Private Organization Accreditation

Northside Psychological Services is a combination of both private practice and community mental health provider. We provide services to children and adults (EAP, private insurance, private pay, etc.) in our private practice setting. In our Community Care Program, we provide services to children and adolescents in their homes.


Family Services of the North Shore

Kathleen Whyte, Manager of Human Resources / Accreditation Coordinator

Family Services of the North Shore is about to enter our third accreditation cycle with COA. Accreditation has provided us with a framework that enables us to demonstrate accountability to our clients, our funders and our donors. There is no question that the accreditation process and COA have benefited our agency.
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Child and Family Services promote child and family well-being, protect children’s safety, stablilize and strengthen families, and ensure permanency.

PA-CFS 31: Respite Care for Children in Out-of-Home Care

Respite care reduces caregiver stress, ensures child safety and well-being, and promotes the stability of placements.

Interpretation: This core concept addresses respite care provided in resource family homes licensed by the agency, as well as when the agency is working with licensed, contracted respite care providers for the children in care. Please note that resource families should have access to respite care even when it is not provided in the agency’s resource family homes, as referenced in PA-CFS 26.04. The provision of respite care for birth families receiving in-home services, and adoptive parents or guardians in need of post-finalization support, is addressed generally in PA-CFS 10.01 and 29.05, respectively. 

Note: If care is going to continue for an indefinite period of time, the notice and placement preferences in the Indian Child Welfare Act may apply.

NA The agency does not provide respite care in resource family homes licensed by the agency or another provider.

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
    • A description of respite services, including number of children permitted in respite care homes
    • Procedures for:
      1. Reviewing respite options with resource families
      2. Matching children with respite caregivers, including criteria for matching
      3. Providing respite services in response to a crisis
      4. Ensuring health and safety
      5. Working with contracted respite care providers
    • Informational materials regarding the respite care program
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Agency leadership
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Respite caregivers
      4. Resource parents
    • Review case records
    • Review resource parent records

  • PA-CFS 31.01

    Respite care options are reviewed with resource parents prior to a child joining the family, and on a regular basis.

  • FP
    PA-CFS 31.02

    Children are matched with respite caregivers who can meet their needs, and: 

    1. are familiar with their daily routines, preferred foods and activities, and needed therapeutic or medical care; and 
    2. respect their culture, race, ethnicity, language, religion, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

    Interpretation: Children who require therapeutic or medical treatment should be matched with a caregiver that has appropriate skills and qualifications.

  • PA-CFS 31.03

    Respite caregivers offer enriching activities appropriate to the interests, age, development, physical abilities, interpersonal characteristics, culture, and special needs of children.

    Interpretation: When children are involved in regular therapeutic, educational, or employment activities, respite caregivers should work with resource parents to plan for continued participation.

  • FP
    PA-CFS 31.04

    When respite care is provided in response to a crisis, the agency provides needed developmentally, culturally, and age appropriate interventions to help children cope with trauma or stress associated with the crisis.

    NA The agency does not provide respite care in crisis situations.

  • FP
    PA-CFS 31.05

    Respite caregiver homes have no more than five total children, including no more than two children in treatment foster care.

    Interpretation: The total number of children includes all children under the age of 18 in the home, including both children residing in the home and children in respite care. There should be no more than two children total under the age of two, and no more than four children total over the age of 13. Exceptions to the total number of children approved to reside with the family are usually considered only to accommodate sibling groups, kinship care placements, or if the home is specially licensed by the state or tribe to care for more children. When overnight care is provided, accommodations must include sleeping arrangements appropriate to the number, age, special needs, and gender of the individuals in the home.

  • FP
    PA-CFS 31.06

    When children in respite care experience accidents, health problems, or changes in appearance or behavior, information is promptly recorded and reported to the resource parents and administration, and follow-up occurs, as needed.

  • FP
    PA-CFS 31.07

    Respite caregivers return children only to the resource parents, or another person approved by the resource parents, and follow guidelines for situations that pose a safety risk or when a child requires protection.

    Interpretation: Protocols should provide direction on how to use appropriate organizational or community resources to respond to individuals who are intoxicated by drugs or alcohol, who are mentally or physically unstable, or who present a safety concern.

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