Private Organization Accreditation

Sweetser, a Maine non-profit agency operating since 1828, provides comprehensive mental and behavioral health and substance abuse treatment services. Statewide, it serves around 15,000 consumers a year, including children, adults, and families in outpatient, office-based, and residential settings.


Nicole Deprez-Garrity, M.Ed.

Volunteer Roles: Endorser, Lead Endorser

Nicole Deprez-Garrity is a lead After School Endorser based in Germany.
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Adoption Services establish a permanent family for children and youth awaiting adoption, and increase the well-being and functioning of birth parents, adoptive families, and adopted individuals.

PA-AS 8: Placement

The agency identifies adoptive families who can meet the needs of waiting children and facilitates timely placements.

Interpretation: An agency that has responsibility for placing an Indian child should work closely with the child’s tribe to identify adoptive homes within the tribal community. Families from all tribes to which the child has ties should be considered as placement options.

Note: Foster Care to Adoption programs will implement PA-FKC 6 and PA-AS 8.

NA The agency provides homestudy services only.

NA The agency provides post placement services only.

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 service delivery 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
    • Matching and placement procedures
    • Procedures for involving expectant/birth parents, when applicable
    • A description of assistance provided to adoptive parents during placement
    • Documentation of tribal participation in placement process, when applicable
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Parents
      4. Children
    • Review case records

  • PA-AS 8.01

    A process that examines the child’s needs and interests, and the prospective adoptive parents’ interpersonal and parenting skills, identifies an adoptive family that:

    1. is most suitable to meet the child’s needs; and
    2. can advance the child’s best interests.

    Interpretation:Children are encouraged to participate in the decision-making process to the greatest extent possible given their age and developmental level.

  • PA-AS 8.02

    The child’s and prospective family’s religious, cultural, racial, linguistic, and ethnic identities are considered when identifying a family, provided such consideration:

    1. does not delay placement of the child for adoption;
    2. is in the best interest of the child; and
    3. is consistent with applicable legal requirements.

    Interpretation: Agencies should follow guidelines set forth in the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act.

    Research Note:The original language in the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act (MEPA) was updated by the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996 to eliminate confusion about whether race, color, or national origin could be considered in making placement decisions. These amendments, known as Removal of Barriers to Interethnic Adoption, explicitly state that they have no effect on placement preferences for Indian children under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). The protection granted under ICWA is based upon the child’s political affiliation to the tribe and this is distinct and separate from the racial classifications outlined in the amendments.

  • PA-AS 8.03

    The agency takes into account, whenever feasible and appropriate, birth parents’ expressed desires regarding the child’s placement, and when this consideration can delay placement, the agency:

    1. acts in accordance with applicable law;
    2. tries to resolve the conflict in the best interest of an expeditious and permanent placement; and
    3. promptly seeks legal counsel regarding resolution of such differences, if necessary.

  • PA-AS 8.04

    Prospective adoptive parents are provided with sufficient information and time to make an informed decision about the placement, and assurance that the child is legally available for adoption.

    Interpretation: Information includes all available non-identifying child and birth parent information, and information about the general circumstances leading to the decision to place the child for adoption. Prospective adoptive parents should be given sufficient time to comprehend large amounts of information about a child. If the agency develops a process to share information over time with parents, it should carefully consider what information must be shared prior to the decision to adopt. Intentional misrepresentation or concealment and negligent disclosure or withholding of information can put the agency at risk for wrongful adoption lawsuits. Practices that may limit exposure to liability include: informing prospective adoptive parents of limits on information gathering and disclosure, provision of information in writing, and training staff on procedures for collecting and disclosing information.

    Research Note: Literature suggests that adoptions are more successful when adoptive parents have realistic expectations about the adopted child. This is of particular importance for children with special needs or children at greater risk for disruption.

  • PA-AS 8.05

    When a child is placed prior to termination of parental rights, the agency:

    1. informs the prospective adoptive parents of the substantial risks involved and limitations on confidentiality;
    2. requires written agreements between the organization and the prospective adoptive parents, stating the mutual intention that the adoption take place, if legal matters are resolved; and
    3. makes diligent efforts to remove legal and other barriers to the adoption.

    Interpretation: This standard does not apply in the case of customary adoption, when parental rights will not be terminated.

    NA The agency does not place children prior to the termination of parental rights.

  • PA-AS 8.06

    The child is placed as soon as the family and child are prepared, and adoptive parents receive assistance:

    1. with the child’s transition to the home;
    2. obtaining available subsidies and medical insurance for the child;
    3. obtaining resources for the child’s special needs; and
    4. completing the legal adoption.

  • PA-AS 8.07

    Indian children are placed according to the placement preferences specified in the Indian Child Welfare Act as applicable.

    Research Note:The Indian Child Welfare Act requires that preference be given to adoptive placements in the following order: (1) a member of the child’s extended family; (2) other members of the child’s tribe; and (3) other Indian families. As evidence of compliance with these placement preferences, a record of each placement must be maintained by the state in which the placement was made. These records are made available upon request of the United States Secretary of Interior or the Indian child’s tribe.

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