WHO IS ACCREDITED?

Private Organization Accreditation

Catholic Charities alleviates human suffering and improves the quality of life of 100,000 people annually, regardless of religious background. A staff of 600 provides support and services related to housing, food, mental health, children's services, addiction treatment, and domestic violence services.
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VOLUNTEER TESTIMONIAL

Mike Angstadt

Volunteer Roles: Commissioner; Hague Evaluator; Lead Evaluator; Peer Reviewer; Team Leader

Serving as a Team Leader for COA has been an enriching experience in many ways. Utilizing the Contextual Accreditation process to discern the means in which agencies, offering a variety of services, located throughout the US, Canada ,the Philippines and other countries provide best and most promising practices to their consumers has been particularly rewarding. read more>>

Purpose

Child and Family Services promote child and family well-being, protect children’s safety, stablilize and strengthen families, and ensure permanency.

PA-CFS 15: Worker Contact and Monitoring

Workers maintain regular contact with children, parents, resource families, and residential treatment providers to promote safety, well-being, and progress towards service and permanency goals.

Interpretation: In order to ensure tribal or local Indian organization involvement when the agency is working with American Indian or Alaska Native children and families, representatives from tribes or local Indian organizations should be informed of regular contact with children, families, and caregivers, and be given an opportunity to participate.
 

Note: When different workers are responsible for working with different parties (e.g., if different workers are assigned to children and resource families), the agency should take steps to ensure that they communicate to share information appropriately, as addressed in PA-CFS 2.03.

Research Note: Federal quality monitoring processes have demonstrated the positive correlation between the quality of workers’ time spent with children and families and several quality indicators for positive outcomes, including assessing the needs of children and families; involving children and families in case planning; meeting the physical, mental health, and educational needs of children; achieving permanency goals; and preserving families and family connections.

Table of Evidence

Self-Study Evidence On-Site Evidence On-Site Activities
    • Procedures and protocols for: 
      1. Worker contact and meetings
      2. Responding to missing children
      3. Responding to allegations of maltreatment in resource families
      4. Responding to allegations of maltreatment in residential treatment settings
    • Procedures and/or guidelines for maintaining contact with other service providers
    • Interview:
      1. Agency leadership
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Children and families served
      4. Resource parents
      5. Residential treatment providers
    • Review case records 
    • Review resource parent records
    • Observe system that maintains information about children’s current living environments

  • PA-CFS 15.01

    Workers maintain contact with children and parents to:

    1. establish and maintain supportive relationships; 
    2. monitor and promote safety, permanency, and well-being;
    3. monitor service delivery;
    4. consult with children and parents about family and worker actions to achieve the goals in their service plans; and
    5. continuously explore changes in children’s or families’ needs and circumstances.

    Interpretation: Service monitoring should include confirming that services were initiated and are appropriate, and responding to complaints or problems that develop regarding service delivery. Please note that this standard applies both when children are living at home with their families and when children are in out-of-home care.

    Note: Workers are also expected to collaborate with other service providers to monitor service participation and progress, as addressed in PA-CFS 2.02. While communication with other providers is always important, it will be especially critical when providers work with family members regarding specific issues that may impact safety, such as substance use, mental health, and domestic violence.


  • PA-CFS 15.02

    When children are in out-of-home care, contact with parents includes efforts to:

    1. facilitate involvement in their children’s activities; 
    2. include them in decisions about their children; and
    3. mutually monitor progress towards reunification or other permanency goals.

    Interpretation: Parents should be encouraged to participate in their children’s health appointments, school activities, and other events, and involved in everyday decision making whenever possible, unless contraindicated.


  • FP
    PA-CFS 15.03

    When children live with their families and in-home services are provided, workers meet with children and parents: 

    1. at a frequency determined by the family’s risk level, and no less than once per month;
    2. primarily in the home; and
    3. when convenient for the family.

    Interpretation: As noted in PA-CFS 5.09, a family’s risk level should be used to determine the level of contact and monitoring required. While one contact per month may be sufficient in low-risk cases, families with a higher risk level should be seen more frequently, in some cases as often as four times per month.
     
    Interpretation: Meetings should include time for private discussion with all parties to ensure that both parents and children can feel comfortable sharing information.

    Note: Please note that this standard applies both: (1) when children have not been separated from their families, and (2) when children are reunited with their families following out-of-home care. See PA-CFS 21 for more information regarding expectations surrounding family reunification.


  • PA-CFS 15.04

    When children are separated from their families and living in out-of-home care, their worker meets with them in the new setting within three days.

    Interpretation: Children should be seen as soon as possible after the transition to the new setting, and within three days unless extenuating circumstances make that impossible. These initial meetings should include resource parents, when applicable, and when children are in residential treatment settings their workers should meet with program staff. When treatment foster care is provided children should be seen on the first day of placement. Please note that this standard also applies when transitions to new living environments occur. 


  • FP
    PA-CFS 15.05

    When children are in out-of-home care, workers meet with children, parents, and resource parents or residential treatment providers at least once a month: 

    1. on a consistent, scheduled basis;
    2. primarily in the home or treatment setting; and
    3. at mutually agreed upon times.

    Interpretation: While workers will meet separately with parents, they should hold joint meetings that include both children and resource parents or residential treatment providers. However, as noted in PA-CFS 15.03, meetings should also include time for private discussion with all parties to ensure that both children and their caregivers can feel comfortable sharing information. When treatment foster care is provided, workers should meet with children and resource families at least twice per month.
     
    Interpretation: While regular visits should occur on a consistent, scheduled basis, many agencies will also make one unannounced visit per quarter.

    Note: See PA-CFS 20 for additional expectations regarding contact with resource parents when treatment foster care is provided.


  • PA-CFS 15.06

    Workers regularly consult with out-of-home caregivers to: 

    1. maintain positive relationships; 
    2. monitor and promote safety;
    3. share all relevant and legally permissible information concerning the children;
    4. obtain input on children’s well-being, including their progress, reactions, and behaviors;
    5. clarify their role in supporting and contributing to the service and permanency plan;
    6. inform them about, and encourage their participation in, upcoming team meetings and court hearings, as appropriate;
    7. assess whether additional assistance or support is needed; and
    8. respond to questions, concerns, and issues, as needed.

    Interpretation: While support and consultation will be provided during the regularly scheduled visits described in PA-CFS 15.05, workers must also respond to questions and requests for assistance between visits.  Documentation of ongoing collaboration should be included in case records, and when issues or disagreements arise records should clarify both parties’ views, as well as the resolution of the issue.

    Note: See PA-CFS 26 for more information regarding the ongoing support that should be provided to resource parents. Please also note that the importance of involving resource parents in ongoing assessment, service planning, and permanency planning is emphasized throughout this section of standards – see PA-CFS 7, 8, 9, and 14 for more information.

    Research Note: Literature suggests a consistent relationship with a worker who provides information and support to the resource parent can be a key factor in resource parent retention and placement stability.


  • FP
    PA-CFS 15.07

    When children are reunified with their families following out-of-home care, they are visited in the home on the day following return to confirm safety.

    Note: See PA-CFS 21 for more information regarding expectations surrounding family reunification. As noted above, the requirements regarding ongoing contact and monitoring included in PA-CFS 15.03 apply both when children have not been separated from their families and when children are reunited with their families following out-of-home care.
     


  • PA-CFS 15.08

    Current information about children’s living environments is available to authorized personnel at all times.

    Interpretation: When a child moves to a new resource family or residential treatment setting, information about the new living environment should be entered in the case record within 24 hours.

    Interpretation: When the agency is working with American Indian or Alaska Native children and families, current information about children’s living environments should be made available to tribal representatives.
     


  • FP
    PA-CFS 15.09

    Practices and protocols for responding to missing children ensure that:

    1. missing children are immediately reported to the agency and law enforcement;
    2. the agency works in partnership with law enforcement to find missing children;
    3. event-based re-assessments, including re-entry examinations and clinical consultations, are conducted when children return; and
    4. the agency addresses issues that led to the episode or arose while children were missing by providing needed supports and ensuring appropriate living environments, including new settings when necessary.

    Interpretation: Missing children include children who run away, are abducted, or are otherwise unaccounted for. Protocols for responding to missing children should be developed in collaboration with law enforcement, tribal governments, and other community agencies, and the responsibilities of each agency should be clearly defined. Protocols should also address the sharing and release of information needed to assist in a search for a missing child.

    Note: Just as important as responding to missing children are the steps an agency can take to prevent children from going missing in the first place, as addressed throughout this section of standards. The agency should ensure that it provides adequate preparation for both children and caregivers; assesses risk of abduction or running away; educates caregivers about factors that can contribute to the decision to run away and how they can support children upon their return; facilitates provision of needed services; and provides appropriate monitoring and support to all parties throughout placement, addressing problems as they arise.

    Note: See PA-CFS 9 for more information regarding re-assessments.

    Research Note: Federal, state, and local officials who discover a minor who may be a victim of human trafficking are required to notify the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services within 24 hours to facilitate the provision of interim assistance.


  • FP
    PA-CFS 15.10

    Protocols for responding to allegations of resource family maltreatment ensure respect and address the rights and needs of children, their families, and resource families.

    Interpretation: Protocols for responding to allegations of maltreatment should be developed in collaboration with law enforcement, tribal governments, and other community agencies, and should incorporate input from resource families.  While it is essential that all reports be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated in order to protect the safety and well-being of children, protocols should also respect the rights and needs of the resource parents under investigation. Resource parents should be: informed of both their rights and the process for investigation and resolution; entitled to an appeal; and connected to resources or services that can provide support throughout the investigation process.

    Note: As noted in PA-CFS 25.01, training for resource parents should address both the procedures that will be followed when allegations of maltreatment are made, and ways to prevent false allegations.


  • FP
    PA-CFS 15.11

    When children are living in residential treatment settings, the agency follows protocols for responding appropriately to allegations of institutional maltreatment. 

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