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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ORGANIZATION TESTIMONIAL

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. 
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Purpose

Children in Family Foster Care and Kinship Care live in safe, stable, nurturing, and typically temporary family settings that best provide the continuity of care to preserve relationships, promote well-being, and ensure permanency.

PA-FKC 7: Developing and Maintaining Connections

The agency promotes the development of social and emotional well-being and positive support systems for all children by facilitating connections with family, peers, and community.

Interpretation: If the agency does not facilitate or supervise in-person contact it should maintain documentation of all in-person contact between children and families, children’s response to contact with family, and all efforts to support other forms of contact between children and their families and networks of support.

Interpretation: When the agency is working with Indian children, tribes or local Indian organizations are included in planning for family and community contact to ensure children’s connections to extended family and the tribal community.

Table of Evidence

Self-Study Evidence On-Site Evidence On-Site Activities
    • Guidelines for ensuring ongoing, meaningful contact
    • Procedures for visitation planning and implementation
    • Visitation plan template or sample
    • A description of services that support family, peer, and community connections
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Foster parents
      4. Parents
      5. Children and youth
    • Review case records

  • FP
    PA-FKC 7.01

    Planned, ongoing contact occurs as frequently as possible between children, parents, and siblings, unless contraindicated, but at a minimum in-person contact occurs:
    1. weekly between children and parents, and
    2. monthly between siblings.

    Interpretation: Implementation of the standard will be assessed by determining the agency’s compliance with the required frequency and length of in-person contacts as outlined in court or administratively-determined visitation plans. The frequency and length of in-person contacts should be occurring according to children’s age and developmental needs, and in line with permanency goals and reunification planning; however, other factors such as children’s and parents’ schedules and distance may factor into visitation arrangements. Infants and toddlers, in particular, need in-person contact as frequently as possible in order to develop and maintain strong attachments with their parental figures.  

    Children and parents are entitled to in-person contact unless parental rights are terminated and in some cases after termination, and incarcerated or detained parents are entitled to in-person contact unless restricted.

    The standard requires engagement of parents whenever possible. In addition to in-person contact, agencies can support resource families to help children maintain contact in other creative ways. Web-based technologies and other electronic communications are increasingly used to facilitate family connections.

    Research Note: Positive, frequent in-person contact between children and families enhances the well-being and positive development of the child; reduces the trauma of separation and placement; promotes placement stability; increases the likelihood of reunification; and facilitates the timely achievement of permanency goals. Research indicates that youth in out-of-home care often maintain relationships with their families and return to them upon exit from care. Supportive relationships should be fostered when possible and youth should receive assistance to cope with or avoid unhealthy relationships.


  • PA-FKC 7.02

    Children are assisted to develop social support networks by building and sustaining relationships with caring individuals of their choosing, including: 
    1. extended family; 
    2. peers;
    3. individuals with whom they had a prior relationship; and 
    4. members of their community, ethnic group, faith group, clan, or tribe.

    Interpretation: Children have the right to determine who they maintain relationships with. The agency should work with children to identify individuals with whom they have supportive relationships. 
     
    In situations with known or suspected concerns about human trafficking, agencies should be aware that traffickers may pose as a boyfriend, older relative, or communicate through another individual and utilize in-person contact to continue the exploitation of the victim.


  • PA-FKC 7.03

    Written visitation plans are: 
    1. developed in collaboration with parents, resource parents, and children;
    2. informed by assessment information; 
    3. focused on relationship-building; and 
    4. determined by children’s developmental needs and permanency goals.

    Interpretation: When the agency is working with Indian children and families, representatives from their tribes or local Indian agencies should be included in the development of the visitation plan. 
     
    Interpretation: For agencies that operate an Unaccompanied Refugee Minor Foster Care Program visitations plans may exist for contact with siblings and are typically developed by the Office of Refugee Resettlement and applicable judicial bodies.

    Note: Visitation plans are typically part of the permanency plan and/or the service plan and are modified in accordance with planning for reunification or an alternate permanency goal.


  • PA-FKC 7.04

    Written visitation plans include:  
    1. start dates, frequency, time, length, and location of in-person contacts; 
    2. participants; 
    3. transportation arrangements;  
    4. supervision or monitoring requirements, if any; 
    5. developmentally-appropriate  and interactive activities; and
    6. cancellation arrangements.

    Interpretation: Workers can help families determine how to involve appropriate extended family and friends to support regular contact and maintain families’ support system. These supports can serve as supervisors, provide transport, offer their home for parents and children to spend time together, involve children in cultural or community events, or provide respite for resource parents.

    Research Note: The more detailed and collaboratively determined a visitation plan is, the more likely that in-person contact will be positive and occur consistently. A fixed schedule is considered best practice and has been linked to helping children and families spend time together more frequently. 

    Research has found that in-person contact tends to be more consistent and positive when it occurs in a comfortable home location, such as parents’ own homes, resource parents’ home, or another home setting, compared to when in-person contact is at the agency or another location.


  • PA-FKC 7.05

    Workers or designees promote meaningful and constructive contact by:
    1. providing support to help children, parents and resource families prepare for and transition to and from in-person contact;
    2. following-up after in-person contact with all parties to assess for concerns that may indicate the need to modify the visitation plan or services; and
    3. documenting the activities that occurred and behaviorally-specific observations that pertain to family relationships and parenting.

    Research Note: Resource parents consistently state that helping children transition after in-person contact with their families is one of the most challenging aspects of the process. Resource parents and/or workers can help children develop transition plans that provide a structure for how they can healthfully shift gears after spending time with their parents and to help validate confusing feelings.


  • FP
    PA-FKC 7.06

    Agency policy prohibits cancellation of in-person contact as a disciplinary action.

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