WHO IS ACCREDITED?

Private Organization Accreditation

HeartShare assist individuals with developmental disabilities through education, day, residential and recreation programs, case management, and health services, and provides foster care/adoption services, counseling, after school and energy assistance programs, and programs for people with HIV/AIDS.
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ORGANIZATION TESTIMONIAL

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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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 6: Child Placement

Children are placed with resource families who can best meet their needs and best support their ties to family and community.

Update:

  • Revised Interpretation - 10/31/17
    The interpretation was revised to address emergency placement considerations for American Indian and Alaska Native children. 

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.

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

NA The organization has no role in facilitating child placement.
 
NA The organization provides informal Kinship Care Services only.

Rating Indicators
1
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.
2
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.
3
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.
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
    • Procedures for developing shared living agreements
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

    All resource families’ homes are licensed, approved, or certified according to state, tribal, or local regulation and contain no more than: 
    1. five children with no more than two children under age two; or 
    2. two children in treatment foster care.

    Update:

    • Revised Interpretation - 01/15/17
      The interpretation was revised to clarify that the maximum number of children includes children in respite 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 may be made on a case-by-case basis to the number of children in the home to accommodate sibling groups, to place children with relatives, or when the home is licensed by the state or tribe to care for more children and demonstrates that the needs of every child can be met.

    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

    To identify the safest and most nurturing home for every child the organization uses a process that examines:
    1. children’s and caregivers’ characteristics, strengths, needs, supports, and resources; and 
    2. the appropriateness of the resource family home environment.

    Interpretation: The organization uses all intake, initial assessment, comprehensive assessment, and prior placement information available at the time of placement to make the best possible match. Any prior relationship between children and caregivers should also be examined. 

    At least one resource parent effectively communicates in the children’s language, and when such placements are not possible, assistance is provided with translation and support while a more suitable family is identified. 

    The home environment includes factors such as sleeping arrangements and characteristics and needs of other children in the home. 

    Interpretation: When placing children who are victims of human trafficking or who have a record of running away (AWOL), resource families should be assessed for their ability to care for this population.

    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.

    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, Indian children should be placed according to the placement preferences outlined in ICWA (See FKC 6.04).


  • FP
    FKC 6.03

    Children are placed according to their best interests in the most family-like and familiar setting possible: 
    1. with siblings; 
    2. with kin; or 
    3. with families that reside within reasonable proximity to their family and home community.

    Interpretation: Unless it is contrary to the well-being of a child, organizations are required to make reasonable efforts to place siblings together and policy requires that preference be given to kin. If a child is not placed in a manner consistent with the specified options, the reason is documented in the case record.

    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. 

    Update:

    • Revised Interpretation - 10/31/17
      The interpretation was revised to align with the Indian Child Welfare Act, with greater guidance for placing American Indian and Alaska Native children.

    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; and 
    3. American Indian or Alaska Native families licensed or approved by a non-Native licensing authority;
    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.

    NA The organization provides Kinship Care Services only.

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


  • FKC 6.05

    The organization prevents placement changes through coordinated placement planning that:
    1. ensures children, families, and resource families are aware of the placement process 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. arranges opportunities for children and parents to meet prospective resource families when possible; 
    4. responds proactively to challenges associated with placement and assesses the need for services and supports; and 
    5. facilitates workers’ ability to spend more time with children, families, and/or resource parents after a new placement or when challenges arise.

    Research Note: The trauma of separation and placement moves can be partially minimized through a sensitive and responsive 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, decision making timeframes and expectations for involvement in meetings and ongoing communication.


  • FKC 6.06

    Placement changes occur to support the best interest of children and their permanency goals.

    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 home to an adoptive home, moving from foster care to kinship foster care or other moves that bring children closer to family or community.

    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 6.07

    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 placement 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 needs in advance or at the time of the change, and identification of a resource family or other placement setting that can best achieve 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. 


  • FP
    FKC 6.08

    When youth are in care past the age of 18, shared living agreements are developed at the time of placement, or upon youths’ birthdays, to promote independence, clarify new roles, and establish mutually agreed upon expectations. 

    Interpretation: In many states foster care services have been extended to youth until age 19, 20, or 21. In a developmentally appropriate manner, every youth over 18 should be engaged in a conversation, that is formally documented, that explores and determines the mutual expectations and responsibilities of the living arrangement now that they are not a minor.

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