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.


ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions

Tim Spearin, Vice President, Quality Assurance

ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions has been accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) since 1996.  Reaccreditation attests that a member organization continues to meet the highest national operating standards as set by the COA.  It also provides assurance that ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions is performing services which the community needs, conducting its operations and funds successfully.
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Residential Treatment Services provide individualized therapeutic interventions and a range of services, including education for residents to increase productive and pro-social behavior, improve functioning and well-being, and return to a stable living arrangement in the community.


Residential Treatment Services provide a time-limited, interdisciplinary, psycho-educational, and therapeutic 24-hour-a-day structured program. Specialized services and interventions are delivered in a respectful, non-coercive, coordinated manner by an interdisciplinary team. Community linkages are established to ensure that all of residents’ individual needs are met. The level of restrictiveness for residential treatment programs is greater than other group care settings given the treatment needs of residents. Residential treatment services provide highly individualized care to individuals – following either a community-based placement or more intensive intervention – with the aim of moving individuals toward a stable, less intensive level of care or independence. 
Short-Term Diagnostic Centers provide comprehensive assessments, observation, and monitoring in a highly structured setting and make recommendations for additional services that will address identified needs. 

Crisis Stabilization Units provide assessment and stabilization services for individuals in acute psychiatric crisis. Residents are offered services in a safe, structured environment under trained professional care in order to return to their previous level of functioning.

Interpretation: Service recipients of residential treatment services may include, but are not limited to:
  • children, adolescents or adults with behavioral health disorders severe enough to prevent them from functioning well in their community, but not so severe as to warrant hospitalization or incarceration;
  • adolescents or adults involved with the justice system;
  • individuals who are pregnant or parenting;
  • children or adolescents who have been victims of human trafficking;
  • individuals needing highly structured, intensive treatment for substance use conditions;
  • individuals needing specialized and intensive settings for the purposes of clinical assessment; and
  • individuals needing psychiatric stabilization.

Research Note: The importance of providing trauma-informed care is reinforced by a growing body of research on the impact of adverse childhood experiences.
A national network of providers, researchers, peer advocates, and families working collaboratively to raise the standard of care has defined a trauma-informed agency as one in which all programs:
  • routinely screen for trauma exposure and related symptoms;
  • use culturally and linguistically appropriate evidence-based assessment and treatment for traumatic stress and associated mental health symptoms;
  • make resources available to children, families, and providers on trauma exposure, its impact, and treatment;
  • engage in efforts to strengthen the resilience and protective factors of children and families impacted by and vulnerable to trauma;
  • address parent and caregiver trauma and its impact on the family system;
  • emphasize continuity of care and collaboration across child-serving systems; and
  • maintain an environment of care and provides access to needed services for staff that addresses, minimizes, and treats secondary traumatic stress, and that increases staff resilience.
Research Note: Agencies that create environments where there is little to no coercion help reduce the use of restrictive behavior management interventions, such as restraint and seclusion, and reinforce trauma-informed care practices. Establishing non-coercive environments actively promotes interpersonal and cognitive skill development, as well as other positive outcomes for residents. 
Research Note: Within the residential care field, there is a growing national movement for strategically creating closely coordinated partnerships between families, youth, communities, and residential and community-based service providers in order to ensure that services and supports are family-driven, youth-guided, strength-based, culturally and linguistically competent, individualized, and consistent with the research on sustained positive outcomes.
Research Note: The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) defines “severe forms of human trafficking” as: 
The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for 
  • sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or
  • labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. 
Coercion includes threats of physical or psychological harm to children and/or their families. Any child (under the age of 18) engaged in commercial sex (including prostitution, pornography, stripping) is a victim of trafficking.  
Research Note: Victims of human trafficking are in need of a comprehensive array of services, including residential treatment services.  Increasingly, first responders, including law enforcement and social service providers, are being trained to seek support services for human trafficking victims rather than prosecuting them for criminal activities they may have engaged in while being trafficked, such as prostitution, theft, undocumented status, and wage/hour violations.  Recognizing that these individuals are victims rather than criminals is a paradigm shift still under way in our society. This paradigm shift is critical as trafficking victims are eligible for services and protections under federal and some state laws that may not be provided to them otherwise.

Note: The Residential Treatment Services standards are designed to accommodate a variety of residential treatment programs that serve a wide range of populations. 
Agencies that only operate a Crisis Stabilization Unit will complete PA-RTX 1, PA-RTX 2, PA-RTX 3, PA-RTX 4, PA-RTX 5, PA-RTX 7, PA-RTX 8, PA-RTX 9, PA-RTX 11, PA-RTX 12, PA-RTX 14, PA-RTX 16, PA-RTX 17, PA-RTX 18, PA-RTX 20, PA-RTX 21, PA-RTX 22 and have the option to take NAs on practice standards where noted. Agencies will also complete PA-RTX 13 and PA-RTX 15 if applicable. 
Agencies that only operate a Short-Term Diagnostic Center will complete PA-RTX 1, PA-RTX 2, PA-RTX 3, PA-RTX 4, PA-RTX 5, PA-RTX 7, PA-RTX 8, PA-RTX 9, PA-RTX 10, PA-RTX 11, PA-RTX 16, PA-RTX 17, PA-RTX 18, PA-RTX 20, PA-RTX 21, PA-RTX 22 and have the option to take NAs on practice standards where noted. Agencies will also complete PA-RTX 12, PA-RTX 13, and PA-RTX 15 if applicable. 

Note: Residential Treatment Services (PA-RTX) are distinct from Group Living Services (PA-GLS), which provide community-based care and are less restrictive. When residents are ready to leave residential treatment, they may be stepped down to a group living program or a less restrictive setting.
Residential treatment programs with substance use as a primary focus will also complete Services for Mental Health and/or Substance Use Disorders (PA-MHSU). 

Agencies that provide adventure-based programming will also complete the Experiential Education Supplement (PA-EES). 

Recognizing that transition planning is an essential component of all residential treatment programs, agencies that have a separate program or department that offers targeted services to youth transitioning to independent living will complete Youth Independent Living (PA-YIL).

Note: Though the language in this section often refers to the individual or resident seeking care, these standards are also supportive of families and parents with children who are in care.

Note: The resident defines “family” based on who fulfills the role of a family member or family-like connection, including current or former foster family members, adoptive family members, legal guardians, extended family members, significant others, siblings or peers. As such, the term “family” as it is referred to throughout this section of standards will vary depending on each resident’s definition.
Note: Though the term trafficking is used throughout this section, there are additional terms that may be utilized, including sex trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), domestic minor sex trafficking, and minor prostitution. The term victim is commonly used when referring to individuals who have been trafficked to emphasize that they have been coerced and exploited, though the term survivor may also be used.

Note: The Residential Treatment Services (PA-RTX) standards were revised in June 2014 to reflect current best practice. For more information, please see the RTX Standards Updates Summary - Private, Public, Canadian.

Note: Please see the PA-RTX Reference List and Human Trafficking Reference List - Private for a list of resources that informed the development of these standards.

Residential Treatment Services Narrative

Self-Study Evidence
    • Provide an overview of the different programs being accredited under this section. The overview should describe:
      1. the program's approach to delivering services;
      2. eligibility criteria;
      3. any unique or special services provided to specific populations; and
      4. major funding streams.
    • If elements of the service (e.g., assessments) are provided by contract with outside programs or through participation in a formal, coordinated service delivery system, provide a list that identifies the providers and the service components for which they are responsible. Do not include services provided by referral.
    • Provide any other information you would like the peer review team to know about these programs.
    • A demographic profile of persons and families served by the programs being reviewed under this service section with percentages representing the following:
      1. racial and ethnic characteristics;
      2. gender/gender identity;
      3. age;
      4. major religious groups; and
      5. major language groups.
    • As applicable, a list of groups or classes including, for each group or class:
      1. the type of activity/group;
      2. whether the activity/group is short-term or ongoing;
      3. how often the activity/group is offered;
      4. the average number of residents per session of the activity/group, in the last month; and
      5. the total number of residents in the activity/group, in the last month
    • A list of any programs that were opened, merged with other programs or services, or closed
    • A list or description of program outcomes and outputs being measured
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