Private Organization Accreditation

Stillwater-based FamilyMeans provides services in budget and credit counseling, mental health, collaborative divorce, caregiver support, youth programming, and an employee assistance program. 


Catholic Charities, Diocese of Covington

Wm. R. (Bill) Jones, ACSW, MDiv, Chief Executive Officer

Catholic Charities in Covington has been COA accredited since 1996. Though the time spent in completing the self study and hosting the site visit can sometimes feel sometimes daunting, the rewards far outweigh the effort. In our agency, the self-study is a group process that involves every member of the staff from the CEO to the building maintenance staff.
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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 4: Assessment

Residents and their families participate in a comprehensive, individualized, trauma-informed, strengths-based, culturally and linguistically responsive assessment process that informs and guides service delivery, discharge planning, and aftercare services.

Interpretation: Assessments should be child, youth, adult, and/or family-focused, as appropriate to the needs and wishes of the service recipient, the service population, or program type.

Interpretation: Organizations should make all attempts to involve family members in the assessment process; however, when such efforts are unsuccessful, such as when the organization is working with children or youth with limited family connections, unaccompanied alien children, or adults who do not wish to maintain family contact, the resident should be actively engaged in the process.  

Interpretation: When the organization is working with an Indian family, tribal representatives or other tribal community members must be involved in the assessment process, as determined by the tribe and the family.

Interpretation: The Assessment Matrix - Private, Public, Canadian, Network determines which level of assessment is required for COA’s Service Sections. The assessment elements of the Matrix can be tailored according to the needs of specific individuals or service design.

Research Note: For an assessment to be trauma-informed, it assumes that every individual has likely been exposed to experiences that are traumatic, including abuse (physical, psychological or sexual), neglect, out-of-home placements, or persistent stress. Adopting this assumption in all levels of treatment ensures the organization actively avoids instances that traumatize the resident. 

Research Note: All children, youth, and families have areas of strength and resilience. Staff should engage residents and their families in an open and safe dialogue about their strengths, struggles, fears, and experiences during the assessment process. Comprehensive assessment that guides effective service planning will be best achieved when families are engaged as partners in identifying their strengths and needs.

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
  • Culturally responsive assessments are the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations (HR 6.02) and training (TS 2.05); or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent; or
  • Diagnostic tests are consistently and appropriately used, but interviews with staff indicate a need for more training (TS 2.08).
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
  • Assessment and reassessment timeframes are often missed; or
  • Assessment are sometimes not sufficiently individualized;
  • Culturally responsive assessments are not the norm and this is not being addressed in supervision or training; or
  • Staff are not competent to administer diagnostic tests , or tests are not being used when clinically indicated; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent; 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.,
  • There are 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
    • Assessment and reassessment procedures, including strategies for family engagement
    • Assessment tool and/or criteria included in assessment
    • Data on the timeliness of assessments
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Residents
    • Review case records

  • GLS 4.01

    The information gathered for assessments is comprehensive, directed at concerns identified in the initial screening, and limited to material pertinent for meeting service requests and objectives.

  • GLS 4.02

    Residents receive a timely, individualized assessment of:
    1. psychosocial functioning;
    2. a trauma screen and, when appropriate, a trauma assessment;
    3. family, environmental, religious or spiritual, and cultural factors;
    4. educational and vocational accomplishments;
    5. social skills, recreational activities, hobbies, and interests;
    6. additional tests and assessments needed; and
    7. strengths, skills, and special interests.

    Interpretation: Assessments are completed within timeframes established by the organization and are updated periodically. 

    Interpretation: Standardized and evidence-based assessment tools are recommended to inform decision-making in a structured and consistent manner.

    Interpretation: Personnel that conduct evaluations should be aware of the indicators of a potential trafficking victim, including, but not limited to, evidence of mental, physical, or sexual abuse; physical exhaustion; working long hours; living with employer or many people in confined area; unclear family relationships; heightened sense of fear or distrust of authority; presence of older significant other or pimp; loyalty or positive feelings towards an abuser; inability or fear of making eye contact; chronic running away or homelessness; possession of excess amounts of cash or hotel keys; and inability to provide a local address or information about parents. Several tools are available to help identify a potential victim of trafficking and determine next steps toward an appropriate course of treatment. Examples of these tools include, but are not limited to, the Rapid Screening Tool for Child Trafficking and the Comprehensive Screening and Safety Tool for Child Trafficking.

    Note: The organization should have mechanisms in place for confidential sharing of information among service providers to encourage continuity of care and treatment.

    Research Note: A trauma screen refers to a brief measure or tool that determines whether an individual has experienced specific traumatic events. Trauma screening tools usually detect exposure to potentially traumatic events or experiences or the presence of traumatic stress symptoms and reactions.

    If there is an indication of trauma during the trauma screen, the resident should receive a comprehensive, evidence-based trauma assessment. The trauma assessment is a diagnostic process that is conducted by a clinician or trained mental health professional and determines whether clinical symptoms of traumatic stress are present as well as the severity of symptoms that impact the individual’s level of functioning and treatment options. 

    Personnel with specialized trauma-related education, skills, and training, or a qualified cooperating service provider, screen and assess individuals for trauma symptoms. 

  • FP
    GLS 4.03

    When a resident’s initial screening indicates the presence of substance use conditions, the organization:
    1. takes a thorough alcohol and drug use history, including an evaluation of the impact of alcohol and other drug use on the individual’s family;
    2. arranges for an appropriate level of care and, as necessary, detoxification; and
    3. provides referrals to the residents and family members, when appropriate, when it does not serve individuals with substance use conditions.

  • FP
    GLS 4.04

    Assessments consider factors related to successful group living including:
    1. possible reciprocal individual and group effects;
    2. the individual’s ability to adjust to a group; 
    3. previous placements; and
    4. trauma history.

    Interpretation: Safety issues may arise when placing individuals with little or no notice into a group living environment prior to completion of a full assessment. The organization must ensure the smoothest transition possible for new and current residents.

  • GLS 4.05

    The organization assesses and treats or refers identified victims and perpetrators of abuse and neglect.

    Interpretation: The organization complies with mandatory reporting laws and only releases information with the written, informed consent of the person or legal guardian.

    Research Note: The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 requires federal, state, and local officials who discover a minor who may be a victim of human trafficking to notify the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services within 24 hours to facilitate the provision of interim assistance.

  • GLS 4.06

    Assessments are conducted in a culturally and linguistically competent manner and identify resources that can increase service participation and support the achievement of agreed upon goals.

     Interpretation: Culturally and linguistically competent assessments can include attention to geographic location, language of choice, and the person’s religious, spiritual, racial, ethnic, and cultural background. Other important factors that contribute to a responsive assessment include attention to age, sexual orientation, gender identity, and developmental level.

  • GLS 4.07

    Reassessments are conducted as needed, including at specific milestones in the treatment process such as:
    1. after significant treatment progress;
    2. after a lack of significant treatment progress;
    3. after new symptoms are identified;
    4. when significant behavioral changes are observed;
    5. when there are changes to a family situation or parental status; 
    6. when significant environmental changes occur; or
    7. when a resident returns following an episode of running away.

    Interpretation: Reassessments are completed within timeframes established by the organization depending on the population served.

    Interpretation: Organizations should have protocols that address runaway episodes (AWOL) to welcome and reintegrate residents back into the program, as well as respond to residents’ physical and clinical needs.

    Note: For residents that return after an episode of running away, refer to GLS 8.01 for guidance on timeframes for medical screens.

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