by addressing: 

    1. the issues, behaviors, and conditions that led to the involvement of the child welfare system; and
    2. any issues stemming from children’s separation from their families, including any assistance needed to address separation and rebuild the parent-child relationship.

    Interpretation: The plan for maintaining family stability after reunification will likely be an extension of the family’s service plan, and should be based on assessed strengths and needs. The preparatory work done with children, families, and resource families prior to the return home, as addressed FKC 16.03, 16.04, and 16.05, should also inform the development of the plan. Please note that while plans should be developed prior to reunification, they should also allow for flexibility based on changing needs and circumstances.

    Note: See FKC 16.06 for more information regarding potentially relevant services and supports to be included in families’ plans.

  • FKC 16.03

    Parents are prepared for the return of their children and the challenges of reunification through support and guidance that help them to:

    1. understand expectations and responsibilities related to their children’s return;
    2. develop strategies for providing appropriate care, managing children’s behavior, meeting any special needs children may present, and preventing reoccurrence of the safety concerns that led to the separation of the children;
    3. consider how everyday living and family relationships will be impacted by their children’s return;
    4. understand how children may react and behave as they adjust to the return home; and
    5. explore any anxiety, uncertainty, or ambivalence they may feel about responsibilities related to their children’s return.

    Interpretation: Issues related to reunification should ideally be discussed and planned for from the time children are first separated from their families.

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

  • FKC 16.04

    Children receive age-appropriate support and guidance that helps them explore their feelings about reunification, and prepare for the return home.

    Interpretation: While issues related to reunification should ideally be discussed and planned for from the time children are first separated from their families, the amount and type of preparation provided will vary according to children’s ages, developmental levels, and circumstances, including length of time in out-of-home care. While support and guidance may be provided by child welfare workers and resource families will typically also play an important role in preparing a child for reunification. Topics to discuss may include, but are not limited to: the child’s experiences while in out-of-home care, including a review of the child’s life book; the reunification process; expectations for the return home; any protections in place to ensure the child’s safety; any fear or anxiety the child may be experiencing; and coping with any grief or loss the child may experience upon leaving a resource family.

  • FKC 16.05

    The organization collaborates with resource families to:

    1. explain their role in supporting and facilitating reunification;
    2. help them explore and cope with any anxiety, grief, or other emotions they may feel as a result of the decision to reunify the family; and
    3. clarify whether there will be opportunities for contact with children following reunification.

  • FP
    FKC 16.06

    Upon reunification children and families are:

    1. helped to manage and negotiate any issues or challenges they may face;
    2. connected to any formal and informal services and supports they may need; and
    3. contacted and visited to monitor for safety.

    Interpretation: As noted in the Research Note to FKC 16, reunification can be a high-risk time that presents a number of challenges. Families often have both concrete and clinical needs, and may need help addressing many of the same issues and challenges that led to the involvement of the child welfare system in order to prevent reentry into out-of-home care. In addition to the support and monitoring provided by caseworkers, needed services may include, but are not limited to: substance use treatment; mental health treatment; counseling; medical and dental care; educational advocacy and supports; specialized medical, mental health, or educational supports for children with special needs; child care; respite care; income support; housing assistance; transportation; homemaker assistance; vocational assistance; case management; mentoring; and support groups. Sources of informal and social support (e.g., extended family, neighbors, and other community members and institutions) may help to support the family over time, even after the case has been closed.

    Note: As noted in FKC 11.08, families should also be helped to maintain or obtain health insurance for children. See FKC 11.08 for more details regarding the health-related services and supports that children should be helped to access.

    NA The organization, by virtue of law or contract, does not provide post-reunification services.

  • FKC 16.07

    Parents are provided with needed documents and information related to their children’s time in care, including:

    1. legal documents;
    2. educational records, including copies of report cards and the most current Individualized Education Plan (IEP); and
    3. a written summary of children’s living environments (placements), experiences, and growth while separated from their families.

    Note: As noted in FKC 11.08, parents should also be helped to obtain their children’s health records.

  • FKC 16.08

    Post-reunification services, support, and monitoring are continued for a period of time specified by the organization or court, and until case closing criteria are met.

    Note: See FKC 14.11 regarding expectations for contact and monitoring following reunification.

    Research Note: Some literature suggests that services should be maintained for at least 12 months after reunification.

    NA The organization, by virtue of law or contract, does not provide post-reunification services.

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