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.


Mike Angstadt

Volunteer Roles: Commissioner; Hague Evaluator; Lead Evaluator; Peer Reviewer; Team Leader

Serving as a Team Leader for COA has been an enriching experience in many ways. Utilizing the Contextual Accreditation process to discern the means in which agencies, offering a variety of services, located throughout the US, Canada ,the Philippines and other countries provide best and most promising practices to their consumers has been particularly rewarding. read more>>


The agency’s human resources practices attract and retain a competent and qualified workforce that is capable of supporting the agency’s mission and strategic goals. 

PA-HR 5: Human Resource Practices

Human resource practices are equitable, consistently applied, and in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. 

Table of Evidence

Self-Study Evidence On-Site Evidence On-Site Activities
    County/Municipality Administered Agency, State Administered Agency (Central Office), or other Public Entity
    • Procedures for conducting an annual audit of human resource practices (PA-HR 5.01, PA-HR 5.04)
    • Reports from the most recent HR audit, including documentation of corrective action, as needed (PA-HR 5.01, PA-HR 5.04)
    • Table of Contents for Personnel Manual (PA-HR 5.02)
    • Most recent biennial review of compensation and benefits, including plans for corrective actions, as needed (PA-HR 5.03)
    State Administered Agency (Regional Office)
    • No Self-Study Evidence
    All Agencies
    • Personnel Manual (PA-HR 5.02)
    • Personnel records (PA-HR 5.02)
    • State/civil service title compensation scale and rules (PA-HR 5.03)
    County/Municipality Administered Agency, State Administered Agency (Central Office), or other Public Entity
    • Interview:
      1. Agency head
      2. HR director
      3. Supervisory personnel
      4. Personnel at all levels
    State Administered Agency (Regional Office)
    • Interview:
      1. Regional Director
      2. Agency leadership
      3. Regional HR personnel
      4. Supervisory personnel
      5. Personnel at all levels

  • FP
    PA-HR 5.01

    The agency conducts an annual audit of its human resource practices to verify compliance with applicable: 

    1. employment and labor laws at the local, state, and federal level;
    2. civil service rules and regulations; and
    3. union contracts. 

    Interpretation: Agencies must be prepared to justify how the audit process ensures compliance with applicable employment and labor laws, civil service rules and regulations, and union contracts. Applicable employment and labor laws include, but are not limited to: those governing fair employment practices, use of contingent workers, compensation and benefits, maintenance of personnel records, retention of hiring records, background checks, and collective bargaining.  

    NA State-administered agency regional office

  • PA-HR 5.02

    All personnel receive, and confirm in writing, receipt of an up-to-date employee policies and procedures manual that articulates current:

    1. conditions of employment;
    2. benefits;
    3. rights and responsibilities of employees; and
    4. other important employment-related information.

    Interpretation: Policies and procedures can be written or electronic, and address:

    1. conditions and procedures for layoffs;
    2. safety procedures and protocols (PA-ASE 6);
    3. emergency response procedures (PA-ASE 7);
    4. non-discrimination/EEO and anti-harassment policies and reporting procedures (PA-HR 1);
    5. conflict of interest policies including nepotism policy (PA-ETH 2, PA-HR 1);
    6. personnel grievance procedures (PA-HR 4);
    7. insurance protections including unemployment, disability, medical care, and malpractice liability;
    8. policies and procedures governing access to free legal counsel;
    9. performance review procedures (PA-HR 6);
    10. whistle-blower protections (PA-ETH 4);
    11. promotions;
    12. professional development;
    13. standards of conduct;
    14. time-off policies;
    15. wage policy; 
    16. working conditions; and
    17. policies and guidelines on the use of social media, electronic communications, and mobile devices (PA-RPM 6).

  • PA-HR 5.03

    Compensation and benefits are reviewed biennially in relation to industry practices.

    Interpretation: When comparing total compensation and benefits to industry practices, the agency should focus its comparison on public agencies providing a comparable service array in states of a similar size and demographic makeup.

    NA State-administered regional office. 

  • PA-HR 5.04

    The agency annually reviews its use of independent contractors, leased workers, volunteers, and temporary employees, with respect to tax law, wage and hour laws, and other applicable employment and labor laws. 

    Interpretation: See PA-HR 5.01 for more information on ensuring compliance with applicable laws.

    NA The agency does not use contingent workers, including independent contractors, leased workers, volunteers, and temporary employees.

    NA State-administered agency regional office. 

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