Private Organization Accreditation

Family Services of Southeast Texas strengthens families through accessible, affordable counseling services and education for issues affecting family life, mental health and employment.  We also provide comprehensive domestic violence shelter and support services.


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 6: Child Placement

Children are placed with resource families who can best meet their needs for safety, permanency, and well-being, and best support their ties to family and community.

Interpretation: When another provider is responsible for child placement, the organization must ensure the standard is met. An organization that provides emergency placements must document efforts made to meet the standards given the emergency nature of the placement. Emergency placements involving an American Indian or Alaska Native child must comply with the emergency proceeding provisions set out in the Indian Child Welfare Act. Efforts should be made to identify emergency placements that comply with the placement preferences in ICWA so as to prevent future placement changes in the event that a full child custody proceeding is initiated.

Interpretation: COA’s standards utilize the term “placement” when referring to the organization’s role in facilitating changes in children’s living environments; however it is valuable to look at this process as children joining resource families. Conceptualizing the process in this way helps workers humanize children and account for the emotional and physical toll this process can have on children.

Note: Foster Care to Adoption programs will implement FKC 6 and AS 9.

NA The organization has no role in facilitating child placement

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
    • Placement procedures including: 
      1. matching children and resource families
      2. preventing and managing placement disruptions
    • A description of services to support placement changes
    • Policy for giving preference to kin
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Resource parents
      4. Parents
      5. Children and youth
    • Review case records
    • Review resource parent records

  • FP
    FKC 6.01

    Resource family homes are licensed, approved, or certified according to state, tribal, or local regulation and contain no more than five total children in the home, including: 
    1. no more than two children under the age of two or four children over the age of 13 in foster care; or
    2. no more than two children in treatment foster care. 

    Interpretation: When children are placed with kin on an emergent basis, criminal and child abuse background checks and preliminary safety assessments are conducted prior to placement and the local child welfare agency may allow eligible kin a period of time to work towards certification or licensing as a resource family home.

    When the local child welfare agency is not assuming custody of a child, the kinship caregiver’s home may be approved as a temporary placement option while the family works towards stabilization.

    Interpretation: The total number of children includes all children under the age of 18 residing with the family, and includes any children residing with the family for overnight respite care. Exceptions to the maximum capacity may be made on a case-by-case basis to keep siblings together, to place children with relatives, to keep parenting youth together with their children, for other extenuating reasons that directly support plans for children to be connected to relationships that are safe, nurturing, and intended to be enduring, or when the home is licensed by the state or tribe to care for more children and demonstrates through the family assessment and home study that the needs of every child can be met.

    Note: This standard is not applicable for unlicensed kinship caregivers.

    Research Note: Federal legislation allows the state or county child welfare authority to waive non-safety licensing standards for kinship caregivers on a case-by-case basis. This legislation encourages organizations to be flexible in working with kinship caregivers in order to keep children with their families and to recognize that some non-safety standards that are appropriate for non-related resource parents may not be relevant to placements with kin. In addition to certain non-safety waivers, organizations may be able to grant exceptions on a time-limited basis to allow kin time to meet a requirement, especially when they are already caring for a child.

  • FKC 6.02

    All available information is considered in order to identify the best living environment for each child and the process includes an assessment of children’s and potential caregivers’ strengths, needs, supports, and resources.

    Interpretation: The information to be considered includes information obtained during intake, initial and comprehensive assessments, and case review, including information about previous placements/living environments, as well as information obtained during assessments and annual reviews of resource parents. When children are separated from their families before comprehensive assessments are conducted the information available will obviously be more limited, but the organization should still consider all available information, including any information obtained at the time the children are separated from their families.

    Interpretation: The organization should ensure that the appropriateness of a potential living environment is assessed in line with the strengths, needs, and characteristics of each child. For example, when children pose a risk of harm to self or others, the organization must assess the level of risk when identifying a suitable family or treatment setting, and should develop plans for maintaining safety when necessary. Similarly, when children are victims of human trafficking or have a record of running away, potential caregivers or programs should be assessed for their capacities, competencies, resources, and willingness to provide effective care. The organization should also ensure that at least one primary caregiver can effectively communicate in a child’s language. When such a setting is not possible, assistance should be provided with translation and support and the organization should continue to identify a more suitable living environment. With regard to family settings, given that a potential caregiver’s ability to meet a child’s needs may be impacted if the caregiver is already caring for other children, the examination of characteristics and needs should also include attention to the needs of any other children currently residing in the potential caregivers’ home. Any prior relationship between children and caregivers should also be examined.

    Research Note: Several studies have identified a “good fit” between children and resource parents as a predictor of placement stability. “Goodness of fit” typically refers to the totality of factors that are assessed, with particular attention to temperament and personality traits.

  • FP
    FKC 6.03

    In order to ensure children are in the most family-like and familiar setting possible, the organization makes reasonable efforts to ensure children are placed: 
    1. with siblings; 
    2. with kin; and
    3. with families that reside within reasonable proximity to their family and home community.

    Interpretation: Organizational policy must require that preference be given to kin, and organizations are required to make reasonable efforts in accordance with applicable law and the requirements of the standard unless it is contrary to children’s well-being. If children are not in the most family-like and familiar setting possible, the reason must be documented in the case record. In the event that siblings cannot stay together, ongoing sibling contact will be critical. 

    Note: See FKC 10.05 for more information regarding the importance of also helping children to maintain stability in their home schools, unless it is determined not to be in their best interest.

    NA The organization provides Kinship Care Services only.

  • FKC 6.04

    American Indian and Alaska Native children are placed according to the placement preferences specified in the Indian Child Welfare Act. 

    Interpretation: When the organization is working with American Indian and Alaska Native children and families, tribal representatives and service providers must be involved in placement decisions and moves to ensure compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act, which requires that preference be given to placements in the following order: 
    1. a member of the child’s extended family;
    2. resource families licensed, approved, or selected by the child’s tribe;
    3. American Indian or Alaska Native families licensed or approved by a non-Native licensing authority; and 
    4. an institution approved by an Indian tribe or operated by an Indian organization.
    Alternative placement preferences established by the child’s tribe may apply, and the court may also take into consideration the preferences of the child or his/her birth parents. Organizations should work closely with the child’s tribe to identify placement options within the tribal community. Families from all tribes to which the child has ties should be considered as placement options, and eligibility criteria should be consistent with the norms of the tribe.

    Research Note: Neither the Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994 (MEPA) nor the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996 override, amend, or repeal the requirements of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). The protection granted under ICWA is based upon children’s political affiliation to the tribe and this is distinct and separate from the racial classifications outlined in either act. As such, American Indian and Alaska Native children should be placed according to the placement preferences outlined in ICWA.

    NA The organization provides Kinship Care Services only.

    NA The organization provides services for foreign-born children only.

  • FKC 6.05

    The organization promotes the stability of children’s living environments and prevents the need for placement changes through coordinated placement planning that:
    1. ensures children, families, and resource families understand the steps involved in the process for a child joining a new family setting and receive support and information throughout; 
    2. provides  all legally permissible information about children’s characteristics, behaviors, histories, and permanency goals to prospective resource families; 
    3. ensures that resource families make an informed decision to accept children into their care;
    4. arranges opportunities for children and parents to meet prospective resource families when possible; 
    5. responds proactively to challenges that arise by assessing the need for services and supports; and 
    6. facilitates workers’ ability to spend more time with children, families, and/or resource parents after children first come into the home or when challenges arise.

    Research Note: The trauma of separating families, facilitating children joining a new family setting, and any subsequent changes in the living setting can be partially minimized through a sensitive and responsive matching and placement process. Effective placement planning requires sharing of information to promote equal involvement in the process and to allow all parties to do their job well. Birth and resource families need information about the process, visitation/family time, decision making timeframes and expectations for involvement in meetings and ongoing communication.

    Research Note: Significant research has demonstrated the correlation between placement instability and negative child outcomes including poor academic performance and social and emotional difficulties. Regardless of children’s prior history of maltreatment or behavioral challenges, these negative outcomes increase following placement disruptions.

  • FKC 6.06

    The appropriateness of children’s placements is reviewed regularly, and changes occur to support children’s best interests and permanency goals, as needed.

    Interpretation: The organization should make every effort to prevent any placement change that is not in the best interest of children and their permanency goals. Placement changes that support children’s best interests and permanency goals may include moving from a foster family to an adoptive family, moving from foster family to a kinship family or other changes that bring children closer to family or community.

  • FKC 6.07

    Children, families, and resource families receive additional support during placement changes that include: 
    1. sufficient advanced notice prior to a placement change; 
    2. formalized discussions of the reasons for a move or disruption, each parties’ feelings about the change, and as needed, interventions to address the reasons for the change;
    3. reassessment of children’s strengths and needs in advance or at the time of the change, and identification of a resource family or other placement setting that can best promote safety, well-being, and permanency; and
    4. referral to additional services or supports. 

    Interpretation: Whenever possible notice should be provided at least 14 days in advance of a placement move.

    Interpretation: When the organization is working American Indian or Alaska Native children and families, tribal representatives must be involved in placement decisions and moves for American Indian and Alaska Native children in care.

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