Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Case Management (PA-CM) 3: Intake and Assessment

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

Currently viewing: CASE MANAGEMENT (PA-CM)



Individuals and families who receive Case Management services access and use resources and supports that build on their strengths and meet their service needs.
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 service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Screening and intake procedures
  • Assessment and re-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


PA-CM 3.01

Individuals and families are screened and informed about:
  1. how well the request matches the agency's services; and 
  2. what services will be available and when.
NA Another agency is responsible for screening, as defined in a contract.

Fundamental Practice

PA-CM 3.02

Prompt, responsive intake practices:
  1. include screening for level or intensity of service;
  2. gather information necessary to identify critical service needs and/or determine when a more intensive service is necessary;
  3. give priority to urgent needs and emergency situations;
  4. support timely initiation of services; and
  5. provide for placement on a waiting list or referral to appropriate resources when individuals and families cannot be served or cannot be served promptly.


PA-CM 3.03

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


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 can be tailored according to the needs of specific individuals or service design.


PA-CM 3.04

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


PA-CM 3.05

Individuals and families participate in a formal re-assessment annually or more frequently based on the following criteria:
  1. within five working days of a precipitating event;
  2. when there is a change in their status or circumstances, or a new issue arises; and
  3. within 48 hours of notification that hospital or institutional discharge is imminent.


An agency that, due to contractual requirements, is unable to conduct event-based re-assessments according to these timeframes should modify them to meet the needs and goals of persons served.