WHO IS ACCREDITED?

Private Organization Accreditation

Family Services of Southeast Texas strengthens families through accessible, affordable counseling services and education for issues affecting family life, mental health and employment.  We also provide comprehensive domestic violence shelter and support services.
read more >>

ORGANIZATION TESTIMONIAL

The Village for Families & Children, Inc.

Galo A. Rodriguez, M.P.H., President & CEO

COA Peer Reviewers demonstrated their expertise through their knowledge of COA standards as well as experience in the behavioral health field. In addition, COA’s seminars and tools were very helpful in guiding us through the accreditation process.
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 26: Resource Family Development, Support, and Retention

The agency promotes resource family development and retention by collaborating with resource families to determine and provide the support needed to ensure that children receive safe, consistent, and nurturing care.

Note: See PA-CFS 15: “Worker Contact and Monitoring,” for more information regarding the ongoing case-related consultation and support that is essential to supporting and retaining resource families.

Research Note: Kinship care has not always been identified as its own area of practice in large part because of policy structures that situate kinship care as a form of foster care or family preservation. At the same time, due to societal changes and policy that requires preference be given to kin, children are entering kinship care in greater numbers. Regardless of the service model for working with kin, research conducted with kinship caregivers supports a collaborative approach.  Collaboration entails mutual support and commitment between adults who are responsible for ensuring a child’s safety, stability, permanency, and well-being. This research identified that collaborative support is demonstrated through five crucial competencies: 

  1. respecting mutual knowledge, skills, and experiences; 
  2. building trust by meeting needs; 
  3. facilitating open communication; 
  4. creating an atmosphere in which cultural traditions, values, and diversity are respected; and 
  5. using negotiation skills.

Table of Evidence

Self-Study Evidence On-Site Evidence On-Site Activities
    • A description of support efforts and services, including opportunities for peer support
    • Procedures and tools/criteria for:
      1. Conducting annual mutual reviews
      2. Conducting assessments of kinship caregivers’ strengths and needs
      3. Conducting safety assessments of resource family homes
    • A calendar or listing of recreational or social activities
    • Local community resource and referral list(s)
    • Informational materials on community resources and supports provided to resource parents, including any specific materials for kinship caregivers
    • Documentation of and/or attendance records for peer support opportunities and recreational or social activities
    • Documentation of formal relationships with community providers for the provision of support services, as applicable
    • Interview:
      1. Agency leadership
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Resource parents
      4. Review resource parent records 
    • Review case records

  • PA-CFS 26.01

    The agency offers recreational or social activities for resource families.

    Interpretation: Kinship care programs should offer activities more regularly if these activities are a fundamental component of the services they offer kinship families, such as if recreational activities function as a form of respite for kinship caregivers. 
     


  • PA-CFS 26.02

    All resource parents are provided with regular, inviting, and accessible opportunities for peer support. 
     

    Interpretation: The agency should consider the differing needs of the different groups of resource parents it works with and offer opportunities tailored to the different groups. For example, LGBT resource parents may wish to meet with others from similar circumstances, kinship caregivers may benefit from sharing experiences with other kinship caregivers, and prospective adoptive parents who have not yet been matched with a child may wish to meet others who are also awaiting placement.  Opportunities for support can include regular meetings in which resource parents can share concerns and discuss strategies for managing their role, and/or social events that bring resource families together and give them the chance to get to know each other better.  The agency can work with resource parents to determine how to make peer support opportunities more accessible, such as by offering food or child care. 

    Research Note: Research indicates that kinship caregivers best benefit from a hybrid approach to training and support in which the support group component is emphasized and serves as a space for targeted training activities.


  • PA-CFS 26.03

    The agency collaborates with resource families, and when appropriate with parents, to identify informal resources that can offer support, including as appropriate:

    1. friends and extended family;
    2. neighbors;
    3. other resource parents;
    4. members of clan, tribal, religious, and spiritual communities; and
    5. local businesses or other community agencies.

    Interpretation: As appropriate to each family’s situation and in line with requirements for ensuring safety, the family and resource family can collaboratively or individually identify informal resources to help care for children and/or provide other types of support. This type of support may need to be included in service plans to ensure communication.


  • PA-CFS 26.04

    Resource families are helped to access any services needed to improve family functioning and prevent and reduce stress and family crisis, including: 

    1. child care; 
    2. counseling, including any services and supports needed to address family relationships; 
    3. respite care;
    4. transportation;
    5. cultural, recreational, and social activities outside of the agency; and
    6. peer support opportunities outside of the agency.

    Interpretation: When working with American Indian or Alaska Native children, services offered by tribes or local Indian organizations should be considered when identifying support services.

    Note: See PA-CFS 26.06 for information regarding the additional supports and services that should be made available to kinship caregivers. 

    Research Note: An identified effective practice for increasing retention of foster parents is to encourage their participation in local, state, and national associations for foster parents, which can offer powerful opportunities for peer support and involvement in a larger movement to advocate for children.


  • PA-CFS 26.05

    Resource families participate in an annual mutual review to identify areas of strength and concern, and develop plans for needed support and training.

    Interpretation: The annual re-assessment conducted as part of the home recertification process may be used to demonstrate implementation of this standard. It is also important to note that the mutual review should not be conducted by a licensing worker as an isolated occurrence – in contrast, it should ideally be conducted in collaboration with the child welfare caseworker, and include a review of information and issues that arose throughout the year in the resource family’s ongoing interactions with the worker, as addressed in PA-CFS 15.  Resource families should also receive ongoing feedback regarding performance, focused on strengths and needs, as part of the ongoing support addressed in PA-CFS 15.

    Note: Unlicensed kinship caregivers are not required to participate in the mutual review.  See PA-CFS 26.06 for information regarding the strengths and needs assessments that should be conducted in collaboration with kinship caregivers.
     
    Note: This standard will not be applicable when a resource family has not yet been matched with a child.


  • FP
    PA-CFS 26.06

    Kinship caregivers participate in an assessment of strengths and needs, and are helped to obtain any needed services and supports, related to the following areas: 

    1. financial assistance; 
    2. legal services; 
    3. housing assistance and resources to provide a safe home environment; 
    4. food and clothing; 
    5. physical and mental health care; and 
    6. support services, including in-home supports.

    Interpretation: The assessment of strengths and needs should include attention to kinship caregivers’ satisfaction and recommendations, as well as any discrimination they may face in their role. Kinship caregivers should be provided with all available options that can support stability, and assisted to access the option that is best for their family and best for child permanency. The agency should also be aware of applicable state regulations governing financial supports available to kinship caregivers. When the agency is working with American Indian/Alaska Native children and families, tribal representatives should be used as resources to help locate the most appropriate services for kinship caregivers.

    Research Note: Literature indicates that it is essential to collaborate with kinship caregivers regarding the following major issues that tend to be of special concern for them: legal status; financial support; health and mental health care; school; child behavior; family relationships; needed support services; having fair and equal treatment; and satisfaction and recommendations.


  • FP
    PA-CFS 26.07

    Resource families’ homes are regularly assessed to identify and address any health or safety concerns including, but not limited to: 

    1. inadequate or unsafe heat, light, water, refrigeration, cooking, and toilet facilities; 
    2. malfunctioning smoke detectors; 
    3. unsanitary conditions; 
    4. lack of phone service; 
    5. unsafe doors, steps, and windows, or missing window guards where necessary; 
    6. exposed wiring; 
    7. access to hazardous substances, materials, or equipment; 
    8. rodent or insect infestation; and 
    9. walls and ceilings with holes or lead.

    Note: This standard will not be applicable when a resource family has not yet been matched with a child. However, the resource family home will have been assessed for any health or safety concerns during the initial resource family assessment and approval process, as addressed in PA-CFS 24.05.


  • PA-CFS 26.08

    Resource families who have not yet been matched with a child receive ongoing information and support from the agency while they wait.


  • PA-CFS 26.09

    The agency conducts exit interviews with resource parents who leave the agency in order to determine why they do not wish to stay.

    Interpretation: While some resource parents may leave the agency because they have adopted a child from the system or are relocating, others may leave because they are dissatisfied with the treatment, or the level of support and services, they have received.

    Note: As noted in PA-CFS 23.06, the agency should annually evaluate retention-related data to determine what strategies and practices work well, and what strategi