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.


Anita Paukovits

Volunteer Roles: Peer Reviewer

Being a COA peer reviewer has clearly played a role in my professional development and has made me a better administrator at my own agency as a result!  To be part of a professional network that is on the cutting edge of program, practice, fiscal responsibility, and insuring Best Practice across the field is an amazing opportunity.
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Group Living Services allow individuals who need additional support to regain, maintain, and improve life skills and functioning in a safe, stable, community-based living arrangement.

PA-GLS 7: Community and Social Connections

Residents cultivate and sustain connections with their community and social support network to promote positive well-being.

Note: Programs serving residents with developmental disabilities should refer to CR 4: The Rights of Persons with Developmental Disabilities.

NA The agency serves residents with developmental disabilities.

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
    • Procedures for facilitating social and community connections
    • Policy that prohibits exploitation of individuals in employment-related training or gainful employment
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Direct service personnel
      2. Residents
    • Review case records
    • Observe a variety of activities

  • PA-GLS 7.01

    The agency facilitates residents’ ability to access all available services and successfully reintegrate into their community by:
    1. remaining knowledgeable about local, regional, and state resources, including networking and leadership opportunities;
    2. educating the community about the assets and needs of individuals receiving support to attain self-sufficiency; and
    3. identifying and developing opportunities for residents to develop positive ties to the community based on mutual interests and abilities.

  • PA-GLS 7.02

    Social and community connections are encouraged by providing residents opportunities to participate in:
    1. social, recreational, educational, or vocational activities in their community;
    2. religious observances in the faith group or spirituality of choice; and
    3. family and neighborhood activities consistent with his or her ethnic and cultural heritage and tribal affiliation.

  • PA-GLS 7.03

    Residents are helped to develop social support networks and build healthy, meaningful relationships with caring individuals of their choosing.

    Interpretation: “Caring individuals” may include mentors, community members, friends, classmates, peers, siblings, cousins, grandparents, former foster parents, and extended family members.

  • PA-GLS 7.04

    Residents have opportunities to participate in group activities where they can meet, support, and share experiences with peers.

    Interpretation: Opportunities to participate in culturally and developmentally appropriate social, cultural, recreational, and religious or spiritual activities should be designed to expand the range of life experiences. 

  • PA-GLS 7.05

    The agency encourages social and community integration through the development of life skills necessary to:
    1. navigate the surrounding environment;
    2. obtain housing;
    3. pursue educational and occupational opportunities;
    4. manage finances;
    5. access community resources such as banks, employment agencies, government offices, and recreational and educational agencies;
    6. access public assistance;
    7. communicate effectively and resolve conflicts; 
    8. participate in recreational activities and/or hobbies; and
    9. prepare for discharge and family reintegration, independent living, or another less restrictive setting, if applicable.

    Note: This standard is applicable for all residents regardless of age. Agencies should tailor life skills training to meet the age and developmental level of the service population.

  • FP
    PA-GLS 7.06

    The agency evaluates residents for their ability to participate in athletic activities and obtains as necessary:
    1. a written, signed permission slip from the resident’s legal guardian;
    2. a medical records release; 
    3. a signed document from a qualified medical professional stating that the resident is physically capable of participating; or
    4. an adult waiver and release of liability.

    NA The agency does not offer athletic activities to residents

  • PA-GLS 7.07

    Policy prohibits exploitation of residents in employment-related training or gainful employment.

    Interpretation: The agency should make reasonable efforts to match training and employment opportunities to the goals and interests of individual residents.

    NA The agency does not provide employment-related training or jobs to residents.

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