WHO IS ACCREDITED?

Private Organization Accreditation

As one of the largest family services agencies in the country, Child & Family Services has dedicated its resources to meet the needs of the community since 1873.
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ORGANIZATION TESTIMONIAL

Family Services of the North Shore

Kathleen Whyte, Manager of Human Resources / Accreditation Coordinator

Family Services of the North Shore is about to enter our third accreditation cycle with COA. Accreditation has provided us with a framework that enables us to demonstrate accountability to our clients, our funders and our donors. There is no question that the accreditation process and COA have benefited our agency.
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Purpose

Group Living Services allow individuals who need additional support to regain, maintain, and improve life skills and functioning in a safe, stable, community-based living arrangement.

GLS 3: Family Involvement

The organization works with the resident and his or her family to develop and maintain an optimal level of family involvement in all program activities.

Interpretation: Each resident defines “family” differently, whether it be blood relatives, legal guardians, foster families, adoptive families, extended family members, significant others, peer groups or other family-like relationships. Organizations should work with the resident to understand their definition of “family” in order for residents to develop and sustain permanent, lifelong connections.
 
Interpretation: Organizations should make every effort to connect the resident to family members or other family-like supports, even when the service population consists of children or youth with limited family connections, unaccompanied alien children, or adults who do not wish to maintain family contact.

Interpretation: In cases where the child is a victim of human trafficking, it is important to 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.

Note: Please also refer to the Note at the service definition for how COA defines “family” throughout this service section.

Research Note: Innovative programs are also taking steps to establish family advisory councils to involve family members in the hiring and training of staff, training family members to lead treatment team meetings, and supporting their involvement as advocates and mentors within the program in order to thoroughly engage families in the treatment process.

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
    • Procedures for facilitating family involvement
    • Documentation of family involvement
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Residents and their families
    • Review case records

  • GLS 3.01

    The organization helps residents maintain family contacts and continue relationships with parents, siblings, extended family members, and other family-like supports through regular contact and shared activities, unless:
    1. contact is contraindicated by court-order; or
    2. the resident is an adult who does not wish to maintain family contact.

    Interpretation: Unless contraindicated by court-order, residents have the opportunity to spend time with their family at home and receive visits from family and friends. The organization will not permit withholding of family contact, restrictions on, or cancellation of planned time home for disciplinary reasons. For adults, and some young adults, every attempt should be made to include family members such as spouses, siblings, children, parents, and/or significant others identified by the resident. In cases where adults do not want family involvement, they receive help to identify friendship opportunities based on common interests, and for young adults efforts are made to help them connect with a non-custodial parent and/or other extended family members.

    Interpretation: Only in extreme situations should residents be in a program that is a long distance from home. Residents should be located close to their families and home communities so they can retain natural connections (including extended family, neighbors, mentors, etc.) and continue to participate in community programs. As such, organizations should attempt to accept residents who live nearby to allow frequent in-person contact with families. All efforts to avoid loss of connection with family and friends should be made via web-based or electronic communication. 

    Research Note: Research suggests that contact and involvement with family is positively associated with treatment outcomes.

    Research Note: Group living programs should have open door policies, allowing families to spend time and/or communicate with residents to the greatest extent possible. Innovative programs are promoting family member involvement by having staff members work with residents and families in their homes and communities on a regular basis.


  • GLS 3.02

    The organization helps every resident to:
    1. express the nature of family involvement desired;
    2. prevent, manage, and reduce family conflicts and develop problem-solving skills; 
    3. identify family strengths that help members meet challenges; 
    4. understand separation from family or significant others and grieve the loss of family; and
    5. prepare for returning home or for living with another family, if appropriate.

    Interpretation: The organization should work with residents to identify individuals with whom they wish to maintain a relationship, especially when trafficking is suspected. Traffickers may pose as a significant other, older relative, or communicate through another individual and utilize visitation to continue the exploitation of the victim.


  • GLS 3.03

    When services cannot be provided close to a resident’s home or community, the organization attempts to maintain family ties and involve the family in service planning and delivery by:
    1. assisting the family with travel arrangements; 
    2. coordinating or facilitating family services to be delivered in the community; and
    3. employing methods for telecommunication through web-based or electronic systems.

    Interpretation: The organization must support family involvement and provide alternative services through cooperating local organizations. Transportation costs should be paid to facilitate frequent visiting and home visits, when possible. Documented exceptions can be made in those situations that meet special needs and when family involvement is contraindicated.


  • GLS 3.04

    The organization supports family involvement and engagement by:
    1. providing assistance or support, as needed;
    2. encouraging the family’s active participation in decision-making;
    3. providing an environment conducive to family visits and activities; and
    4. reestablishing parental and family care, or termination of parental rights, when in the best interest of or desired by the resident.

    Interpretation: Examples of ways to engage families and encourage their participation in treatment activities can include asking family members directly about their needs and having family advocates available to offer assistance.


  • GLS 3.05

    Family members receive information and support to help them understand the needs of the resident and promote successful reintegration with their family and community.

    Interpretation: Organizations should educate family members on any important information related to the resident’s treatment that will aid in their transition from care and offer supports to families, such as individual mentoring and family and/or parent coaching.  

    Interpretation: Educating parents on sex trafficking is an important component to prevention, identification, and treatment.  Information provided should address how parents can raise their children in an environment free of abuse, neglect, and exploitation, through information on topics such as internet safety, how to respond when a child runs away, and developing healthy relationships.  Additionally, information for parents of trafficking victims should emphasize the issue of stigma associated with prostitution to help the family provide a healthy, nonjudgmental home environment, supportive of a successful reintegration.

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