WHO IS ACCREDITED?

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. 
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VOLUNTEER TESTIMONIAL

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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Purpose

Children and youth who participate in Out-of-School Time programs gain the personal, social, emotional, and educational assets needed to support healthy development, increase well-being, and facilitate a successful transition through childhood and adolescence, and into adulthood.

OST 6: Positive Approaches to Guiding Behavior

Personnel use positive techniques to guide and manage behavior.

Note: Practices that support and encourage positive interactions and behavior, as addressed in OST 5, underlie and support appropriate behavior management.  See COA’s standards for Behavior Support and Management (BSM) for additional organization-wide expectations regarding behavior support and management.  

Research Note: Literature highlights the importance of: (1) creating a safe, supportive, and stable environment that emphasizes positive behavioral supports and consistent implementation of rules; (2) focusing on the causes of disruptive behavior rather than focusing only on the behavior itself; (3) viewing incidents as learning opportunities that can help improve how children act and relate to others; (4) avoiding exclusionary or overly punitive disciplinary practices; (5) balancing accountability for actions with an understanding of the factors and underlying causes that may have contributed to those actions; and (6) facilitating access to needed services. 

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 how personnel use positive techniques to guide and manage behavior
    • Policies and procedures for guiding and managing behavior (OST 6.01, 6.02, 6.03, 6.04, 6.05, 6.06)
    • Policies for prohibited interventions (OST 6.07)
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Program Administrator
      2. Site Director
      3. Program Personnel
      4. Children, youth, and families
    • Observe program interactions and activities
    • Review files of children and youth

  • OST 6.01

    Personnel observe children and youth and their behaviors, and support and encourage positive choices and behavior by:

    1. maintaining high expectations for children and youth;
    2. recognizing and reinforcing positive behavior; and
    3. providing individualized guidance and support to encourage engagement and help prevent problems, as needed.

    Note: See OST 4 and 9 for more information regarding the importance of using a variety of strategies to ensure that all children and youth are appropriately and sufficiently engaged in the program.


  • OST 6.02

    When concerning behaviors or conflicts arise, personnel determine:

    1. when children and youth can be left alone or quickly redirected;
    2. when children and youth can be encouraged to resolve situations on their own; and
    3. when it is necessary to intervene.

    Interpretation: When children and youth experience conflicts personnel should typically encourage them to try to resolve the situation on their own, and step in only as needed. However, personnel should also take care to ensure that the situation is resolved effectively. It is also important to note that children and youth should never be encouraged to find a mutually-agreeable solution on their own if there is a power imbalance between them, as addressed in OST 6.06. 
     


  • OST 6.03

    When it is necessary to intervene in a situation, personnel:

    1. remain calm and patient;
    2. refrain from publicly criticizing children and youth, to the extent possible;
    3. acknowledge the feelings of children and youth;
    4. help children and youth cool down, as needed;
    5. speak with children and youth to learn their perspectives regarding what caused the situation; and
    6. consider whether there are any underlying causes or circumstances that may have triggered or contributed to the situation.


  • OST 6.04

    In an effort to prevent future incidents and maintain a positive program climate, responses to concerning behavior include:

    1. viewing incidents as learning opportunities that can help improve how children and youth behave and relate to others;
    2. helping children and youth reflect upon why the incident occurred, the impact of their actions, what they can do differently next time, and what support is needed to make that change;
    3. helping children and youth take responsibility for their actions in ways that are respectful, appropriate to age and developmental level, and related to the behavior in question;
    4. helping children and youth repair their relationships with their peers and the program community; and
    5. considering and addressing the needs and circumstances of all involved, including balancing accountability for actions with an understanding of the factors and underlying causes that may have contributed to those actions.

    Interpretation: While some organizations will have pre-determined consequences for specific behaviors, it may be more appropriate to individualize consequences based on the specific needs and circumstances of children and youth, and to involve children and youth in determining consequences designed to help youth take responsibility for their actions and repair any harm that occurred. For example, a youth who has vandalized the restroom might meet with the custodian to learn about the extent and costs of the damage done, and to assist with needed repairs. Regardless of whether consequences are pre-determined or tailored to the specific needs and circumstances of children and youth, organizations should avoid the use of exclusionary or overly-punitive consequences (e.g., suspension), as addressed in both OST 6.07 and the Research Note to OST 6.


  • OST 6.05

    In an effort to meet the needs of children and youth with a history of trauma, personnel:

    1. are able to recognize when a child or youth may have experienced trauma;
    2. understand the impact of trauma, including the impact trauma can have on child learning and behavior; and
    3. balance accountability for actions with an understanding of the way past trauma may have contributed to those actions.

    Note:  Organizations can also support children and youth with a history of trauma by: (1) building partnerships with organizations that provide trauma-specific treatment interventions, as referenced in OST 8.05, and (2) facilitating access to needed services, as addressed in OST 7.04. 

    Research Note:  Children who have experienced trauma may exhibit problem behaviors related to that trauma, and can then become re-traumatized through punishment for those behaviors, thereby perpetuating the cycle of trauma and behavioral problems.  Accordingly, literature on trauma-informed care points to the importance of developing policies and procedures that reflect an understanding of the impact trauma can have on child learning and behavior, and address disruptive behaviors in ways that help break the cycle of trauma and behavioral problems.  This literature highlights the importance of: (1) training personnel to recognize and understand the impact of trauma, as referenced in OST 6.05; (2) creating a safe, supportive, and stable environment that emphasizes positive behavioral supports and consistent implementation of rules, as addressed in OST 3, 4, 5, and 6; (3) focusing on the causes of disruptive behavior rather than focusing only on the behavior itself, as addressed in OST 6.03 and 6.04; (4) avoiding exclusionary or overly punitive disciplinary practices, as addressed in OST 6.07; (5) balancing accountability for actions with an understanding of the way past trauma may have contributed to those actions, as addressed in OST 6.04 and 6.05; (6) viewing incidents as learning opportunities that can help to improve how children act and relate to others, as addressed in OST 6.04; (7) building partnerships with organizations that provide trauma-specific treatment interventions, as referenced in OST 8.05; and (8) facilitating access to needed services, as addressed in OST 7.04.


  • FP
    OST 6.06

    Personnel are able to recognize when a child or youth may be experiencing bullying, and:

    1. intervene immediately and appropriately with the involved children and youth;
    2. document the incident(s);
    3. follow up individually with the involved children and youth to make sure the bullying does not continue and address both the causes and any negative effects of the bullying; and
    4. collaborate with families, other program personnel, and other relevant partners to monitor the situation and address any issues and effects.

    Interpretation: Please note that involved children and youth include both the bully and the victim of the bullying, as well as any bystanders.  Organizations should also have and follow clear procedures regarding when a situation should be reported to school-day personnel or other applicable authorities.

    Note: In addition to intervening when bullying occurs, as addressed in this standard, organizations can also take steps to prevent bullying from happening by encouraging pro-social behavior and fostering a sense of community among children and youth, as referenced in OST 5.  Given the increased incidence of cyberbullying, it is also important to teach children and youth how to navigate the internet safely and responsibly, as addressed in OST 9.18.  

    Research Note: Bullying is an extreme form of peer conflict that is deliberate and repeated, involves a power imbalance, and typically peaks in early adolescence. Bullying can be physically and psychologically harmful, and may take different forms – from physical assaults, to rumor spreading and social exclusion, to mean-spirited teasing, jokes, or name calling (e.g., racist or sexist jokes, or mocking someone’s abilities).  It is also important to remember that bullying can occur both in-person and electronically (e.g., via social media).


  • FP
    OST 6.07

    Policy prohibits:

    1. corporal punishment;
    2. aversive stimuli;
    3. withholding nutrition or hydration;
    4. inflicting physical or psychological pain;
    5. demeaning, shaming, or degrading language or activities;
    6. overly punitive restrictions;
    7. forced physical exercise to eliminate behaviors;
    8. punitive work assignments;
    9. punishment by peers; and
    10. group punishment or discipline for individual behavior.

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