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.


Anita Paukovits

Volunteer Roles: Peer Reviewer

Being a COA peer reviewer has clearly played a role in my professional development and has made me a better administrator at my own agency as a result!  To be part of a professional network that is on the cutting edge of program, practice, fiscal responsibility, and insuring Best Practice across the field is an amazing opportunity.
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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 8: Promoting Family Engagement

Personnel partner with families to build strong working relationships that facilitate productive service delivery and support the achievement of positive outcomes.

Interpretation: Given the tendency to overlook fathers, it is important to note that the standards in this core concept are intended to apply to both custodial and non-custodial fathers as well as other family members. 

Note: In addition to individual family engagement, establishing advisory committees comprised of youth and families who have received or are receiving services, as addressed in FKC 2, can support active consumer engagement in planning and service design. 

Research Note: Given the involuntary nature of service and the inherent power imbalance between families and organizations, forming a productive working relationship may prove challenging. Nevertheless, literature consistently emphasizes the importance of developing an effective partnership, noting that a strong relationship may encourage families to share more information with workers, which may in turn enable workers to make better decisions and connect family members with needed services and supports. Similarly, when parents have trusting relationships with their caseworkers they may be more likely to accept workers’ views and input about the challenges and needs to be addressed, and be more invested in participating in services and achieving service plan goals. Engagement should begin the moment that any family member first comes into contact with the organization.

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

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 strategies for engaging families in all aspects of assessment, planning, service delivery, and case review
    • Training curriculum preparing personnel to work with families
    • Family satisfaction survey data
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Children and families served
    • Review case records

  • FKC 8.01

    All family members are treated with courtesy and respect, and personnel demonstrate responsiveness to trauma and differences across cultural domains. 

    Interpretation: As noted in the COA Glossary, elements of culture may include, but are not limited to: age, ethnicity, gender identity, geographic location, language, political status, immigration/refugee history and status, race, sexual orientation, tribal affiliation, religion, and socioeconomic status. The organization should have specific culturally-responsive strategies for promoting engagement with children, families, and their support systems through all stages of the intervention. Taking a culturally-responsive approach involves recognizing and valuing the varying sociocultural histories of families, taking the time to learn about families’ lived experiences, acknowledging one’s own culturally-based beliefs and norms, and adapting casework practice and service delivery to be responsive to differences.

  • FKC 8.02

    Personnel demonstrate a commitment to engaging families and make concerted efforts to build strong, productive relationships with families to facilitate service delivery and support the achievement of positive outcomes.

    Interpretation: Training and supervision should support, and family satisfaction survey data and families’ self-reporting should demonstrate, that personnel:

    1. ?are honest, predictable, and dependable in their interactions with families;
    2. expect that families want the best for their children and emphasize that the organization and family share a common goal of keeping children safe;
    3. listen to feelings and concerns without judging, criticizing, shaming, blaming, or arguing, and demonstrate empathy and concern for all family members;
    4. understand and acknowledge that families may be fearful of the power that the organization and worker have to intervene, and that the organization’s impact on a family can be life-changing;
    5. recognize that family members may exhibit anger, avoidance, apathy, or resistance as a result of child welfare system involvement and their own personal histories of adverse experiences or trauma, and address family members’ reactions in an appropriate manner; and
    6. ensure that interactions with family members are sensitive and responsive to any history of adverse experiences or trauma.

  • FKC 8.03

    Personnel engage families as active partners in all aspects of assessment, planning, service delivery, and case review, and promote commitment to services by:

    1. providing clear and comprehensible information that enables family members, according to their abilities, to understand the organization’s role, processes, concerns, and expectations, and how their cases are progressing, at all points in the process;
    2. seeking and valuing family members’ input and perspectives regarding their experiences, strengths, risks, and needs, including their ideas for promoting safety;
    3. building upon strengths and successes in empowering families to prevent child maltreatment; and
    4. offering choices that respect the role of parents in the lives of their children and help family members retain a sense of control.

    Interpretation: It is essential that personnel be clear and transparent with parents regarding the service goals they are expected to achieve, including when changes in circumstances prompt revisions to service goals or plans.

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