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.


Bonnie Bagley

Volunteer Roles: Evaluator; Lead Evaluator; Peer Reviewer; Team Leader

I have found that being a COA Volunteer builds my professional skills and experience in ways that more traditional workshops do not. The opportunity to learn about best practices through the COA standards and then see how agencies implement them is truly a growth experience.
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Young adults who receive Independent Living Services obtain safe and stable housing, develop life skills and competencies including work readiness, achieve educational and financial growth goals, and establish healthy, supportive adult and peer relationships.


Youth Independent Living Services are designed for older adolescents who have been separated from their homes, may have been disconnected from long-term family relationships, and may have assumed parenting responsibilities. These youth need skills and support to lead self-sufficient, healthy, productive, and stable adult lives. Youth receiving these services may be in state custody, living in a foster care or kinship care home, or in a residential treatment or group home setting and typically face numerous challenges due to multiple, changing living arrangements. These challenges include a lack of: connection to effective support for educational achievement and school continuity, access to employment preparation and jobs, personal financial education, competency and security, and sources of encouragement to save and start to accumulate assets.

Interpretation: The YIL Services Purpose Standard addresses the attainment of foundational, short-term, achievable outcomes that lay groundwork for longer-term positive outcomes. Depending on age, time in program, and other factors, outcomes such as school graduation or training completion can either be immediate or can begin with improving on test scores or reading at or above grade level. Steps toward economic self-sufficiency can include achieving financial growth goals such as completing a financial education program, understanding and obtaining a good credit rating, or building a savings account. 

Research Note: With passage of the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (1999) legislation, DHHS funding became available to help youth transition from foster care to self-sufficiency by offering education, daily living skills, vocational and employment training, substance abuse and pregnancy prevention, preventive health activities, and connections to dedicated adults. Support for youth leaving foster care was extended to include youth age 14 through 21 years old. In 2000, new legislation took effect that added the Chafee Housing Subsidy. The program offers states increased flexibility and accountability for service provision and requires coordination of funds with other funding sources for similar services. The states’ application of the legislation varies. In some states, for example, a statutory change would be required to extend out of home care benefits to children through age 21.

Research Note: Young adults who are not engaged in some combination of school and work, the major activities that increase their ability to support themselves, often are referred to as idle or disconnected. Literature is beginning to accumulate that better defines “disconnected” youth in practical terms, as is research on the cost to youth, in lack of education attainment, income and earnings, and receipt of public assistance later in life.

Note: An organization that provides Counseling, Support and Education Services (CSE); Services for Mental Mental Health and/or Substance Use Conditions (MHSU); Case Management (CM); Workforce Development Services (WDS); Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VOC); Family Foster Care and Kinship Care (FKC); Immigration Legal Services (ILS), Refugee Resettlement Services (RRS); Pregnancy Support Services (PS); and/or Mentoring Services (MS), will complete additional, complementary service sections.

Note: Please see YIL Reference List for a list of resources that informed the development of these standards.

Youth Independent Living Services Narrative

Self-Study Evidence
    • Provide an overview of the different programs being accredited under this section. The overview should describe:
      1. the program's service philosophy and approach to delivering services;
      2. eligibility criteria;
      3. any unique or special services provided to specific populations; and
      4. major funding streams.
    • If elements of the service (e.g., assessments) are provided by contract with outside programs or through participation in a formal, coordinated service delivery system, provide a list that identifies the providers and the service components for which they are responsible. Do not include services provided by referral.
    • Provide any other information you would like the peer review team to know about these programs.
    • A demographic profile of persons and families served by the programs being reviewed under this service section with percentages representing the following:
      1. racial and ethnic characteristics;
      2. gender/gender identity;
      3. age;
      4. major religious groups; and
      5. major language groups
    • As applicable, a list of groups or classes including, for each group or class:
      1. the type of activity/group;
      2. whether the activity/group is short-term or ongoing;
      3. how often the activity/group is offered;
      4. the average number of participants per session of the activity/group, in the last month; and
      5. the total number of participants in the activity/group, in the last month
    • A list of any programs that were opened, merged with other programs or services, or closed
    • A list or description of program outcomes and outputs being measured
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