Standards for Canadian organizations

2020 Edition

Outreach Services (CA-OS) 2: Personnel

Program personnel have the competency and support needed to provide services and meet the needs of youth, adults, and families experiencing homelessness.

Interpretation

Competency can be demonstrated through education, training, or experience. Support can be provided through supervision or other learning activities to improve understanding or skill development in specific areas.
2020 Edition

Currently viewing: OUTREACH SERVICES (CA-OS)

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Purpose

Outreach Services identify and engage youth, adults, and families experiencing homelessness as a first step to accepting care for immediate health and safety needs, gaining access to community services and resources, taking steps toward community integration, and connecting to safe and stable housing.
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
  • Safety procedures for street outreach personnel
  • Sample job descriptions from across relevant job categories
  • Documentation tracking staff completion of required trainings and/or competencies
  • Training curricula
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
  • Review personnel files

CA-OS 2.01

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

CA-OS 2.02

Personnel who have frequent contact with individuals living with mental health and/or substance use conditions have clinical skills and/or are supervised by personnel with such skills.

CA-OS 2.03

All direct service personnel are trained on, or demonstrate competency in:
  1. understanding homelessness, including the causes and effects of homelessness, overrepresented and vulnerable populations, impact of homelessness on child development, barriers to exiting homelessness, and service needs;
  2. the ability to handle rejection;
  3. recognizing and responding to signs of suicide risk;
  4. making linkages and referrals to community and housing services; and
  5. implementing the organization’s plans for managing medical or psychiatric emergencies.

Interpretation

Peer outreach workers should be trained on or demonstrate competency in these areas as needed based on their job responsibilities.

CA-OS 2.04

All direct service personnel are trained on, or demonstrate competency in, understanding 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 protection system involvement;
  11. persons with developmental disabilities; and
  12. older adults.

Interpretation

Peer outreach workers should be trained on or demonstrate competency in these areas as needed based on their job responsibilities.

Fundamental Practice

CA-OS 2.05

The organization ensures the safety of street outreach personnel by:
  1. developing procedures and trainings that address how to recognize and respond to street safety risks; and
  2. deploying at least a two-person team when necessary due to safety concerns.
NA The organization does not provide street outreach.

CA-OS 2.06

Peer outreach workers receive pre- and in-service training and ongoing supervision and support around: 
  1. the role of a peer outreach worker, including skills, concepts, and philosophies related to peer support; and
  2. established ethical guidelines, including setting appropriate boundaries and maintaining confidentiality.

Interpretation

Peer outreach workers establish relationships with service recipients that are based on mutual respect and trust and support bidirectional learning and reciprocity.
NA The organization does not utilize peer outreach workers.

CA-OS 2.07

Employee workloads support the achievement of client outcomes and are regularly reviewed.
Examples: 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 work and time required to accomplish assigned tasks and job responsibilities; and
  3. service volume, accounting for assessed level of needs of persons served.