Private Organization Accreditation

As one of the largest family services agencies in the country, Child & Family Services has dedicated its resources to meet the needs of the community since 1873.


Advantage Credit Counseling Service

Mary Loftus, VP, Agency Service

Our agency is preparing for reaccreditation under the Eighth Edition Standards. The COA site is well organized and very easy to use. Our team of employees working on the reaccreditation process has found the tools index to be very helpful, particularly some of the templates.
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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 5: Promoting Positive Behavior and Healthy Peer Relationships

Personnel use positive techniques to support and guide behavior and promote respectful, cooperative interactions among youth.

Table of Evidence

Self-Study Evidence On-Site Evidence On-Site Activities
    • Description of how the agency promotes positive behavior and healthy peer relationships
    • Policy and procedures regarding bullying
    • Policies and/or procedures regarding youth with special behavioral needs or issues
    • Policies for prohibited interventions
    • Program rules and behavioral expectations
    • Interview:
      1. Program Administrator
      2. Site Director
      3. Program Personnel
      4. Youth and families
    • Review files of youth
    • Observe youth interactions with personnel and peers

  • PA-YD 5.01

    Rules and behavioral expectations:

    1. set clear and appropriate limits;
    2. are developed with input from youth enrolled in the program; and
    3. are conveyed and enforced in a fair, consistent manner.

    Interpretation: As noted in PA-YD 3.01 and PA-CR 1.01, personnel should inform youth and their families about rules, expectations, and behaviors that might result in removal from the program. 

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

    • Time is set aside to discuss rules; 
    • Personnel and youth work together to define rules that make sense to all;
    • Personnel set realistic limits that are appropriate to the developmental level of youth in the program (e.g., personnel should not expect youth to be quiet most of the time); 
    • All youth are expected to abide by the same rules;
    • Personnel take steps to ensure that youth understand the limits that are set; and
    • Personnel set appropriate limits to prevent youth from hurting each other verbally or physically.

  • PA-YD 5.02

    Personnel support positive behavior by:

    1. developing positive relationships with youth; 
    2. helping youth develop and practice appropriate social skills;
    3. building on strengths and reinforcing positive behaviors such as sharing, cooperating, caring for materials, and joining in activities;
    4. encouraging youth to resolve their own conflicts, when possible and appropriate;
    5. responding consistently to issues; 
    6. recognizing signs of boredom and redirecting as needed; and
    7. modeling appropriate behavior by interacting with other personnel in a positive, respectful manner.

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

    • Personnel often show appreciation and provide ongoing positive reinforcement and encouragement; 
    • Personnel avoid using insincere praise and threats to control behavior;
    • Personnel teach youth how to communicate and cooperate;
    • Personnel celebrate the efforts and progress of youth;
    • Personnel use negotiation, reasoning, and redirection to help youth find alternatives;
    • Personnel do not impose their solutions on youth; 
    • Personnel rarely lecture youth;
    • Personnel help youth express their feelings;
    • Personnel help youth understand how their behavior affects others;
    • Personnel teach youth specific skills they can use to work through conflicts (e.g., circle time, peace table, or conflict resolution skills);
    • If problems occur, youth are encouraged to discuss their differences and work out a solution, when possible and appropriate (i.e., if there is not a power imbalance between the involved youth); and
    • Personnel handle conflicts in a way that reduces fear and disruption.

  • PA-YD 5.03

    Youth generally interact in positive ways, and:

    1. appear relaxed and involved with each other;
    2. show respect for each other; and
    3. cooperate and work well together.

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

    • Youth show sympathy for each other;
    • Youth willingly share materials and space;
    • Youth understand and respect those who are different from themselves;
    • Youth suggest activities, negotiate roles, and jointly work out the rules;
    • Youth include those with developmental, physical, cultural, or language differences in activities;
    • Youth help each other and learn from one another;
    • Youth work on projects together;
    • There is a strong sense of community;
    • Youth listen to each other’s point of view and try to compromise;
    • Youth know how to solve problems, and their solutions are usually reasonable and fair;
    • Youth do not try to solve disagreements by bullying or acting aggressively; and
    • Teasing, belittling, or picking on particular youth is uncommon.

    Research Note: Research has shown that encouraging youth to work together leads to more enjoyment and a greater likelihood that they will participate in the activity again.

  • FP
    PA-YD 5.04

    In an effort to eliminate bullying and victimization, personnel:

    1. are able to recognize when a youth may be experiencing bullying;
    2. intervene immediately and appropriately when bullying occurs;
    3. follow up individually with the involved youth;
    4. follow-up with parents or legal guardians of involved youth;
    5. document the incident; and
    6. follow up with the involved parties and other program staff to make sure the bullying does not continue.

    Note: In addition to prohibiting bullying and intervening when bullying occurs, agencies can also take steps to prevent bullying from happening by encouraging pro-social behavior and fostering a sense of community among youth, as referenced in PA-YD 5.02 and 5.03. Given the increased incidence of cyberbullying, it is also important to teach youth how to navigate the internet safely and responsibly if they will have access to computers at the program, as addressed in PA-YD 12.10.

    Research Note: Bullying is an extreme form of peer conflict that is deliberate, repeated, and involves a power imbalance. Bullying may take different forms, from physical assaults, to name calling, to rumor spreading and social exclusion. This includes cyberbullying, which is bullying that occurs through the use of technological devices. Bullying typically peaks in early adolescence, during the middle-school years, and can be physically and psychologically harmful.

  • FP
    PA-YD 5.05

    When youth have special behavioral needs or issues, personnel respond appropriately.

    Interpretation: Appropriate responses may vary, depending on the youth and the situation. If an enrolled youth is considered inappropriate for the program, personnel should: (1) initiate a conversation with both the youth and his/her family, and (2) make every effort to ensure that the family obtains information about programs and services that may be more appropriate for the youth.  However, all possible accommodations and interventions should be exhausted before it is decided that a particular youth is not appropriate for the program. 

    Note: See PA-YD 4.05 for more information about responding appropriately to youth with special needs.

  • FP
    PA-YD 5.06

    Policy prohibits negative approaches to behavior management, including, but not limited to:

    1. corporal punishment;
    2. aversive stimuli;
    3. withholding nutrition or hydration;
    4. inflicting physical or psychological pain;
    5. demeaning, shaming, or degrading language or activities;
    6. unnecessarily punitive restrictions;
    7. forced physical exercise to eliminate behaviors;
    8. punitive work assignments;
    9. punishment by peers; and
    10. group punishment or discipline for individual behavior.

  • PA-YD 5.07

    Youth have opportunities to socialize with their peers.

    Interpretation: Opportunities for socialization may be provided both within and between program activities.

    Research Note: Some research suggests that providing opportunities for friends to get together may foster program participation. For example, teenagers put great emphasis on the importance of their peers, and are more willing to engage in programs when they are able to spend time with their friends. Accordingly, some programs serving older youth set aside designated space where teens can socialize with one another apart from younger program participants.

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