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.


Brewer-Porch Children's Center

James W. Thompson, Executive Director

The COA standards as applied to the operations at Brewer-Porch Children’s Center at The University of Alabama has given the administration an opportunity to examine best practice and improve the quality of care provided to clients.
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Through sound administration and effective management, the agency achieves its vision, mission and strategic goals; assures appropriate use of public resources for the public good; and remains responsive to the needs of the communities it serves. 

PA-AM 3: Senior Leadership Responsibilities

Senior leadership oversees operations and sets the direction of the agency through the following activities:

  1. long-term planning;
  2. developing, implementing,  and evaluating policy;
  3. providing financial oversight; and
  4. interfacing with other government entities, oversight entities, and the public.

Interpretation: Senior leadership includes the agency head as well as commissioners, directors, or managers across administrative and program departments who are responsible for agency-wide planning and oversight.  Senior leadership also includes leadership positions responsible for overseeing field operations such as regional directors or administrators in state-administered public agencies. The individual or entity (i.e. office, unit, committee, etc.) responsible for carrying out each of the functions in PA-AM 3 can vary depending on the agency’s size and administrative structure.  Agencies should establish for themselves a consistent definition for “senior leadership” and identify the applicable parties responsible for carrying out the responsibilities outlined in PA-AM 3.

Rating Indicators
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.
Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
  • A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  
  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
  • A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed administration and management infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Please see Rating Guidance for additional rating examples. 

Table of Evidence

Self-Study Evidence On-Site Evidence On-Site Activities
    County/Municipality Administered Agency, State Administered Agency (Central Office), or other Public Entity
    • Table of organization
    • Manual or procedures detailing organizational leadership configuration and functioning (PA-AM 3.01)
    • Summary of task forces/committees, including:
      1. Responsibilities (PA-AM 3.01)
      2. Meeting schedules for the previous and current calendar year
    • Strategic/long-term planning procedures (PA-AM 3.02)
    • Strategic or long-term plan (Child and Family Services Plan for state-administered child and family serving systems) (PA-AM 3.02)
    • Meeting schedules, agendas, and minutes from the current year for:
      1. Intra-agency meetings
      2. Inter-agency meetings (PA-AM 3.04, PA-AM 3.05)
    • Agency head and senior leadership:
      1. Job description(s)
      2. Résumés or curricula vitae
    State Administered Agency (Regional Office)
    • If applicable, summary of regional task forces/committees, including: 
      1. Meeting schedules for the previous and current calendar year
      2. Responsibilities (PA-AM 3.01)
    • Meeting schedules, agendas, and minutes from the current year for:
      1. Regional Inter-agency meetings
      2. Regional Intra-agency meetings (PA-AM 3.04, PA-AM 3.05)
    • Regional director: 
      1. Job description
      2. Resumé or curriculum vitae
    County/Municipality Administered Agency, State Administered Agency (Central Office), or other Public Entity
    • Policy drafts with comments from senior staff (PA-AM 3.03)
    • Documentation of policy release (memos, training content, etc) (PA-AM 3.03)
    • Intra- and inter-agency meeting minutes for the previous 12 months (PA-AM 3.05)
    • Senior leadership testimony at budget hearings (PA-AM 3.06)
    • Copies of relevant reports (PA-AM 3.06)
    State Administered Agency (Central Office)
    • Regional Intra- and inter-agency meeting minutes for the previous 12 months (PA-AM 3.05)
    County/Municipality Administered Agency, State Administered Agency (Central Office), or other Public Entity
    • Interview: 
      1. Senior leadership
      2. Policy development or legal/regulatory/compliance personnel
      3. Operations/program field personnel
      4. Community stakeholders
    State Administered Agency (Regional Office)
    • Interview:
      1. Regional director
      2. Agency leadership
      3. Program field personnel
      4. Community stakeholders

  • PA-AM 3.01

    The agency establishes the following in an accessible, written format:

    1. organizational leadership configuration including agency leadership, including senior leadership, positions, functions, and responsibilities; 
    2. communication protocols and reporting information for major functions/operations; and
    3. other structures or processes for implementing leadership responsibilities, including establishing task forces/committees.

    Interpretation: The manual or procedures that establish these elements should augment or highlight more detailed guiding policy and procedures.

  • PA-AM 3.02

    Senior leadership involves personnel across positions and departments in long-term planning every four to five years that includes:

    1. a review of the agency’s mission, values, mandates and strategic direction;
    2. a review of demographic profiles for its defined service populations;
    3. an assessment of the previous long-term planning cycle, including current strengths and areas for opportunity;
    4. measurable goals and objectives that flow from the agency’s mission, mandated responsibilities, and quality improvement priorities; and
    5.  strategies for meeting identified goals.

    Interpretation: For the purposes of these standards, “long-term planning,” and “strategic planning” are synonymous. The chosen time frames for planning cycles should be logical and will vary depending on the external environment, including social, economic, demographic and regulatory forces.
    Interpretation: The review of demographic profiles includes the following:

    1. economic indicators;
    2. gender;
    3. age;
    4. unique cultural attributes;
    5. racial/ethnic composition;
    6. religious affiliation, as appropriate to the services provided; and
    7. language(s) of choice.
    To enhance its review, the agency can draw upon the findings of other external needs assessments, such as those conducted by the United Way, municipal planning boards, universities, or other agencies with a community-wide focus. Child and family-serving agencies may also refer to KidsCount, SACWIS, AFCARS, and NCANDS data; legislative study committee reports; and/or public health reports. Demographic data should be collected within the limits of applicable law and reflect federal data collection requirements.
    Interpretation: The long-term plan should reflect assessment and planning efforts in human resources, finance, service delivery, and community partnership to ensure the agency’s goals and objectives are aligned and provide a strategic, comprehensive plan for its future.

    Note: Please enter demographic information on the organization’s service population on the Community Demographic Profile - Public, Canadian Public, Network Public.

    NA The agency is a network management entity.

  • PA-AM 3.03

    Senior leadership’s policy development, implementation, and evaluation responsibilities include:

    1. establishing and revising policy;
    2. reviewing policies periodically and when legal requirements or regulations change;
    3. analyzing and adopting any changes to policies resulting from recommendations from various stakeholder groups;
    4. ensuring effective, uniform implementation of policies; and
    5. evaluating the costs and benefits of implementing policies for consumers and for the agency.

  • PA-AM 3.04

    Senior leadership’s financial oversight responsibilities include:

    1. setting resource development targets and goals, as reflected in federal, state, and county budgets and/or consolidated plans; and
    2. working with the legislature, legislative committees, and other relevant public entities to advocate for adequate and timely flow of resources.

  • PA-AM 3.05

    Senior leadership establishes and maintains collaborative partnerships with cabinet-level personnel, appointees, and personnel from other government entities.

  • PA-AM 3.06

    Senior leadership provides regular, timely reports on operations, finances, and implementation of the long term plan and system-wide initiatives to the legislature, oversight entities, and the public at large, as appropriate.

    Interpretation: Relevant public entities within a county model may include a county board, designated county board members, county committees, etc.  

    Interpretation: See PA-AM 2 for more information on implementing agency-wide initiatives.

  • PA-AM 3.07

    The agency head and senior leadership, including regional directors in state-administered agencies, are qualified by:

    1. an advanced degree from an accredited college or university in a field related to the agency’s mission and services;
    2. a minimum of five years of related experience; and
    3. demonstrated competence in public human services administration, including human resources management, financial management, and cross-system collaboration.

    Interpretation: Regarding element (c), competence can be demonstrated through any combination of experience, formal education, and training.

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