Standards for private organizations

2020 Edition

Disaster Recovery Case Management (DRCM) 4: Intake and Assessment

The organization’s intake and assessment practices ensure that individuals and families receive prompt and responsive access to appropriate services.
2020 Edition




Individuals and families who receive Disaster Recovery Case Management services access and use resources and support that build on their strengths and meet their service needs.
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
  • In a few rare instances, urgent needs were not prioritized; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Culturally responsive assessments are the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; 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
  • Urgent needs are often not prioritized; or 
  • Services are frequently not initiated in a timely manner; or
  • Applicants are not receiving referrals, as appropriate; or 
  • Assessment and reassessment timeframes are often missed; or
  • Assessments are sometimes not sufficiently individualized; 
  • Culturally responsive assessments are not the norm, and this is not being addressed in supervision or training; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent; or
  • Intake or assessment is done by another organization or referral source and no documentation and/or summary of required information is present in case record. 
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.,
  • There are no written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.  
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Screening and intake procedures
  • Assessment procedures
  • Copy of assessment tool(s)
  • Community resource and referral list
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Persons served
  • Review case records


DRCM 4.01

Individuals and families are screened and informed about:
  1. how well their request matches the organization's services; and
  2. what services will be available and when.
NA Another organization is responsible for screening, as defined in a contract.
Examples: Information about service availability can include an explanation of the phases of disaster recovery case management.

Fundamental Practice

DRCM 4.02

Prompt, responsive intake practices:
  1. include screening for level or intensity of service including screening for trauma exposure and/or trauma-related symptoms;
  2. gather information necessary to identify critical service needs and/or determine when a more intensive service is necessary;
  3. ensure equitable distribution of resources;
  4. give priority to urgent needs and individual emergency situations, including early recognition of vulnerable populations;
  5. support timely initiation of services; and
  6. provide for placement on a waiting list or referral to appropriate resources when individuals cannot be served or cannot be served promptly.


Screening and intake activities involving individuals with disabilities should be performed by staff with relevant, specialized expertise to overcome barriers to service initiation specific to this population. Common barriers include transportation, attitudinal biases on the part of collaborating/referral service providers, and facility accessibility among others.


To ensure that transgender and gender non-conforming candidates for service are treated with respect and feel safe, service recipient choice regarding their first names and pronouns should be respected and intake forms and procedures should allow individuals to self-identify their gender.

Fundamental Practice

DRCM 4.03

The organization contributes to effective coordination, delivery, and use of disaster recovery resources by:
  1. promoting and complying with the standardization of forms used for information gathering; and
  2. sharing client information with necessary safeguards, including client consent for release of information to ensure confidentiality.
Examples: Shared database technologies may be one way to improve monitoring of client goal attainment among collaborating providers and promote the efficient and effective use of disaster-related resources.

Examples: Sharing client information without necessary safeguards can result in identity theft and unintentional release of client information.


DRCM 4.04

Individuals and families participate in an individualized, culturally- and linguistically-responsive assessment that is:
  1. trauma-informed;
  2. completed within established timeframes;
  3. updated as needed based on the needs of individuals and families; and
  4. focused on information pertinent to meeting service requests and objectives.


Organizations that establish their own timeframes should be sensitive to the needs of individuals and families, ongoing recovery efforts and deadlines, and the need for timely development of a recovery plan.


The Assessment Matrix - Private, Public, Canadian, Network determines which level of assessment is required for COA’s Service Sections. The assessment elements of the Matrix should be tailored according to the needs of specific individuals or service design.
Examples: The organization can support a trauma informed approach to service delivery by considering and emphasizing: 
  1. safety; 
  2. trustworthiness and transparency;
  3. peer support;
  4. collaboration and mutuality;
  5. empowerment, voice, and choice; and 
  6. cultural, historical, and gender issues.


DRCM 4.05

The organization conducts the assessment in-person, in a place of the individual's or family’s choosing when possible, and:
  1. includes assessment of natural supports and helping networks; and
  2. promptly provides or makes arrangements for specialized assessments, as needed.


Conditions may require beginning an assessment by telephone and continuing in person at a location that takes into account client and worker safety, client confidentiality, and client accessibility. In-home visits are optimal for completing a comprehensive assessment.


DRCM 4.06

The organization uses a comprehensive, evidence-based suicide risk assessment tool to assess the following when suicide risk is identified: 
  1. suicidal desire;
  2. capability;
  3. intent; and 
  4. buffers/protective factors.


DRCM 4.07

A re-assessment is conducted within five working days when there is a change in the individual’s or family’s status or circumstances, or a new issue or resource arises.


An organization that, due to contractual requirements, is unable to conduct re-assessments according to these timeframes should modify them to meet the needs and goals of individuals and families.