WHO IS ACCREDITED?

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.
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ORGANIZATION TESTIMONIAL

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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Purpose

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 13: Personnel

Personnel are qualified by training, skill, and experience to meet the needs of youth, adults, and families with children experiencing homelessness, and receive necessary training, supervision, and opportunities for professional development.

Rating Indicators
1
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.
2
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice standards; e.g.,  
  • With some exceptions, staff (direct service providers, supervisors, and program managers) possess the required qualifications, including: education, experience, training, skills, temperament, etc., but the integrity of the service is not compromised.
    • Supervisors provide additional support and oversight, as needed, to staff without the listed qualifications.
    • Most staff who do not meet educational requirements are seeking to obtain them.
  • With some exceptions staff have received required training, including applicable specialized training.
    • Training curricula are not fully developed or lack depth.
    • A few personnel have not yet received required training.
    • Training documentation is consistently maintained and kept up-to-date with some exceptions.
  • A substantial number of supervisors meet the requirements of the standard, and the organization provides training and/or consultation to improve competencies.
    • Supervisors provide structure and support in relation to service outcomes, organizational culture and staff retention.
  • With a few exceptions caseload sizes are consistently maintained as required by the standards.
  • Workloads are such that staff can effectively accomplish their assigned tasks and provide quality services, and are adjusted as necessary in accord with established workload procedures.
    • Procedures need strengthening.
    • With few exceptions procedures are understood by staff and are being used.
  • With a few exceptions specialized staff are retained as required and possess the required qualifications.
  • Specialized services are obtained as required by the standards.
3
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice standards.  Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • One of the Fundamental Practice Standards received a rating of 3 or 4.
  • A significant number of staff, e.g., direct service providers, supervisors, and program managers, do not possess the required qualifications, including: education, experience, training, skills, temperament, etc.; and as a result the integrity of the service may be compromised.
    • Job descriptions typically do not reflect the requirements of the standards, and/or hiring practices do not document efforts to hire staff with required qualifications when vacancies occur.
    • Supervisors do not typically provide additional support and oversight to staff without the listed qualifications.
  • A significant number of staff have not received required training, including applicable specialized training.
    • Training documentation is poorly maintained.
  • A significant number of supervisors do not meet the requirements of the standard, and the organization makes little effort to provide training and/or consultation to improve competencies.
  • There are numerous instances where caseload sizes exceed the standards' requirements.
  • Workloads are are excessive and the integrity of the service may be compromised. 
    • Procedures need significant strengthening; or
    • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Specialized staff are typically not retained as required and/or many do not possess the required qualifications; or
  • Specialized services are infrequently obtained as required by the standards.
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.,

For example:
  • 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
    • Program staffing chart that includes lines of supervision
    • List of program personnel that includes:
      1. name;
      2. title;
      3. degree held and/or other credentials
      4. FTE or volunteer;
      5. length of service at the organization;
      6. time in current position
    • Table of contents of training curricula
    • Procedures and criteria used for assigning and evaluating workloads
    • Job descriptions
    • Documentation of training
    • Training curricula
    • Procedures for responding to a crisis or traumatic event
    • Interview:
      1. Supervisors
      2. Personnel
    • Review personnel files

  • SH 13.01

    Direct service personnel demonstrate experience or receive training and education on the following topics:

    1. understanding homelessness;
    2. stigma and labeling;
    3. conflict resolution;
    4. trauma-informed care;
    5. harm reduction;
    6. engagement with service recipients, including establishing trust and professional boundaries;
    7. recognizing and responding to signs of suicide risk;
    8. crisis intervention; and
    9. first aid and CPR.

    Interpretation: Regarding element (a), training curricula should address, at a minimum, the causes and effects of homelessness, overrepresented and vulnerable populations, impact of homelessness on child development, barriers to exiting homelessness, and service needs. Each topic covered needs to consider the unique characteristics of different subpopulations.


  • SH 13.02

    Personnel receive training and supervision on the special service needs of service recipients, including, as appropriate:

    1. individuals coping with substance use and/or mental health issues, including dual diagnosis;
    2. individuals coping with trauma, including how to recognize trauma and appropriate interventions for addressing the acute needs of trauma victims;
    3. individuals with HIV/AIDS;
    4. individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or gender non-conforming;
    5. individuals and families who have been victims of violence, abuse, or neglect;
    6. individuals who may be the victims of human trafficking or sexual exploitation, including how to identify potential victims;
    7. pregnant and parenting mothers and/or fathers with young children;
    8. runaway and homeless children and youth;
    9. persons with current or past criminal justice system involvement;
    10. persons with current or past child welfare system involvement;
    11. persons with developmental disabilities; and
    12. older adults.

    Interpretation: Regarding element (f), staff should receive training on screening methods to identify victims of human trafficking or sexual exploitation.


  • SH 13.03

    Personnel providing case management possess:

    1. a bachelor’s degree in social work or a comparable human service field, or at least 5 year’s direct care experience in human services; and
    2. skills in case management and case coordination, and ability to work with people in groups.


  • SH 13.04

    Case managers receive training on the following:

    1. engaging individuals and families experiencing homelessness;
    2. basic counseling skills;
    3. determining when and how to conduct safety assessments;
    4. conducting assessments using standardized instruments;
    5. community programs and how to access services;
    6. mainstream benefits programs, including eligibility requirements;
    7. providing case advocacy;
    8. local housing resources;
    9. conducting housing searches;
    10. landlord engagement; 
    11. issues related to individuals involved with multiple systems; and
    12. family-reconnection skills for runaway and homeless youth.

    Interpretation: As staff titles and roles sometimes vary, organizations that do not employ “case managers” need to ensure that relevant staff receive the training components in SH 13.04. 

    Interpretation: Regarding element (d), safety assessments are needed for service recipients who are identified as victims of human trafficking or sexual exploitation and service recipients who are homeless due to domestic violence.
     


  • SH 13.05

    Supervisors of direct service personnel are qualified by:

    1. an advanced degree in social work or a comparable human service field and at least two year’s direct care experience in human services; or
    2. a bachelor’s degree in social work or a comparable human services field and four years’ direct care experience in human services. 

  • SH 13.06

    Supervisors demonstrate a commitment to providing structure and support to direct service personnel to:

    1. address and reduce stress, anxiety, secondary traumatic stress, and vicarious trauma; 
    2. process and debrief following a crisis or traumatic event;
    3. create an atmosphere of problem-solving and learning;
    4. build and maintain morale;
    5. provide constructive ways to approach difficult situations with service recipients; and 
    6. facilitate regular feedback, growth opportunities, and a structure for ongoing communication and collaboration.

    Interpretation: Supervision is an important determinant of service recipient outcomes, organizational culture, and staff retention.
     
    Interpretation: In order to promote workforce well-being, organizations should implement policies that address and help prevent stress-related problems. Strategies to reduce the adverse effects of secondary traumatic stress and vicarious trauma include: helping staff identify and manage the difficulties associated with their respective positions; promoting self-care and well-being through policies and communications with personnel; offering positive coping skills and stress management training; and providing adequate supervision and staff coverage. 

    Interpretation: Before a crisis or traumatic event occurs, the organization’s leadership should establish a coordinated plan detailing its organization-wide response strategy (see also ASE 7), in accordance with all applicable confidentiality laws and regulations. For example, response plans in the event of a suicide can include: procedures for managing information about the death, coordination of internal or external resources, supports for those affected by the death, commemoration of the deceased, and follow-up with anyone at elevated risk for suicide.
     

    Interpretation: The suicide attempt or death of a service recipient can be a traumatic experience for staff and appropriate supports and avenues for grief are often not provided. Staff may feel responsible for the individual’s death, professionally inadequate, and ashamed. Individuals exposed to suicide can also be at elevated risk for suicide. To help staff process the loss of a service recipient to suicide, voluntary non-judgmental support services should be provided to help the affected staff and other personnel grieve and prepare for future contact with individuals at risk for suicide.
     

    Research Note: Secondary traumatic stress (STS)—distress that results from being exposed to the traumatic stories of others, and vicarious trauma (VT)—internal changes in the perception of self due to chronic exposure to traumatic material, have a significant impact on direct care workers and supervisors. STS has been linked to increased absenteeism among employees, high staff turnover, and decreased compliance with organizational requirements. The impact of VT can impede organizational function and negatively influence an individual’s sense of trust, safety, control, and esteem.


  • SH 13.07

    When clinical services are provided on-site, experienced personnel with an advanced degree in social work, psychology, counseling, psychiatry, psychiatric nursing, or other human services, provide:

    1. case supervision or case consultation;
    2. overall guidance to the program; and
    3. training of direct-service and supervisory personnel.

    NA Program personnel do not provide clinical services.


  • SH 13.08

    Employee workloads are regularly reviewed, and are based on an assessment of the following:

    1. the qualifications, competencies, and experience of the worker, including the level of supervision needed;
    2. the work and time required to accomplish assigned tasks and job responsibilities; and
    3. service volume, accounting for assessed level of needs of new and current clients and referrals.
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