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.


Orange County Government, Youth & Family Services Division

Rodney J. Hrobar Sr., LMHC, CPP, Quality Assurance Manager

As the lead agency in Orange County, providing the safety net for children and families, it is reassuring that our clients can be confident that their needs will be addressed in accordance with the most stringent standards of public, as well as private, accountability as monitored and reviewed by the Council on Accreditation. 
read more>>


Experiential Education provides safe, activity-based opportunities for learning and reflection that support the achievement of identified program outcomes.

PA-EES 3: Safety and Risk Management

The agency ensures safe practice through advanced planning, safety procedures, and personnel and participant training.

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
    • Safety procedures that address standards in this section
    • Three trip or activity plans
    • Procedures for maintaining medication and emergency and first aid supplies
    • Procedures for vehicle use
    • Contracts for any outside transportation providers
    • The table of contents for safety training curricula
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel

  • FP
    PA-EES 3.01

    Safety procedures include:

    1. use of a written safety manual or safety plan for each type of activity offered;
    2. completion of a safety or risk-management plan before each activity that contains safety preparations and other emergency planning information;
    3. providing activity leaders with funds or other means for obtaining emergency resources during trips or programs held outside the organization’s immediate vicinity;
    4. filing reports for accidents or incidents in which personnel or participants were injured or at risk;
    5. a mechanism for making participants’ relevant health and medical information available to staff conducting activities including procedures for bringing such information into the field when applicable; and
    6. notifying the program director or designee if emergency procedures are invoked or an unanticipated problem or incident occurs.

    Interpretation: Element c will not apply when activities are conducted at the program site.

  • FP
    PA-EES 3.02

    When conducting trips or outdoor activities in remote areas, the organization:

    1. develops written evacuation and search and rescue procedures;
    2. trains staff on protocols for conducting medical evacuation; and
    3. provides appropriate equipment for emergency communication links from field personnel to outside medical and other resources.

    NA The agency does not conduct trips or activities in remote areas.

  • FP
    PA-EES 3.03

    When conducting offsite activities, the trip or activity plan specifies:

    1. an itinerary maintained at the headquarters;
    2. weather conditions under which evacuation may be warranted;
    3. detailed information regarding contact with the program director, or a designee, and rangers when appropriate;
    4. means of contacting rescue resources, medical facilities, and law enforcement; and
    5. any public or private entity notified of the itinerary.

  • FP
    PA-EES 3.04

    Safety training related to missing persons addresses:

    1. search and rescue procedures;
    2. public safety agency involvement, when necessary; and
    3. notification of all relevant personnel.

  • FP
    PA-EES 3.05

    The agency trains all participants in planned trips or activities about the prevention of relevant risks that may include:

    1. sunstroke, sunburn, hyperthermia, dehydration, frostbite, and snow blindness as appropriate to the type of activity and weather conditions;
    2. dangerous plants, animals, situations, and other hazards that may be associated with particular activities or locations; and
    3. allergic and anaphylactic reactions.

    Interpretation: Participants only need to be trained on the prevention of risks associated with the type of trip or activities being conducted. For example, training on frostbite, snow blindness, or sunburn would not be needed for experiential activities conducted indoors.

  • FP
    PA-EES 3.06

    First aid, emergency response kits and supplies, and medications needed by participants are available and under the control of the activity leader or other responsible personnel at all times.

  • FP
    PA-EES 3.07

    An agency that provides transportation in agency-owned vehicles, or in vehicles owned by personnel or contractors, requires:

    1. access to emergency roadside repair tools, spare tires and parts, and other equipment required by law;
    2. pre-trip vehicle checks; and
    3. advance planning for appropriate breaks and rest stops, with a full day of rest scheduled following four consecutive days of vehicular travel.

    NA The agency does not provide transportation directly or by contract.

Copyright © 2019 Council on Accreditation. All Rights Reserved.  Privacy Policy and Terms of Use