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.


Nicole Deprez-Garrity, M.Ed.

Volunteer Roles: Endorser, Lead Endorser

Nicole Deprez-Garrity is a lead After School Endorser based in Germany.
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Family Preservation and Stabilization Services improve family functioning, increase child and family well-being, ensure child safety, reduce the need for CPS intervention and/or the removal of children from the home, and strengthen families with children returning from out-of-home care.

PA-FPS 6: Family-Focused Approach to Service Delivery

Families receive services that are flexible, accessible, and responsive to their particular needs and circumstances.

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 services
    • A description of typical or preferred length of service
    • Procedures and/or criteria for extending services
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Families served
    • Review case records

  • PA-FPS 6.01

    Families and providers establish respectful, family-centered relationships that facilitate collaborative and productive service planning and delivery.

    Interpretation: To facilitate the development of supportive, trust-based relationships that empower families, services should be delivered by a single provider, or by a consistent set of providers who work together as a team.

    Research Note: Literature emphasizes the importance of developing good relationships with families, and one study found that parents were more likely to report improvements in discipline and emotional care of their children when they viewed their relationships with providers as positive. The same study also found that encouraging open communication and making frequent visits were predictors of a positive relationship.

  • PA-FPS 6.02

    Service providers act as consultants and facilitators of change who empower family members and help them to:

    1. identify strengths, competencies, resources, and options;
    2. understand problems in new, more helpful ways; and
    3. devise solutions to specific problems.

  • PA-FPS 6.03

    Services are provided in home and community settings.

  • PA-FPS 6.04

    Services are:

    1. tailored to meet families’ unique needs;
    2. designed to involve all family members, including extended family, children, youth, and adults, to the maximum extent possible and appropriate; and
    3. available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to ensure that families receive help when and where they need it.

  • PA-FPS 6.05

    Service frequency and intensity is based upon the initial and ongoing assessments of family functioning and determined by:

    1. family needs; and
    2. the level of concern for child and/or family safety.

    Interpretation: The frequency and intensity of services should be modified to reflect any observed or measured changes in individual or family functioning, as referenced in PA-FPS 4.06, PA-FPS 506, and PA-FPS 5.07.

  • PA-FPS 6.06

    Services are of limited duration and focused on resolving the pressing issues that precipitated the need for service.

    Interpretation: Services are generally time-limited. However, it can also be appropriate to extend services when families are not ready for them to end. An agency should document and justify in the case record any extension of service beyond the limit it establishes.

    Research Note: Although services reviewed under this section are traditionally of limited duration, some literature questions the extent to which short-term services can be expected to solve the problems of the families typically served, many of whom experience chronic and serious difficulties. Research in the field of child welfare suggests that long-term supports and services should be maintained for at least 12 months in cases of family reunification. This perspective points to the importance of linking families with more long-term supports and services, as referenced in PA-FPS 7 and PA-FPS 10.

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