Private Organization Accreditation

White's Residential & Family Services is Indiana's largest social services agency offering accredited and comprehensive residential, foster care, independent living, adoption, and home-based services.


Judy Kay, LCSW

Volunteer Roles: Peer Reviewer; Team Leader

In administration for 22 of 24 years at Child Saving Institute, a COA-accredited not-for-profit child welfare agency in Omaha, Nebraska. Retired approximately two years ago, I moved to Tucson, Arizona, where I advocate for children's rights as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer to three young children.
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Individuals and families that use Housing Stabilization and Community Living Services obtain and maintain stable housing in the community and strengthen personal support systems in order to live as independently as possible.

HSCL 3: Screening and Intake

The organization’s screening and intake practices ensure that individuals receive prompt and responsive access to appropriate services.

Interpretation: Organizations should use standardized screening instruments to ensure that service recipients are connected to the most appropriate services available within the community. The instruments should be evidence-based, person- and/or family-centered and strengths-based, trauma-informed, facilitate referrals to the full range of services needed (i.e., homelessness programs, affordable housing, mainstream benefits and services, health and mental health services, employment services, child- and youth-specific services, etc.), and appropriate for administration by non-clinical staff.

Interpretation: Screening and assessment personnel should be familiar with federal and state fair housing and reasonable accommodation laws and regulations.

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
  • Referrals procedures need strengthening; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met;
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
  • In a few rare instances urgent needs were not prioritized.
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
  • Urgent needs are often not prioritized, or
  • Services are frequently not initiated in a timely manner; or
  • Applicants are not receiving referrals, as appropriate; or
  • A number of client records are missing important information  or
  • Client participation is inconsistent; or
  • Screening and intake 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
    • Screening and intake procedures
    • Screening tools
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Individuals or families served
    • Review case records

  • HSCL 3.01

    Individuals participate in an intake screening within 24 hours of admission and receive information about:

    1. how well their request matches the organization’s services;
    2. what services will be available and when; and
    3. their rights and responsibilities.

    Interpretation: For homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing programs, screening is often a collaborative process that occurs within the broader homelessness crisis response system (which may also be known as a Coordinated Entry Process or a Centralized or Coordinated Assessment System). Homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing programs should provide procedural or documentary evidence that demonstrates their role in the screening process.

    NA Another organization is responsible for screening, as defined in a contract.

  • HSCL 3.02

    Children and youth receive an age-appropriate intake screening that includes:

    1. gathering personal and identifying information;
    2. health status, including emergency health needs;
    3. educational status, including enrollment in early childhood education or school; and
    4. basic demographic information.

    NA The organization does not admit families with children.

    NA Another organization is responsible for screening, as defined in a contract.

  • FP
    HSCL 3.03

    Prompt, responsive intake practices:

    1. are culturally responsive;
    2. are trauma-informed;
    3. are non-stigmatizing and non-judgmental;
    4. ensure equitable treatment;
    5. give priority to urgent needs and emergency situations;
    6. support timely initiation of services; 
    7. refers individuals to services at other providers, if appropriate; and
    8. provide for placement on a waiting list, if applicable.


    • Revised Interpretation - 10/01/18

    Interpretation: Culturally responsive intake practices can include attention to geographic location, language of choice, and the person’s religious, racial, ethnic, cultural background, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and developmental level.

    Interpretation: To ensure that transgender and gender non-conforming service recipients are treated with respect and feel safe, service recipient choice regarding their first names and pronouns should be respected andintake forms and procedures should allow individuals to self-identify their gender and receive access to shelter, bathrooms, and shower facilities in accordance with applicable federal and state laws. 

    Interpretation: Trauma-informed intake practices explore whether a service recipient has been exposed to traumatic events and exhibits trauma-related symptoms and/or mental health disorders. A positive screen indicates that an assessment or further evaluation is warranted. During the screening process, service recipients should feel emotionally and physically safe.

    Interpretation: In regards to element (e), homelessness prevention assistance should target very low-income to extremely low-income individuals who will imminently become homeless without assistance. Individuals and families who are at imminent risk of homelessness do not have sufficient resources or support networks to prevent them from becoming homeless. Homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing programs should develop screening and intake processes that promote acceptance regardless of income or housing barriers, and implement prioritization criteria when requests for assistance exceed program capacity. Intake should also reflect a Housing First philosophy to ensure that persons are accepted into the program without preconditions.

  • HSCL 3.04

    Individuals who cannot be served, or cannot be served promptly, are referred or connected to appropriate resources.

    NA The organization accepts all clients.

  • HSCL 3.05

    During intake, the organization gathers information to identify critical service needs and/or determine when a more intensive service is necessary, including:

    1. personal and identifying information;
    2. health status, including emergency health needs;
    3. the potential for violence or victimization;
    4. emergency health needs; and
    5. safety concerns, including imminent danger, suicide risk, or risk of future harm.

    Interpretation: Regarding elements (d), organizations may respond to identified suicide risk by connecting service recipients to more intensive services; facilitating the development of a safety and/or crisis plan; or contacting emergency responders, 24-hour mobile crisis teams, emergency crisis intervention services, crisis stabilization, or 24-hour crisis hotlines, as appropriate.

    Research Note: Some groups of service recipients may be at higher risk for suicide due to past trauma, compounding risk factors, and/or societal stigma, including individuals with public systems involvement (foster care, juvenile justice, criminal justice), military service members, American Indian and Alaska Natives, and individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT). Service recipients with alcohol use and/or mental health disorders are also at elevated risk for suicide. 

    Studies have also shown that individuals experiencing a financial crisis, including foreclosure and eviction, are more likely to experience high levels of stress, poor physical health, depression, anxiety, and be at risk for suicide.


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