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.


Children's Foundation of Mid America

James W. Thurman, President/CEO

Children’s Foundation of Mid America has been accredited through COA since 1983. The process of accreditation ensures that we meet or exceed the highest standards in the industry.
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Juvenile Justice Residential Services promote public safety by providing youth with a supportive, structured setting that helps them address their needs and develop the attitudes and skills needed to make responsible choices, avoid negative behaviors, and become productive, connected, and law-abiding citizens.

JJR 4: Family Connections and Involvement

The youth, family, and organization work together to maintain an optimal level of family involvement during residential care, and develop positive connections to support youth after release.

Interpretation: COA recognizes that involving families can be difficult, especially when youth are placed outside of their communities, and far from their families. However, emerging juvenile justice reforms have placed an emphasis on ensuring youth are assigned to facilities close to their families and within their communities. Organizations should advocate for youth to be placed near their families whenever possible, and still strive to involve families when resident youth are outside of their communities, unless family contact is contraindicated.

Note: “Family” can be defined broadly, as referenced in the Glossary.

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 family involvement
    • Procedures for involving youths’ families
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Youth served and their families
    • Review case records

  • FP
    JJR 4.01

    Youth and their family members are informed of the organization’s policies and procedures regarding visits and phone calls, and encouraged to maintain regular contact.

  • JJR 4.02

    Families are encouraged to participate in assessment, service delivery, and reentry planning.

    Interpretation: Participation in service planning and case conferences should also be encouraged, as addressed in JJR 2.05.

    NA The organization provides only detention services.

  • JJR 4.03

    The organization minimizes barriers to family involvement by:

    1. including family members in scheduling decisions;
    2. allowing participation through teleconferencing;
    3. assisting with transportation, accommodations, and childcare, as needed and to the extent possible;
    4. helping personnel develop and maintain positive relationships with family members; and
    5. providing an environment conducive to family visits and activities.

    Interpretation: Personnel should demonstrate: (a) sensitivity to the willingness of the family to be engaged; (b) respect for family members’ autonomy and confidentiality; (c) a non-threatening manner; (d) flexibility; and (e) persistence.

  • JJR 4.04

    To strengthen the family’s ability to support and supervise youth, the organization helps family members:

    1. meet any unmet service needs;
    2. maintain and strengthen family relationships;
    3. prevent, manage, and resolve family conflicts;
    4. identify strengths that can help them meet challenges; and
    5. prepare for the youth’s return to the family, when appropriate.

    Interpretation: The organization may help the family by, for example, providing family counseling, or linking family members with needed resources. Although family members may receive services at the facility, it may also be appropriate to provide or arrange for the delivery of services in the family’s community, especially when the family lives far from the facility. Some of this work may be done by an aftercare case manager, in the context of planning for reentry.

    NA The organization provides only detention services.

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