WHO IS ACCREDITED?

Private Organization Accreditation

Germaine Lawrence is a residential treatment center for girls ages 12-18 with complex behavioral, psychological and learning challenges.   Girls live at our programs while receiving special education, individual, family and group therapy; psychiatric and primary medical care; and a wide variety of therapeutic activities and interventions.
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VOLUNTEER TESTIMONIAL

Barry Gourley

Volunteer Roles: Endorser; Peer Reviewer

It is an honor to be a COA volunteer. I’ve had a great opportunity to work with fabulous COA volunteers, I’ve grown professionally in the COA accreditation process and I’ve met some wonderful people across this nation who are working hard to help and support children and families.
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Purpose

Guardianship Services for Minors support the establishment of a court-appointed, long-term, living arrangement with a committed caregiver that ensures safety and increases stability and child well-being.

GSM 8: Support Services

The organization helps to arrange ongoing, individualized support services to promote the stability and success of the guardianship arrangement.

Update:

  • Revised Interpretation - 10/31/17

Interpretation: If an organization does not provide post-placement services directly, it documents attempts to make an appropriate referral.

Interpretation: The child’s extended family and other community members should be considered as valuable resources when arranging post-placement services, unless contraindicated.

Interpretation: When the case involves an American Indian or Alaska Native child, a representative from the tribe or a local Indian organization should be included in post-placement service planning. Support services and resources offered by the tribe or a local Indian organization should be considered and prioritized.

Research Note: In most states, support services provided through foster care are no longer provided once the guardianship has been finalized. Research suggests that this is a significant disincentive for caregivers who would otherwise consider a more permanent placement such as adoption or guardianship. For low-income families in particular, the loss of agency services can make guardianship financially impossible.

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
    • A description of support services
    • Community resource and referral list
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Guardians
      4. Children
    • Review case records

  • GSM 8.01

    When the need for post-placement services is identified, the organization and service recipient explore available community-based services and jointly develop a plan that specifies steps for obtaining these services.

    Interpretation: The decision to develop a post-placement service plan is based on the wishes of the child and his or her guardian.


  • GSM 8.02

    Post-placement service plans must:

    1. be responsive to the needs identified in the assessment;
    2. offer a range of community-based services and resources;
    3. outline plans for ongoing communication, visitation and shared activities with siblings that are not placed together;
    4. be flexible to the changing needs of the child and guardian; and
    5. explore the continued availability of services in the adult system.

  • GSM 8.03

    The child and his or her guardian have access to needed post-placement services that are culturally relevant and include:

    1. assessments;
    2. information and referral;
    3. educational services;
    4. counseling, mental health, and crisis intervention services;
    5. family preservation and stabilization services;
    6. peer support;
    7. respite services and out-of-home care;
    8. child care; and
    9. transportation.

    Interpretation: In some situations it may be appropriate to include the birth parent in ongoing support services, unless contraindicated.

    Research Note: Post-placement services help maintain the stability of guardianship placements. Increased levels of financial support and available support services are correlated with decreased rates of disruption.


  • GSM 8.04

    Guardians of children with special needs receive information and/or referrals for the following post-placement support:

    1. early childhood intervention services;
    2. opportunities within the local school district;
    3. specialized services for health, mental health, and substance use conditions;
    4. education and vocational training;
    5. advocacy training; and
    6. personal advocates or legal counsel.

    Research Note: Youth enrolled in special education programs within the public school system often maintain their eligibility for services beyond age 18. Through continuing education services, youth can receive assistance with vocational programming and other skill building support services.


  • GSM 8.05

    The organization works with the child and their guardian to identify and locate family members who might reestablish relationships with the child.

    Interpretation: The identification of family members should include possible successor guardians who could care for the child should the guardian be unable to care for the child in the future.

    Research Note: The literature suggests that the identification of a successor guardian and a well thought out plan for removal leads to a smoother transition for youth. This is particularly important when the caregiver is an older adult.


  • GSM 8.06

    Youth who plan to transition to independence receive information on:

    1. educational opportunities;
    2. training and vocational services;
    3. safe housing options;
    4. affordable community-based healthcare and counseling;
    5. public or tribal benefits for which they may be eligible;
    6. available resources to facilitate integration into their community; and
    7. maintaining an ongoing relationship with their tribe or tribal community.

    Interpretation: Housing options may include a full range from supported living to a fully independent living environment. When the case involves an American Indian or Alaska Native child, the organization should work with the tribe and the youth in transition to explore the risks and benefits of housing options within Indian country and prepare youth for this potential transition.

    Research Note: Organizations should explore the definition of independence with youth to ensure that youth are transitioning into a living arrangement that meets their needs and honors their belief system and cultural values. Establishing strong interdependent relationships with a committed caregiver, extended family, and supportive community members can smooth the transition into adulthood and independence.

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