Private Organization Accreditation

Southeastern Regional Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services is a Local Management Entity, covering the geographic areas of Bladen, Columbus, Robeson, and Scotland counties. SER ensures continuity of care to consumers through access to a quality of care system available 24/7/365 days a year through management of our network provider services.


Brewer-Porch Children's Center

James W. Thompson, Executive Director

The COA standards as applied to the operations at Brewer-Porch Children’s Center at The University of Alabama has given the administration an opportunity to examine best practice and improve the quality of care provided to clients.
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Shelter Services meet the basic needs of individuals and families who are homeless or in transition, support family stabilization or independent living, and facilitate access to services and permanent housing. 

SH 10: Services for Children and Youth

Programs that provide services for runaway and homeless children and youth meet the age-specific needs of children and youth.

Interpretation: To ensure that the most vulnerable children and youth are not screened out, programs should adopt a low-barrier for entry model focused on harm reduction.

Research Note: Literature indicates that youth in shelters are sometimes responsible for recruiting other youth into sex trafficking. Youth experiencing homelessness are particularly vulnerable to human trafficking due to their immediate needs for food, housing, and money, as well as their emotional and psychological needs.
Research Note: A report issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicates that many homeless youth engage in “shelter hopping” to avoid mandatory reporting requirements, which also makes it difficult for shelter staff to identify potential human trafficking victims.

NA The organization does not provide shelter for runaway and homeless children and youth, children and youth in foster care, or unaccompanied children without legal status.

Rating Indicators
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted, however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations (HR 6.02) and training (TS 2.03); or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • A number of client records are missing important information  or
  • Client participation is inconsistent; or
  • One of the Fundamental Practice Standards received a rating of 3 or 4.
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing; or  
  • Two or more Fundamental Practice Standards received a rating of 3 or 4.

Table of Evidence

Self-Study Evidence On-Site Evidence On-Site Activities
    • Procedures for serving youth without their parent or legal guardian, including parental notification procedures
    • Provide client/staff ratios and coverage schedules for the past two quarters
    • Review a sample of census data for the past year
    • Interview:
      1. Program director
      2. Relevant personnel
      3. Individuals served
    • Review case records
    • Observe facility

  • SH 10.01

    Programs that serve children and youth without their parent or legal guardian:

    1. consult with the child protection authority, as appropriate;
    2. establish or confirm the youth’s legal status; and
    3. obtain authorization to provide care.

  • SH 10.02

    Children and youth are informed that their parent or guardian will be notified of their whereabouts, and the program documents:

    1. exceptions for adolescents who are emancipated minors, who have reached the age of majority, who could be endangered as a result of notification, or who will refuse services if notification is required;
    2. a case supervisor’s review prior to notification;
    3. that youth are informed of the planned notification; and
    4. that notification occurred within 72 hours or sooner as required by law.

    Interpretation: When the program serves youth under contract with the child welfare authority, it coordinates notification of the child’s parent or legal guardian with the authority.

    NA The organization only serves children who have been placed by a public child welfare agency.

  • SH 10.03

    Programs serving children or youth, assess or confirm the appropriateness of family involvement, and when appropriate:

    1. facilitate an active connection between parents and children;
    2. plan for reconnection and reconciliation with the family; and
    3. provide family support and strengthening services.

    Interpretation: In cases where the child is a victim of human trafficking, it is important to be aware that the child’s parent or caregiver may be the trafficker or complicit in the trafficking. In such cases, determining appropriate family supports and level of involvement should include the input of the child, as well as child welfare and law enforcement systems.

    Research Note: Research has shown that family rejection due to a youth’s LGBTQ status negatively affects the youth’s physical and mental health. Program staff trained in family counseling techniques can successfully increase family acceptance and facilitate reconnection and reconciliation. Even modest improvements in family relations can result in a reduction in youth suicide risk, depression, and substance use.

  • SH 10.04

    Personnel who directly supervise school-age children and youth provide continuous coverage 24 hours a day, and the adult-child ratio is 1:4 when children under school age are in the service population.

    Interpretation: The term "school-age children" refers to children and adolescents who are legally required to attend school. COA does not provide specific age limits for this term; however, "school-age" is generally considered to be between 5-17 years old.

  • SH 10.05

    Children and youth have sufficient uninterrupted sleep and, when practical, follow their usual and familiar routines for bedtime, bathing, and meals.

  • SH 10.06

    The program houses no more than 20 children and youth at one location, and in exceptional circumstances, makes necessary physical, administrative, and programmatic accommodations to house additional children on a time-limited basis.

    Interpretation: If state or local licensing authority requires or permits a higher maximum capacity, the program needs to:

    1. supply supporting documentation; and
    2. demonstrate a staff-to-child/youth ratio sufficient to ensure appropriate supervision and treatment.

  • SH 10.07

    Program stays are as brief as possible. 

    Interpretation: Program stays should not exceed 30 days except in situations where the safety and/or wellbeing of runaway and homeless children and youth requires an extended stay. For example, if family reunification is the preferred outcome, a safe return home may take longer than 30 days to achieve. Strong housing outcomes at discharge are demonstrated for stays of less than 30 days. 

    When emergency shelter is used for children or youth in foster care awaiting placement or experiencing a crisis, shelter stays should be as brief as possible and can only extend beyond 30 days if all other appropriate placement options have been exhausted.

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