Private Organization Accreditation

Stillwater-based FamilyMeans provides services in budget and credit counseling, mental health, collaborative divorce, caregiver support, youth programming, and an employee assistance program. 


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 Wilderness and Adventure-based Therapeutic Outdoor Services expand individual capabilities, develop self-confidence and insight, ameliorate symptoms, and improve interpersonal skills and relationships.

WT 21: Staff Training and Development

Direct service personnel are trained and supervised and can demonstrate competence.

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
    • Table of contents of training curricula
    • Documentation of training
    • Training curricula
    • Interview:
      1. Supervisors
      2. Personnel

  • WT 21.01

    Personnel complete:

    1. 40 hours of orientation and experiential or classroom training before assignment of primary responsibility for a group;
    2. 40 hours a year of ongoing clinical and therapeutic outdoor training; and
    3. additional training to address specific types of activities and to maintain certification in specific areas, as appropriate to individual responsibilities.

    Interpretation: Staff must be trained and tested on their ability to demonstrate necessary abilities as outlined in the following standards. Staff should work under the supervision of a senior clinician or guide until competence is demonstrated in all skill sets. In the absence of state certification requirements the organization defines criteria for certifying staff and evaluating level of competence.

  • WT 21.02

    Direct service personnel receive training in, and/or demonstrate knowledge of, the following topics:

    1. normal growth and development;
    2. behavioral and emotional problems typical of the service population including risks associated with suicide, eating disorders, cutting, and impulsivity;
    3. alcohol and other drug problems;
    4. behavior dynamics and needs of participants who have been abused;
    5. methods to transfer learning and develop insight through the therapeutic outdoor experience;
    6. how to identify participants at risk of being sexually victimized;
    7. how to manage acting out behavior of a sexual nature; and
    8. the effects of attachment, separation, and loss.

  • WT 21.03

    Personnel obtain certification for first-aid or first-responder and CPR before assuming primary responsibility for a group.

  • FP
    WT 21.04

    Personnel whose training is incomplete are supervised by fully trained individuals and do not assume sole responsibility for participants engaged in high-risk adventure-based activities.

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