Private Organization Accreditation

Germaine Lawrence is a residential treatment center for girls ages 12-18 with complex behavioral, psychological and learning challenges.   Girls live at our programs while receiving special education, individual, family and group therapy; psychiatric and primary medical care; and a wide variety of therapeutic activities and interventions.


Barry Gourley

Volunteer Roles: Endorser; Peer Reviewer

It is an honor to be a COA volunteer. I’ve had a great opportunity to work with fabulous COA volunteers, I’ve grown professionally in the COA accreditation process and I’ve met some wonderful people across this nation who are working hard to help and support children and families.
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Youth who participate in Youth Development Services gain the personal, social, emotional, and educational assets needed to support healthy development, increase well-being, and facilitate a successful transition through childhood, adolescence, and into adulthood.

PA-YD 12: Health and Safety

The agency protects and promotes the health and safety of youth. 

Note: Additional practices key to promoting health and ensuring safety are addressed in other standards. For example, PA-YD 10 and 11 address the importance of practices related to nutrition and physical fitness, PA-YD 15 addresses the importance of providing adequate supervision, and PA-YD 16 highlights the importance of conducting appropriate background checks. PA-ASE includes additional standards that promote health and safety.

Table of Evidence

Self-Study Evidence On-Site Evidence On-Site Activities
    • Hygiene procedures, including expectations for hand washing
    • Procedures for meeting health needs and minimizing risk of exposure to contagious or infectious disease
    • Procedures for maintaining cleanliness and safety in the indoor and outdoor space
    • Table of contents of emergency response training for youth, or provide a description of training 
    • Accident, injury, and illness reports 
    • Smoking policy
    • Computer usage policies and procedures
    • Training curricula and/or information on computer usage provided to youth and personnel
    • Interview:
      1. Program Administrator
      2. Site Director
      3. Program Personnel
      4. Youth and families
    • Review files of youth
    • Observe facility

  • FP
    PA-YD 12.01

    Personnel are responsive to the individual health needs of youth.

    Interpretation: Personnel should be aware of health needs including, but not limited to, dietary restrictions, allergies, asthma, physical limitations, and medication needs. Personnel should also take care to respect the confidentiality of youth as it relates to their health information.

    Interpretation: Examples of ways to demonstrate implementation of this standard include, but are not limited to:

    • Personnel are aware of the health needs of individual youth; and
    • Personnel respect confidentiality when addressing health needs.

    Note: As noted in PA-YD 3, relevant health information should be collected from youth and their families, and maintained in their files.

  • FP
    PA-YD 12.02

    The indoor and outdoor facilities are clean.

    Interpretation: Examples of ways to demonstrate implementation of this standard include, but are not limited to:

    • Floors, walls, and sinks are clean;
    • Someone makes sure that surfaces are washed and sanitized;
    • Food service areas are disinfected after each use;
    • Bad odors do not linger;
    • Bathrooms are cleaned daily;
    • Access to restrooms is restricted to prevent public use;
    • Toilets are not overflowing; and
    • Basements are not flooded.

  • FP
    PA-YD 12.03

    There are adequate supplies and facilities for hand washing and personnel and youth are encouraged to wash hands frequently, especially before preparing food or after using the toilet.

    Interpretation: COA recognizes that in some situations, such as field trips or outdoor activities, hand washing supplies and facilities (e.g., running water, soap) may not be available. When that is the case, hand sanitizer may be an appropriate alternative. 

    Interpretation: Examples of ways to demonstrate implementation of this standard include, but are not limited to:

    • Soap dispensers are filled regularly;
    • Sanitary methods for drying hands are provided including disposable towels or hand driers;
    • Hand sanitizer is available throughout the facility;
    • Signs or pictures are posted to remind youth of the importance of washing their hands;
    • Signs or pictures are posted at each sink to show proper hand washing techniques;
    • Personnel and youth wash hands with soap and water prior to engaging in, or following completion of, certain activities, such as before preparing food and after using the rest room; and
    • Personnel bring hand sanitizer on field trips.

  • FP
    PA-YD 12.04

    The temperature, ventilation, noise level, and light in the indoor space are comfortable.

    Interpretation: Examples of ways to demonstrate implementation of this standard include, but are not limited to:

    • Air quality in and around the facility is acceptable;
    • Heating systems are functional;
    • Floor or table lamps are used when needed;
    • The temperature can be turned up or down; and
    • Rugs and ceiling tiles are used to help absorb noise.

  • FP
    PA-YD 12.05

    When youth become ill or are injured, personnel: 

    1. separate the youth from other program participants;
    2. take proper health precautions when supervising the youth; and
    3. notify the youth’s parents or legal guardians.

    Interpretation: Examples of ways to demonstrate implementation of this standard include, but are not limited to:

    • There is a designated area to care for ill or injured youth; and
    • Personnel follow written policies and/or procedures when they respond to youth who become ill or injured.

  • FP
    PA-YD 12.06

    There are no observable safety hazards in the indoor space, and materials used for indoor play are safe.

    Interpretation: Equipment, toys, and materials used by youth should meet safety requirements set forth by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and the agency should be aware of any recalls that affect products in its center or programs. The CPSC provides web-based access to a list of product recalls. 

    Interpretation: Examples of ways to demonstrate implementation of this standard include, but are not limited to:

    • Electrical cords, heating pipes, and sharp-edged objects are covered and secured;
    • All stairs and climbing structures have railings;
    • The floor is free of dangerous clutter and spills;
    • The area is free of glass and other unsafe litter;
    • Windows are secured;
    • Floor coverings are secured (i.e., there are no loose rugs);
    • There are no walk-in freezers or refrigerators that do not open from the inside;
    • Water temperatures are appropriate, not harmful;
    • There are no unscreened areas or unmarked glass doors;
    • Entrances and exits are unobstructed and well-lit;
    • Youth do not have unsupervised access to poisons or cleaning agents such as bleach;
    • Toxic substances are kept in a locked cabinet, out of the reach of youth;
    • Electrical appliances and other objects (e.g., hair dryers, space heaters, radios, toys) are used safely;
    • Cleaning supplies and other hazardous materials are stored properly; 
    • Dividers, shelves, and cubbies are secured so that they cannot tip over; and
    • Tables are stored in a safe manner so they will not fall on anyone.

  • FP
    PA-YD 12.07

    There are no observable safety hazards in the outdoor space, and equipment for active play is safe.

    Interpretation: Examples of ways to demonstrate implementation of this standard include, but are not limited to:

    • The outdoor space is protected from traffic by fences or by other means;
    • Program entrance and exit areas are sheltered from traffic; 
    • Fencing is provided when needed to ensure safety;
    • Large equipment is bolted down;
    • Equipment is free of rust, splinters, and loose nails or screws;
    • Swings are placed out of the way of passing youth;
    • All playground equipment is on a resilient surface (e.g., fine loose sand, wood chips, wood mulch about nine inches deep, or rubber mats);
    • In summer, there is shady outdoor space and access to water; 
    • Sidewalks are free of ice, snow, and slippery mud; and
    • There is a supply of extra coats, gloves, and boots for winter.

    Note: See the Interpretation to PA-YD 12.06 regarding compliance with CPSC requirements.

  • FP
    PA-YD 12.08

    Youth receive emergency response training that includes participation in monthly fire drills.

  • FP
    PA-YD 12.09

    Policy prohibits smoking anywhere on the premises.

  • FP
    PA-YD 12.10

    When computer access is offered to participants:

    1. youth and staff are trained on internet safety and the agency’s internet usage policies and procedures; and
    2. the agency has appropriate internet safety measures in place to prevent access to specific sites or inappropriate content.

    NA The agency does not offer computer access.

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