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.


The Village for Families & Children, Inc.

Galo A. Rodriguez, M.P.H., President & CEO

COA Peer Reviewers demonstrated their expertise through their knowledge of COA standards as well as experience in the behavioral health field. In addition, COA’s seminars and tools were very helpful in guiding us through the accreditation process.
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Individuals with disabilities who receive vocational rehabilitation services achieve increased community integration, social inclusion, and self-determination through the realization of their vocational goals.

PA-VOC 3: Vocational Assessment

Service recipients participate in the development of an individualized, strengths-based, culturally responsive vocational assessment that helps the individual to establish realistic training and vocational expectations.

Interpretation: The Assessment Matrix - Private, Public, Canadian, Network determines which level of assessment is required for COA’s Service Sections. The assessment elements of the Matrix can be tailored according to the needs of specific individuals or service design.

Note: All agencies are expected to work with the individual to complete a vocational assessment that informs the vocational plan, regardless of the vocational rehabilitation services they provide.

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
    • Assessment procedures
    • Assessment tool and/or criteria included in assessment
No On-Site Evidence
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Individuals or families served
    • Review case records

  • PA-VOC 3.01

    The vocational assessment should identify the individual’s disability and include:

    1. vocational interests, preferences, and goals;
    2. vocational history, experience, and training;
    3. skills and aptitudes;
    4. the need for accommodations or assistive technology;
    5. level of functioning and relevant health, social, and behavioral factors;
    6. the need for support services;
    7. available community resources; and
    8. individual strengths and resources.

    Interpretation: Workplace accommodations might include accessible parking, public transportation stops close to the program site, elevators, reduced work hours or more frequent breaks, specially designed work stations, or office supply needs such as enlarged print, special lighting, or TDD.

    Research Note: Research shows that, despite the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), adults with disabilities who report a need for accommodations are still less likely to work than adults with disabilities who do not need accommodations. Therefore, recognizing accommodation needs during the initial assessment is an important part of developing an effective vocational plan that will minimize such barriers to placement.

  • PA-VOC 3.02

    Personnel who conduct vocational assessments are qualified by training, skill, and experience and able to recognize service recipients with special needs.

  • PA-VOC 3.03

    The information gathered for vocational assessments is comprehensive, directed at concerns identified in initial screenings, and limited to material pertinent for meeting service requests and objectives.

  • PA-VOC 3.04

    Vocational assessments are conducted in a culturally responsive manner to identify resources that can increase service participation and support the achievement of agreed upon goals.

    Interpretation: Culturally responsive vocational assessments can include attention to geographic location, language of choice, and the person’s religious, racial, ethnic, and cultural background. Other important factors that contribute to a responsive assessment include attention to age and sexual orientation.

  • PA-VOC 3.05

    Vocational assessments are completed within timeframes established by the agency and are updated periodically.

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