Standards for private organizations

2020 Edition

Adoption Services (AS) 2: Personnel

Program personnel have the competency and support needed to provide services and meet the needs of individuals and families served. 

Interpretation

Competency can be demonstrated through a combination of education, training, and experience. Support can be provided through supervision or other learning activities to improve understanding or skill development in specific areas.
NA The organization only provides Foster Care to Adoption Services.
2020 Edition

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Purpose

Adoption programs establish permanent family relationships for children in need of permanency, and increase the well-being, functioning, and stability of children, birth parents, adoptive families, and adopted individuals.
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; or
  • Supervisors provide additional support and oversight, as needed, to the few staff without the listed qualifications; or 
  • Most staff who do not meet educational requirements are seeking to obtain them; or 
  • With few exceptions, staff have received required training, including applicable specialized training; or
  • Training curricula are not fully developed or lack depth; or
  • Training documentation is consistently maintained and kept up-to-date with some exceptions; or
  • A substantial number of supervisors meet the requirements of the standard, and the organization provides training and/or consultation to improve competencies when needed; or
  • With few exceptions, caseload sizes are consistently maintained as required by the standards or as required by internal policy when caseload has not been set by a standard; or
  • Workloads are such that staff can effectively accomplish their assigned tasks and provide quality services and are adjusted as necessary; or
  • 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.,
  • A significant number of staff (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; or
  • 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; or 
  • Supervisors do not typically provide additional support and oversight to staff without the listed qualifications; or
  • A significant number of staff have not received required training, including applicable specialized training; or
  • Training documentation is poorly maintained; or
  • 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; or
  • There are numerous instances where caseload sizes exceed the standards' requirements or the requirements of internal policy when a caseload size is not set by the standard; or
  • Workloads are excessive, and the integrity of the service may be compromised; 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.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Table of contents of training curricula
  • Procedures or other documentation relevant to case assignment
  • Sample job descriptions across relevant categories
  • Documentation tracking staff completion of required trainings and/or competencies
  • Training curricula
  • Caseload size requirements set by policy, regulation, or contract, when applicable
  • Documentation of current caseload size per worker
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Supervisors
    2. Relevant personnel
  • Review personnel files

 

AS 2.01

Adoption workers who provide adoption-related services that require the application of clinical skills and judgement meet applicable regulatory requirements and are qualified by:

  1. a bachelor’s degree in social work; or
  2. a combination of a bachelor's degree in any field and prior experience in family and children's services, adoption, or intercountry adoption.

Interpretation

When a new worker providing clinical services does not have direct experience in adoption, they receive support and/or supervision or have access to consultation with someone who does have direct experience in adoption until they gain a sufficient amount of experience.
Examples: Examples of services that some programs provide that require the application of clinical skills and judgment include, but are not limited to:
  1. home studies;
  2. child background studies;
  3. clinical counseling;
  4. obtaining consents;
  5. preparation and training;
  6. making clinical decisions such as approval of home studies, matching, etc.;
  7. post-placement monitoring and post-placement reports;
  8. crisis intervention; and
  9. therapeutic interventions.
Examples of services that may not require the application of clinical skills and judgement include, but are not limited to:
  1. preparation of profiles or dossiers for prospective adoptive parents;
  2. provision of information or training on non-clinical topics such as the legal process for adoption, planning travel for international or interstate adoptions, etc.; and
  3. notarizing documents.

 

AS 2.02

Supervisors are qualified by at least two years of prior experience in adoption, intercountry adoption, or family and children’s services and an advanced degree in social work or a comparable human service field. 


 

AS 2.03

Employees who provide adoption-related services that require the application of clinical skills and judgment, and others as needed based on their job responsibilities, are trained on, or demonstrate competency in:
  1. state, federal, and foreign laws and regulations governing the types of services provided by the program;
  2. ethical considerations in adoption and applicable professional and ethical guidelines;
  3. issues relating to race, ethnicity, religion, culture, tribal affiliation, and language and culturally competent services;
  4. factors that lead to children needing adoptive families;
  5. feelings of separation, grief, and loss which may be experienced prior to, during and after adoption by children, birth parents, adults who were adopted, and previously by some prospective adoptive parents;
  6. trauma experienced by children and youth who have been victims of abuse, neglect, or trafficking;
  7. common medical, psychological, and developmental issues commonly experienced by children adopted through the program;
  8. the short- and long-term impact of out of home care and institutionalization on children and youth;
  9. ways in which adoption can affect child, adolescent and adult development and identity formation; and
  10. maintaining connections, openness in adoption, and attachment and bonding.
Related Standards:

Interpretation

 Ethical considerations in adoption can include:

  1. preventing child buying, trafficking, and undue influence on birth parents;
  2. making decisions when the preferences and needs of the parties to the adoption differ; and
  3. limitations on eligibility and related professional, personal, and organizational values and beliefs.

Interpretation

  Some training topics/competencies may not be relevant to all programs and programs may customize their training/competency requirements based on their program model.  The program exempts employees from elements of their training/competency requirements only where the employee has demonstrated competence with the topic.


 
Fundamental Practice

AS 2.04

Adoption workers and supervisors, depending on job responsibilities, are trained on or demonstrate competency to implement relevant provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) including:

  1. the importance of ICWA and special considerations for working with American Indian and Alaska Native children;
  2. the identification of American Indian and Alaska Native children;
  3. determination of jurisdiction;
  4. appropriate notice and collaboration with the child's tribe;
  5. placement preferences that support the child's connection to their native culture and heritage;
  6. process for, and alternatives to, terminating parental rights; and
  7. court procedures.

Interpretation

All adoption personnel should be trained in the basic requirements of ICWA and informed of the cultural norms and historical trauma associated with Indian tribes. Staff in specialized service units, such as assessment or permanency planning, should receive additional specialized training, and all screening personnel must be trained on how to identify children with American Indian or Alaska Native heritage.

 

AS 2.05

Adoption workers who work with birth parents or have responsibilities relating to provision of required notices, obtaining consents, or legal proceedings are knowledgeable about:
  1. requirements and processes for the proper identification of all parties whose consent is required;
  2. requirements and processes for providing appropriate notice to all parties who must receive notice or whose consent is required;
  3. preventing undue pressure or coercion on parties whose consent is required, and what steps to take if it appears as if undue pressure or coercion have been exerted;
  4. inappropriate financial incentives or influence; and
  5. determination of jurisdiction and jurisdictional issues that could impact on the adoption.
Related Standards:
NA Program staff do not work with birth parents and do not have responsibilities for providing notice of an adoption plan or obtaining consents.

 

AS 2.06

The program ensures that employees who provide adoption-related services that require the application of clinical skills and judgment complete ongoing professional development training on adoption related topics in accordance with applicable agency, state, and federal requirements.

Related Standards:

Interpretation

The Intercountry Adoption Act regulations require no less than thirty hours of professional development training every two years.
 
NA Program staff do not work with birth parents and do not have responsibilities for providing notice of an adoption plan or obtaining consents.

 

AS 2.07

Employee workloads support the achievement of client outcomes and are regularly reviewed.

Interpretation

 
Caseloads for workers providing child-focused recruitment services should typically not exceed 20-25 cases, with no more than 12-15 in an intensive phase.
Examples: Examples of factors that may be considered when determining employee workloads include, but are not limited to:
  1. the qualifications, competencies, and experience of the worker, including the level of supervision needed;
  2. the scope of services being provided including the work and time required to accomplish assigned tasks and job responsibilities; and
  3. service volume, accounting for assessed level of needs of clients at varying stages of the adoption process.