WHO IS ACCREDITED?

Private Organization Accreditation

Heartland for Children is the not-for-profit agency responsible for the foster care system in Polk, Highlands, and Hardee Counties.
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ORGANIZATION TESTIMONIAL

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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Purpose

Guardianship Services for Minors support the establishment of a court-appointed, long-term, living arrangement with a committed caregiver that ensures safety and increases stability and child well-being.

PA-GSM 10: Personnel

Personnel are qualified and receive support to facilitate the development of a permanent caring relationship between the child and his or her guardian.

Note:When the agency is unable to fully implement one or more of the practice standards, intensive efforts should be made to fully implement the other standards. For example, if the agency is unable to recruit workers with specific qualifications, it can ensure that appropriate supervision and workload standards are implemented.

Rating Indicators
1
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. 
2
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.  
3
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.
4
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
    • Program staffing chart that includes lines of supervision
    • List of program personnel that includes:
      1. name;
      2. title;
      3. degree held and/or other credentials;
      4. FTE or volunteer;
      5. length of service at the agency;
      6. time in current position
    • Chart that specifies caseload size, per worker, for the past six months
    • Procedures or criteria used for assigning and evaluating workload
    • Job descriptions
    • Documentation of training
    • Training curricula
    • Data describing staff turnover
    • Interview:
      1. Supervisors
      2. Personnel
    • Review personnel files

  • PA-GSM 10.01

    Guardianship workers are qualified by:

    1. an advanced degree in social work or a comparable human service field; or
    2. a bachelor’s degree in social work or a comparable human service field with two years of related experience.

  • PA-GSM 10.02

    Supervisors are qualified by an advanced degree in social work or a comparable human service field and two years of experience working with children and families, preferably in adoption or guardianship.


  • PA-GSM 10.03

    Guardianship workers must be knowledgeable of child welfare practices in their state and have the competencies to:

    1. counsel families on all available permanency options;
    2. work effectively with kinship families, including Indian families;
    3. conduct assessments and identify children with special needs;
    4. collaborate with several systems including the mental health, judicial, health, and educational systems;
    5. provide effective case management;
    6. guide families through the guardianship process;
    7. help families obtain available benefits, including guardianship subsidies, as appropriate;
    8. address interstate issues; and
    9. provide families with the information they need to find necessary support services and the skills they need to obtain them.

    Interpretation: Competency can be demonstrated through a combination of education, training, and experience.

    Research Note:The increased attention to guardianship is a direct result of the increasing number of children being placed in the homes of relatives, and the unique dynamics of kinship families.


  • PA-GSM 10.04

    Guardianship workers and supervisors, depending on job responsibilities, are knowledgeable about relevant provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), including:

    1. the importance of ICWA and special considerations for working with Indian children;
    2. the identification of Indian children;
    3. determining jurisdiction;
    4. appropriate notice and collaboration with the child’s tribe;
    5. placement preferences that support the child’s connection to their native culture and heritage; and
    6. court procedures.

  • PA-GSM 10.05

    Guardianship workers maintain a manageable workload, and cases are assigned according to a system that takes into consideration:

    1. the qualifications and competencies of the worker and the supervisor;
    2. the complexity and status of the case;
    3. services provided by other professionals or team members; and
    4. other responsibilities throughout the agency.

    Interpretation: Case complexity can take into account intensity of child and family needs and size of the family. Generally, caseloads do not exceed 12-25 families.

    Research Note: Staff retention literature indicates that high caseloads and time-consuming paperwork are primary factors in child welfare workforce turnover.

    One example of a caseload weighting formula suggests that a useful system is developed with input from staff, time and case study data, uses readily available information, and is not too complex.


  • PA-GSM 10.06

    Supervisors or experienced workers provide additional support when personnel are new or are still developing competencies.

    Interpretation: Case complexity can take into account intensity of child and family needs and size of the family. Generally, caseloads do not exceed 12-25 families.

    Research Note: Staff retention literature indicates that high caseloads and time-consuming paperwork are primary factors in child welfare workforce turnover.

    One example of a caseload weighting formula suggests that a useful system is developed with input from staff, time and case study data, uses readily available information, and is not too complex.

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