WHO IS ACCREDITED?

Private Organization Accreditation

Debt Education and Certification Foundation (DECAF), a private non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, provides high-quality financial education and counseling, with nationwide outreach throughout the U.S. DECAF is HUD-approved, and recognized as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work for in Texas.
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ORGANIZATION TESTIMONIAL

Joint Base Charleston School Age Program

Paula B. Matthews, School Age Program Coordinator

Preparing for our after school accreditation was an awesome and very valuable learning experience for the Child and Youth Professionals at Charleston Air Force Base. Becoming familiar with and understanding the After School standards was a breeze because of the training webinars and the great customer service we received from all of the COA staff. Thank you for supporting our military families.
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Purpose

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

PA-CFS 28: Arranging Adoptions and Guardianships

The agency identifies adoptive families or guardians who can meet children’s needs, and arranges for children to join families in a timely manner.

Interpretation: When children are already living with prospective adoptive families or guardians, some aspects of this process may overlap with the initial placement process addressed in PA-CFS 13. Aspects of this process will also overlap with PA-CFS 14: “Child Permanency,” and PA-CFS 23: “Resource Family Recruitment.”
 

Table of Evidence

Self-Study Evidence On-Site Evidence On-Site Activities
    • Procedures for:
      1. Matching and joining children and resource families
      2. Involving birth parents, when applicable
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Agency leadership
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Children and families served
      4. Resource parents
    • Review case records 
    • Review resource parent records 

  • PA-CFS 28.01

    A comprehensive process that examines children’s needs and interests, and prospective adoptive parents’ or guardians’ interpersonal and parenting skills, identifies families that:

    1. are most suitable to meet children’s needs; 
    2. can advance children’s best interests; and
    3. are willing and able to make a long-term commitment to children.

    Interpretation: As noted in PA-CFS 13.01, the agency should consider all information available to identify the best living environment for each child. When the prospective adoptive parent or guardian is known to the child, the evaluation process should include consideration of the child’s relationship with the prospective adoptive parent or guardian; the child’s relationship with other individuals already living in the home; and the prospective adoptive parent’s or guardian’s commitment to the child. Children are encouraged to participate in the decision-making process to the greatest extent possible given their age and developmental level.
     
    Interpretation: When children are already living with prospective adoptive families or guardians, implementation of this standard will overlap with PA-CFS 13.01 and 13.02.


  • PA-CFS 28.02

    Children’s and prospective adoptive parents’ or guardians’ religious, cultural, racial, linguistic, and ethnic identities are considered when identifying families that will develop life-long relationships with children, provided such consideration:

    1. does not delay the adoption or guardianship;
    2. is in children’s best interest; and
    3. is consistent with applicable legal requirements.

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

    Interpretation: When children are already living with prospective adoptive families or guardians, implementation of this standard may overlap with PA-CFS 13.01 and 13.02.


  • PA-CFS 28.03

    American Indian and Alaska Native children are placed according to the preferences specified in the Indian Child Welfare Act.

    Update:

    • Revised Interpretation - 10/31/17

    Interpretation: When children are already living with prospective adoptive families or guardians, implementation of this standard will overlap with PA-CFS 13.03.
     
    Interpretation: When working with American Indian and Alaska Native children and families the agency should collaborate 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 options. Tribal representatives and service providers must be involved in the process to ensure compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act, which 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;
    3. other American Indian or Alaska Native families.
    Alternative placement preferences established in tribal resolution may apply, and the court may also take into consideration the placement preferences of the child or his/her birth parents. 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 should be made available upon request of the United States Secretary of Interior or the American Indian or Alaska Native child’s tribe.

    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 American Indian and Alaska Native 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. As such American Indian and Alaska Native children should be placed according to the placement preferences specified in ICWA.


  • PA-CFS 28.04

    The agency takes into account, whenever feasible and appropriate, birth parents’ expressed desires regarding children’s future living environments, and when this consideration can delay adoption or guardianship, 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.

    Interpretation: In cases where birth parents may be unable to participate in the process, such as incarceration or illness, the agency should work with them to write down their expressed desires for consideration by the court. Child welfare mediation with a neutral third-party can be used to resolve conflict among involved parties and expedite permanency.


  • PA-CFS 28.05

    Prospective adoptive parents and guardians are provided with sufficient information and time to make an informed decision about the adoption or guardianship.

    Interpretation: The agency should ensure full disclosure of all available information about children and birth parents, including information about any issues or conditions that may impact children’s functioning (e.g., if a child had a fetal alcohol diagnosis, or if a child had been sexually abused). When arranging an adoption only non-identifying information should be disclosed except in accordance with individual preferences and applicable regulation, as addressed in PA-CFS 30.04, and information should also be provided about the general circumstances leading to the adoption. Prospective adoptive parents and guardians 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, it should carefully consider what information must be shared before the prospective adoptive parents or guardians make a decision about the placement. 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 personnel on procedures for collecting and disclosing information.
     
    Interpretation: If they are already living with the children, prospective adoptive parents or guardians will presumably already have extensive information about the children. However, the agency should still make sure that prospective adoptive parents or guardians understand all relevant aspects of the children’s background and are provided with sufficient time to make a decision about the adoption or guardianship.

    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-CFS 28.06

    Children join families as soon as the children, their birth families, and the adoptive parents or guardians are prepared.

    Note: See PA-CFS 27 regarding expectations around preparation for adoption or guardianship, and PA-CFS 29 regarding the supportive services that should be provided to increase the stability and success of the adoption or guardianship.


  • PA-CFS 28.07

    Prospective adoptive parents are provided with assurance that children are legally available for adoption, and when a child is placed for adoption prior to termination of parental rights, the agency:

    1. ensures that the prospective adoptive parents understand their responsibility to support the child’s case plan;
    2. informs the prospective adoptive parents of the substantial risks involved and limitations on confidentiality;
    3. ensures that the prospective adoptive parents are committed to adopting the child; and
    4. makes diligent efforts to remove any barriers to the adoption if parental rights are terminated.

    Update:

    • Added Note - 10/31/17
      A note was added to ensure that prospective adoptive parents are informed of the Indian Child Welfare Act. 

    Interpretation: This standard does not apply in the case of tribal customary adoption as adjudicated or approved within tribal court for American Indian and Alaska Native children, when parental rights will not be terminated.

    Note: When the placement involves an American Indian or Alaska Native child, prospective adoptive parents are informed about the Indian Child Welfare Act and its implications for the adoption of the child. 

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