Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Behavior Support and Management (PA-BSM) 5: Documentation and Debriefing

The agency assesses restrictive behavior management incidents and effects to reduce future preventable occurrences and untoward consequences.
Juvenile Justice


When agencies serving youth in the juvenile justice system use mechanical restraints to prevent escape during transport, rather than in response to an incident, some elements of the BSM 5 practice standards may not apply.   
2020 Edition




The agency’s behavior support and management policies and practices promote positive behavior and protect the safety of service recipients and staff.
Note: Please see the Case Record Checklist for additional guidance on this standard.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed administration and management infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
County/Municipality Administered Agency, State Administered Agency (Central Office), or other Public Entity
  • BSM procedures, including debriefing procedures
  • Documentation of behavior management/incident reviews
State Administered Agency (Regional Office)
  • Documentation of behavior management/incident reviews
All Agencies
  • Documentation of debriefing
  • Restrictive behavior management logs
All Agencies
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Agency Leadership
    2. Supervisory/management personnel
    3. Persons served
    4. Parents/legal guardians
  • Review case records

Fundamental Practice

PA-BSM 5.01

The use of restrictive behavior management interventions is documented, including:
  1. the justification, use, circumstances, and length of application in the individual’s case record; 
  2. all attempts made prior to the use of a restrictive behavior management intervention in order to preempt it, including the strategies identified in the individual’s behavior management plan; and
  3. names of the service recipient and personnel involved, reasons for the intervention, length of intervention, and verification of continuous visual observation in a log.
Juvenile Justice


Element (b) may not apply when a juvenile justice program uses mechanical restraints to prevent escape during transport. 

Fundamental Practice

PA-BSM 5.02

Debriefing occurs in a safe, confidential setting within 24 hours of the incident and includes the service recipient, frontline and clincal personnel, other appropriate personnel, and parents/legal guardians to:
  1. evaluate physical and emotional well-being; 
  2. identify the need for counseling, medical care, or other services related to the incident; 
  3. identify antecedent behaviors and modify the service plan as appropriate; and 
  4. facilitate the person’s reentry into routine activities.


The agency ensures the service recipient’s participation in the debriefing process. In situations where the individual initially refuses to participate, the agency should make continued attempts to involve the individual.


If the parent or legal guardian is unable to be reached within the 24 hour period, all attempts to reach them should be documented and there should be continued outreach attempts past the 24 hour period to notify them of the incident.

Juvenile Justice


Element (c) may not apply when a juvenile justice program uses mechanical restraints to prevent escape during transport.  

PA-BSM 5.03

Personnel involved in the incident are debriefed to assess:
  1. their current physical and emotional status; 
  2. the precipitating events; and
  3. how the incident was handled and necessary changes to procedures and/or training to avoid future incidents.
Juvenile Justice


Element (b) and the second half of element (c) (regarding changes to avoid future incidents) may not apply when a juvenile justice program uses mechanical restraints to prevent escape during transport.

PA-BSM 5.04

Any other person involved in or witness to the incident is debriefed to assess their current physical and emotional status.