Private Organization Accreditation

Germaine Lawrence is a residential treatment center for girls ages 12-18 with complex behavioral, psychological and learning challenges.   Girls live at our programs while receiving special education, individual, family and group therapy; psychiatric and primary medical care; and a wide variety of therapeutic activities and interventions.


Children's Foundation of Mid America

James W. Thurman, President/CEO

Children’s Foundation of Mid America has been accredited through COA since 1983. The process of accreditation ensures that we meet or exceed the highest standards in the industry.
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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 4: Service Planning

Service plans are developed, reviewed, and updated in partnership with children, parents, and resource families to guide service delivery and ensure effective implementation of interventions and supports.

Interpretation: When the organization receives a service plan from another provider this service plan should contain all components identified within the standards and the organization must ensure that the service plans that guide their daily work with children address all life domains.

Interpretation: When the case involves an American Indian or Alaska Native child and family, tribal or local American Indian or Alaska Native representatives must be included in the service planning process and culturally relevant resources available through or recommended by the tribe or local Indian organizations should be considered and prioritized when developing the service plan.

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
  • In a few instances client or staff signatures are missing and/or not dated; 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
  • In a number of instances client or staff signatures are missing and/or not dated (RPM 7.04); or
  • Quarterly reviews are not being done consistently; or
  • Level of care for some clients is inappropriate; or
  • Service planning is often done without full client participation; or
  • Appropriate family involvement is not documented; or
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing; or
  • Assessments are done by referral source and no documentation and/or summary of required information present in case record; 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
    • Service planning procedures
    • Service Plan template
    • A description of strategies for promoting parent and resource family collaboration (FKC 4.01, FKC 9.02)
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Parents
      4. Children and youth
      5. Resource parents
    • Review case records
    • Review documentation of quarterly service plan review (if not in case record)

  • FKC 4.01

    Service plans are developed with the full participation of children, families, and resource families.

    Interpretation: Service planning is to be conducted so that service recipients retain as much personal responsibility and self-determination as possible and desired.  Individuals with disabilities who have limited ability to make independent choices should receive help with making decisions and support to assume more responsibility. Generally, children age 6 and older are to be included in service planning, unless there is clinical justification for not doing so. 

    Interpretation: Processes and protocols for involving family members may need to be adapted based on the specific circumstances of children and families.  For example, in cases where the child is a victim of human trafficking, the organization should be aware that the child’s parent or caregiver may be the trafficker or complicit in the trafficking. In such cases, determining appropriate family supports and level of involvement should include the input of the child, as well as child welfare and law enforcement systems. Similarly, procedures should be adapted as needed in cases involving domestic violence to promote safe, healthy, and active participation of all family members. For example, the organization may determine that meetings involving both the perpetrator and the victim/survivor would pose a safety risk or would limit the participation of the victim/survivor and would not be appropriate.  Finally, in situations where children have no family involvement, the standard is implemented through demonstrating children’s full participation in the development of their service plans.

    Research Note: Including resource families in the service planning process can ensure more comprehensive service delivery to children, strengthen the network of supports for birth families, and promote resource family retention.

  • FKC 4.02

    Children and families are given the opportunity to choose a team of supportive people, such as extended family, resource families, friends, community members, and other service providers to participate in the service planning process.

    Interpretation: The organization can facilitate participation by, for example, helping arrange transportation or including participants in scheduling decisions. 

    Research Note: Family teaming models (such as Family Group Decision-Making, Family Team Meetings, and Family Group Conferencing) have become increasingly prevalent for intentionally collaborating with families throughout the child welfare intervention and particularly at crucial decision-making points. 
    The family “team” is the group of people that a family has chosen to support them in meeting their goals and that may provide support identified in the service plan. In addition to parents, children, and siblings, family teams can include:
    1. extended family members, 
    2. family friends, 
    3. resource parents,
    4. service providers already working with a family, 
    5. community members, 
    6. tribal members, 
    7. faith group members, and 
    8. other supportive people identified by the family. 
    Family teaming models have proven to be successful in supporting positive outcomes by helping service providers share power with families, build and incorporate the larger circle of family support, and develop plans that ensure safety and achieve permanency more quickly. Through evaluation studies family teaming has been identified as an effective practice tool for collaborating with kinship families. 

  • FKC 4.03

    Service planning builds on the assessment process to explore: 
    1. children’s and families’ short- and long-term goals, child welfare system goals if applicable, and the desired outcomes when goals are met;
    2. the organization’s role in supporting the achievement of desired outcomes and the legal mandates for ensuring children’s safety, permanency, and well-being;
    3. how to maintain and strengthen relationships while children are not living with their parents;
    4. working on challenging behaviors, including their antecedents, coping strategies, and contributing factors;
    5. strategies to address needs and challenges through formal services and informal family and community support; 
    6. benefits, cultural relevance, and alternatives to planned services; and 
    7. the ramifications of non-participation in services, as applicable. 

    Interpretation: When the organization is working with American Indian and Alaska Native children and families, tribal representatives should, whenever possible, play an active role in service planning, beyond mere document review.

    Culturally-relevant interventions and practices or customs of children and families’ cultures, tribe, or faith-based communities should be incorporated into care to the greatest extent possible and appropriate. 

    Interpretation: With regards to element (d), working on challenging behaviors may include physical interventions for some organizations, dependent upon local laws and regulations. These interventions do not include:
    1. mechanical restraints;
    2. the use of drugs as a restraint or off label;
    3. the seclusion of a child or youth in a locked room;
    4. corporal punishment;
    5. methods that interfere with the child or youth’s right to humane care (e.g. deprivation of sleep or food); or
    6. physical restraint holds except for a child who is at imminent risk of harm to themselves or others, if already outlined as permissible in the organization’s policy and the service plan.
    Interpretation: Safety concerns for victims of human trafficking often do not end when they enter care. The organization should work with the victim to develop a safety plan that focuses on increasing physical safety by securing needed documents, property, and services; maintaining the youth’s location in confidence; and linking efficiently to law enforcement, if needed.

  • FP
    FKC 4.04

    Service plans are individualized, based upon permanency goals, and include: 
    1. clearly-articulated goals and desired outcomes, as well as the specific tasks and objectives that support their achievement;
    2. services and supports to be provided, by whom, and by when;
    3. timeframes for accomplishing tasks and goals, evaluating progress, and updating plans; and
    4. the signature of parents, children, and family teams, whenever possible.

    Interpretation: The contents of service plans will vary depending on the organization’s role in providing services to children, families or both. Service plans should address all major life domains. For youth age 14 and older, service plans must contain a description of the services and activities that will prepare them for the transition to adulthood.

    Treatment Foster Care Programs complete preliminary treatment plans prior to placement that identify diagnoses, strategies to ensure children’s adjustment to treatment families, and identify short-term goals for the first 30 days of placement.

    Note: See FKC 13.04 for required components of the comprehensive treatment plan.

    Research Note: Pointing to the fact that only attending a required service is not sufficient to reduce risk and promote safety, literature on working with parents emphasizes the importance of developing specific goals for behavioral change that target the issues that led to the involvement of the child welfare system, and describe what caregiver behavior will look like when changed. The Solution Based Casework model also highlights the importance of focusing these behaviorally-specific plans on the tasks in everyday life that tend to pose challenges for the family, in order to help the family interrupt the destructive patterns that threaten safety.  In order to ensure parents understand what they are responsible for accomplishing, both goals and tasks should also be written in clear and straightforward language.

  • FP
    FKC 4.05

    Workers and supervisors, or clinical, service, or peer teams, review cases quarterly, or more frequently as determined by case status, to assess: 
    1. service plan implementation; 
    2. progress toward goals, including permanency goals;
    3. the continuing appropriateness of goals, including permanency goals; and
    4. visitation/family time plans, as applicable. 

    Interpretation: More frequent review may be necessary because of decision-making milestones, the involvement of other systems, the frequency and intensity of service provision, or other case-specific factors. 

    Experienced workers may conduct reviews of their own cases. In such cases, the worker’s supervisor reviews a sample of the worker’s evaluations as per the requirements of the standard. 

    Interpretation: When the case involves an American Indian or Alaska Native child, a representative from the tribe or a local Indian organization must receive timely notification of case reviews to ensure their involvement, particularly when any changes are made to the plan. Phone and video conferencing can be used to facilitate tribal participation. The case review should include an assessment for compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act. 

  • FP
    FKC 4.06

    Workers and families regularly:

    1. review and document progress toward the achievement of goals, including family members’ perspectives on progress and concerns regarding the case;
    2. identify any barriers to meeting goals; and
    3. make adjustments to service plans as needed, and sign updated plans.

    Interpretation: In addition to involving all immediate family members, children and families should be given the opportunity to include other supportive people of their choice, such as extended family, friends, and community members, in progress reviews. Resource families should be involved in progress reviews and sign updated service plans, with the parent’s consent when possible, unless parental rights have been terminated. 

    Research Note: Using a solution-focused approach when monitoring and adjusting plans with families supports positive engagement through acknowledging and building on successes, and working from a shared vision so families can experience monitoring as a mutual process intended to ensure that their goals are met.

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